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Mile High Comics no longer going to Comic-Con International

One of the largest Retailers in the country , Mile High Comics, sent out a blog about how they will no longer be going to CCI.

The whole thing is HERE, I'll give you the high points.

1-It's not a Comic Book Con anymore

2-it's too expensive/too hard to make money

3-They didn't get their merchandise brought to their area fast enough.

That about sums up the reasons they list for ending a several decade attendance run...and they left a less than flattering impression of how CCI is run.

I've met Chuck a couple of times, seems like good people, I like the cut of his jib and there may be more to the story...but I can't comment on information he didn't include. And the story, as he writes unfair.

Let's start with the merch not getting there...

"The final straw, however, was the utter indifference of the San Diego Comic-Con management to the fiasco that we endured at the beginning of last year's show, when the freight handlers that they hired failed to deliver our comics to our booth. "

"Our trucker was in line at the convention marshaling yard at
6:30 AM on Tuesday morning. At 9 PM that evening, with almost all the other vendors around us unpacked and completely set up, we still did not have our 40,000 lbs of freight. I had twelve workers scheduled to help us set up that day (included Will, Lynne, and Norrie who flew in from Denver that morning...), but all we could do was to sit around all day in our totally empty booth. "

First off, CCI isn't in charge of freight, Freeman is ( the contractors that handle this for the convention center), and CCI has little to no say in Freeman being used because contractors are contracted to a convention center NOT to the convention of the week that is at that center. So this fiasco has little to nothing to do with how CCI is run. 

Also, there's something missing here...when you ship stuff directly to the convention center, you can either have Freeman deliver it to your booth, or drive up and get it. So...which was it?  He says they had a trucker there at 9am, then says they were waiting for delivery.  Or did the trucker drop off the freight at 9am and Freeman was to deliver it from the yard to the table?

This is important information that's being left out.  Truth be told, I'm fuzzy on the whole thing because I've only done it clearly states on the agreement that if Freeman is to deliver it to your booth, it gets there when it gets there.  Meaning, what happened to Chuck is just the way it goes.  And I have seen people waiting around all day for Freeman to deliver the merch every year.  I would have guessed Chuck had seen this also.

In either case...let's get some perspective here.  the convention center is SEVEN CITY BLOCKS LONG, WITH THOUSANDS OF EXHIBITORS.  Remember the last scene in Raiders of the lost ark? with the giant warehouse? Multiply that a few times and that's what Freeman has to sort out and deliver in a matter of days/hours. The logistical challenge is mind boggling.  Chuck says he had 4400 pounds of stuff...multiply that by about 500 other exhibitors...and keep in mind that it's a beehive of activity in that yard and that 4400 pounds of stuff didn't stay got loaded box by box as other peoples stuff was loaded box by box. 

I mean...give them break would ya? SOMEONE is going to be waiting until the end for their stuff...this time it was Chuck.

 Chuck says his truck was there at 9am on Tuesday...that puts him behind about 50% of the exhibitors who are getting freight, because many of them ship their stuff right to the show rather than drive it up. 

So in actuality, if he was one of the last to get his stuff...that's not really that unfair. and about this....

"the utter indifference of the
San Diego Comic-Con management to the fiasco that we endured"

 and this

"Making matters much worse, at no time during this ordeal (or during the show) did anyone from the convention management stop by with an apology, an explanation, or even just to commiserate. "

CCI is NOT in charge of freight delivery, it's NOT.  So, what are they supposed to apologize for? AND it says in the Freeman contract that you might be waiting forever, AND Freeman is contracted by the Convention center.  This is like expecting CCI to apologize for messy bathrooms. and he was offended they didn't stop by to "commiserate"?  Did I read that correctly?  WHAT?!  No Chuck, they probably didn't have time, since they have a seven city block long convention center to fill in 24 hours.  And they probably have their hands full with things going awry that they ARE in charge of.  I mean...what the hell, Chuck?! I love complaining, and I love hearing other people complain, but you're on your own with that. They didn't stop by to "commiserate"...GOOD, that means they were busy doing their jobs.  Now, we've all, in the heat of a rant, said some things that were beyond the pale ( not me...cough...cough) and THAT is beyond the pale.

I sincerely doubt they were "indifferent" anyway. and Chuck has no way of knowing what they were or were not doing behind the scenes, as the last thing they want is empty booth space or people still setting up while the show is I'd say that's unfair.  Not that I know what they could have done anyway...there is an entire shipping yard full of crap....some of it is are they supposed to do? ?end someone down there to slow everything down by checking on one exhibitors merch?...which, by the the contract, isn't even technically late.

I just...I don't know buddy...if there is more to the story you should come out with it because every exhibitor who's used Freeman is likely scratching their heads in wonder as to how you feel you were wronged.

With all due respect to Chuck, and I mean that, (if I thought the guy was an A-hole, I'd just say he's an A-hole...that's what i do here.) there is a tragic lack of perspective in his complaint.  The lack of "commiserating" he mentions...that's an example of what I mean.  He's been doing this show for decades, and maybe for a good long time the staff was able to stop by and say hello. They'd probably still like to be able to do that, but guess what?...This show, between exhibitors and attendees, is now the population of a small city.  And it has to be set up and run in a matter of a week.   That staff works their ass off to get it done, I see it.

For the sake of perspective, let's all keep this in mind... the invasion of Normandy Beach, which was planned by the greatest military minds on earth...had LESS people (155,000) to keep organized, than this show does (160,000 plus a few thousand more in the form of exhibitors, staff, security, and subcontractors).  That's of course only a logistical comparison, obviously the stakes were higher on D-Day, but I bet if you asked a WWII vet if he'd rather attack Nazi's or deal with seven city blocks of comic book fans...he's stop and think about it for a minute. This is an important show for every single exhibitor, a make or break show for many, so it's easy to become myopic...but let's each take a set back and cut the staff a little slack when a problem comes up, eh?

As for the other two points about the cost vs money you can generate and it not being a comic book convention anymore.

Those points have been gone over by myself and others in recent years, but Chuck is in a unique and not enviable position...and I would call it unwise for him to keep going anyway.

He sells back issues out of long boxes.  Him not making enough money at this show is not so much because the show is changing, it is because the world is changing/has changed.  If I want a copy of Nova no.23 ...I can go on the internet and order a copy of Nova no.23.  I don't have to search through long boxes at a comic con.  Now, there is a certain joy in just flipping through a long box and seeing what strikes you, and bringing something home you didn't know you wanted...but not at a larger show and defiantly not at this show. walking distance, is nearly every living comic book pro, every single publisher, movie studios, celebrity panels, sneak previews of movies and video games...I mean..I don't have to tell you all the stuff there is to do there...there is no time to peruse a bunch of long boxes to see what you see. 

He complains about the foot traffic and post a picture of the isle on Saturday

A comment and picture I find irrelevant since there could have been ten thousand people in that isle and they wouldn't have stopped to look through long boxes of comics instead of going to meet some guy who actually draws the comics.

He mentions his booth cost at $18,000, which doesn't include travel, hotel, shipping and incidentals.  Think about how many impulse buys you have to get per hour to reach 18,000 by the end of the weekend.

He mentions the price keeps going up...and it does.  and it will until CCI can't get people to pay it.  That day is coming, but personally, I don't blame them. They worked hard and built a show that has a tremendous, unparelleled value to exhibit at.  For the cost of my booth (which also keeps going up) I am an exhibitor at the largest comic-con in the US, the most notable comic-con in the world, exposed to every manner of professional and fans from every conceivable genre, and medium.  I'm building a brand, that what this show is good for, building something. If you're trying to sell back issues or sell merch that isn't in and of itself innovative, based on properties that you don't own, then yeah...this show has turned into something that's probably not going to be worth you setting up at.

I can't think of a worse venue for Chuck to set up shop to sell back issues of comic books, and I'm glad for him he decided to stop going, he was wasting his money and time and aggravating himself needlessly. but I don't think it's fair for him to take jabs at CCI on the way out.

If a tornado hit your town and you went to the red cross or FEMA and said you needed them to manage 160,000 people in a 7 city block long building for five days...they'd tell you that you're screwed.  yet CCI pulls it off every year.

I'll be there this year at booth 2200, come say hello...and spend some money, eh? I'll be there all five days sketching and signing autographs and being charming...or surly.


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