I told you I’d interrupt the movie reviews!
Comic Book Conventions; the mecca to all things pop culture, geek driven and home to celebrities, collectibles and comic book creators.
There are people who love these things, I’m not one of those people. I don’t like crowds and I don’t like being stuck inside a convention hall and I don’t need anymore junk so I’m the last person you want as a customer, but still I have to do some shows both to promote whatever project I’m working on and to make some money.
I do only a small handful of shows, but I thought it might make for some interesting behind the scenes posts if I showed you what it’s like to do one of these shows. Every year I do Chicago Wizard World as a Comic Book Vendor (see the chart below) and that’s completely different than doing a show as a Comic Book Creator. That’s the first show I’ll be talking about since it’s the first show of the Summer for me, and it comes towards the end of the Summer.
So who are the people you’ll find at a Comic Book Convention? Well, in no order of importance they’ll break down like this;
1- Comic Book Fans. These are the people who actually read and collect comic books. They come in all shapes and sizes and in my extended experience they are the absolutely normal people attending these shows, often times with their families. I think it’s great when I see a Father and Son or a Mother and Daughter excited about some new comic book series. These people READ so make of that what you will.
2- Comic Book Collectors. Only slightly different than the Fans above. While the Fans are into whatever is new, Collectors for the most part are only interested in the Old. They will drop multiple THOUSANDS of dollars on a single vintage comic book. Some of these men and women trade comic books like stocks.
3- Cosplayers. These are the people who dress up in costume, sometimes extremely elaborate costumes. For the most part they are there only to be seen, and often times they don’t have anyplace to carry any money so they aren’t shopping which is why a lot of the following people don’t like them (as an aside I do— I think good cosplay is fun although I don’t do it);
4- Comic Book Dealers. These are the men and women selling those multiple thousand dollar books. Some of them set up displays that would put Macy’s to shame. At some of the bigger shows you might even see vintage comic books with Million Dollar price tags on them.
5- Comic Book Publishers. These are the booths of the companies that put out today’s comic books. Marvel Comics, DC Comics, Dark Horse Comics, Image Comics, Archie Comics, IDW, the list goes on and on. The booths are staffed by editors, assistant editors and clerks to handle sales of merchandise they have to sell. Dark Horse Comics sets up an AMAZING booth with an area for creators to do signings and a whole “Real” store in the back.
6- Comic Book Creators. The writers and the artists who produce today’s comic books. Artists usually make extra money by doing sketches for fans. A lot of these attendees are there to discuss potential projects with the editors and collaborators who are also at the show.
7- The Drag Alogs. In the olden days this often would be a girlfriend or a wife, but more and more women are getting into the hobby so sometimes its boyfriends and husbands, a lot of times it’s kids who seem overwhelmed by the whole thing.
8- Non Sensical Vendors. This is becoming a thing. You’ll see someone set up selling gutter replacement, or insurance, or psychic readings at some of these shows. Beer vendors have become a thing. I don’t drink beer.
9- Celebrities from Film and TV. It used to be your standard celebrity at a show would be a D-Lister from a thirty year old long cancelled Sci Fi TV series, but more and more the likes of Burt Reynolds (not anymore obviously), Val Kilmer, and even the current actors playing Wonder Woman, Spider-Man and Sabrina the Teenage Witch are doing appearances. They pose for photos with fans (for a fee) and sign autographs (also usually a fee).
10- Comic Related Companies. CGC for example is a service that takes your rare and extremely valuable comic book and permanently encases it in plastic and gives it a grade, the idea being that it won’t be able to decrease in value due to handling. At some of the shows CGC will provide this service in a day or two.
So that’s mostly what you’ll see. Coming soon I’ll give you the sordid adventure of a father and son making a half cross country road trip with multiple millions of dollars in comics with them.