This here my friends is a historic article. At least for me that is. It completes a 30 year cycle of comic fandom!
I have gone to cons as a ticket-buying fan since I was a kid, way back when it was just long box after long box of dollar books and fifty centers in an ill-lit church basement, where the only female you can find was a paid model, tucked safely behind three feet of card table, frozen in pose with a sad look of fear and disgust in her eyes, and it was so quiet you can hear a pin drop. My attendance at con slacked off for a while, but I got to see it evolve to the loud, bright, all encompassing spectacle that it is today.
So I went to conventions as an attendee.
When I was in college, me and my friend, artist Marco DiLeonardo (http://www.marcodileonardo.blogspot.com/) put out 2 issues of a horror comic called Evilution and were lucky enough to get a table with some other friends at a Wizard Con in Chicago. Since I am now writing for a comic review site, you can guess how successful that venture was. But it was damn fun.
So I have been to a con as a creator.
I jumped at the chance and joined the crew, a free ticket in and I get to help people satisfy their comic geek needs? What more can I ask for! Oh and I get paid to do it! (thank you, Mike!)
So I’ve worked a con as a vendor.
At a few conventions, I even dabbled in cosplay, a very passable Hawkeye and a decent Green Lantern teamed with my girl as Zatanna.
So I’ve been to a con as a cosplayer.
Now, since writing for the site, I have run the gamut, because for the first time I was at a con as press (thank you, What’cha Reading!).
I still had prior obligations to Royal, so I had to work the booth (Hey! I don’t live with my editor! ) so I couldn’t do any interviews or attend panels, but I kept my reporter ears open as I sold stuff, answered questions, took pics, and moved merchandise. Here’s what I learned:
There was an overall positive vibe throughout the whole convention. I mean, everyone was in a good mood, vendor and customer alike. I think there were a variety of factors that brought this about. The nice weather was a big reason, lighter clothes, less lugging around jackets and sweating like pigs with the stuffy Javitz heating system on full blast. A nice side effect of this was the cut down of B.O. miasmas you’d run into throughout the con floor. I said cut down, not completely eliminated mind you.
The better floor lay out and Tap In system also played a big role in this. The aisles were bigger and better laid out than at previous cons and traffic moved smoothly for the most part (unless you’re a native New Yorker that is, then it was business as usual, holding in all that pedestrian rage).
The controversial Tap In/Tap Out system was only controversial because it worked. No longer could a group of 4 people come in, 1 run out again with 3 badges to get 3 more people in. Wash Rinse Repeat a few thousand times and it’s no wonder this con sold more tickets than any before, but seemed less crowded. No chance for opportunists, rowdy douches running around harassing cosplay girls and making fun of people, or non-fans slowing things down in aisles and booths, and outright thieves taking advantage of the crowds.
There were a lot of smiling faces at the booth, as it seemed everyone was getting the stuff they wanted. There’s nothing better than selling an old action figure from 1994, the only one of its kind that we had on the shelf, to a guy who said it was the only one he needed to finish the collection he started almost 2 decades ago. Some items that come to mind being a big hit were the Play Arts Batman figures, as well as the Arkham City figures from DC Collectibles.
Even Batman himself showed an interest…..
Statues were another big hit, thanks to the awesome display our crew set up at the booth. The new line of “Bombshell” Wonder Woman and Supergirl statues by DC Comics sold with a speed that did not surprise me. There was also a big interest in the Green Hulk and Red Hulk Sideshow Collectibles statues situated nicely on either side of a life size Spider-Man statue in our booth. And of course the light up Green Lantern Statue by Sideshow was an eye catcher. It also seemed like we couldn’t keep a Batman Black and White statue in the booth!
Nightwing was another sought after character in merchandise across the board, with figures and statues being purchased left and right. (Personal Note. Highlight of the Con for me was selling the last Arkham City Nightwing Statue to none other than Eddy Barrows himself……… )
Another product that got snatched off the shelves was the Funko Pop Vinyl figures, inventory from the store had to be culled from by Saturday to replenish the stock at the show.
And it wasn’t just the superhero themed ones that sold, everything from Game of Thrones to Despicable Me flew off the shelves. Hell, Danaerys Stormborn, the last Targaryen, Khaleesi and trueborn heir to the Iron Throne even purchased one from Royal Collectibles owner Mike Giordano himself…
But the Booths Media Darling Was, Without a Doubt:
The Sideshow Ultron on Throne Statue
There were more pics taken of him by cell phone and professional cameras alike than anything else in the booth…..
And there’s only one left at the store guys and dolls…. so get while the gettin’s good! ( or before Avengers 2 comes out and you’d need a second mortage to get it)
Royal Collectibles also had a Raffle a Day, giving out a Star Spangled Captain America Hot Toys figure, the new Joker 1/6 Scale figure from Sideshow Collectibles, and a full size Bowen Deadpool statue. Judging by the looks on the winners faces, every one was happy with their wins.
except the Joker, who came too late for his own raffle and took it out on an employee (yep, that’s me!)
Cosplay was also sick this year, taking it up yet another notch. Both inside and outside the booth, I noticed still a big trend in Batman related costumes, and Deadpool seems to be everywhere you look, but a new up and comer is Game of Thrones cosplay, which is soon going to surpass Doctor Who as most popular non-comic cosplay pick.
But My favorite Cosplayers, are those who show up at the booth. Not just some pretty boy/girl who prances around looking for attention. The Die Hard fans, who dress-up and still go shop. It takes a special kind of fan to put on a costume,and an even bigger one to walk the floor booth to booth wearing it, filling up their bags with purchases and getting harassed every 2 feet for pics.
Even a surprise transporter visit from Spock doesn’t phase Royal’s own Diane Giordano (my fiancee!). For more on Cosplay at the Comic Con, check out The View From Booth 2922.
We also had handmade Cosplay crafts for sale by Cowardly Lot‘s own Richard Callendar
And when it came down to comics, the buzz was all Walking Dead, as early issues were quickly snatched up off the wall, including a CGC 9.6 #1 which sold for $1500, no questions asked. There was definitely some heat on our Valiant sale, especially after the folks at Valiant retweeted us! Thanks guys!
And the hunt was on for those 3D DC Villains Covers, especially Harley Quinn and Joker’s Daughter being the most asked about.
The Silver Age deals were flowing too, with an Iron Man #55 and a high-grade copy of Superman #123 (featuring a Supergirl prototype) being sold early on in the con, and lots of interest in CGC graded early Batman books and Justice League books. We also did well with low-grade Silver Age comics priced at a friendly 5 for $20 deal.
Another favorite moment was listening to Mike explain the different ages of comics to a twelve-year-old boy and his brother just getting into comics, and then me helping the kid decide between two silver age books he wanted to buy “not to read! as an investment”. He left with a Justice League of America issue bearing a Neal Adams cover. This was followed closely by the moment I had explaining to a new Hulk fan the whole Future Imperfect storyline after he saw the Maestro statue we had for sale.
And nothing breaks up the day like a visit from Royal’s mascot (our niece) Arianna Negron!
Who has been at the past three cons (okay once was in the womb, but it counts!)
All in all it was a good con. I think both successful for fans and retailers alike! Oh and if any of you are wondering why people working the booths look like extras from the Walking Dead;
that’s because it goes from this:
Hope you had as much fun as I did… See Ya Next Year!