Indiana Comic Con 2014
Too much and too many
You can’t see the forest because the trees are in the way.
I have been to a lot of poorly run comic book conventions in my day, and I have done as much complaining about them as humanly possible. Let me tell you something about the past comic con in Indiana. You may have already heard rumblings of it being too crowded to move and many people being turned away at the door. I am going to say something right now as a professional who has attended well over a hundred different comic book conventions…this show and the operators deserve a round of applause.
Let’s start with what their job is. They have about 300 or more different artists , exhibitors, and stores to check in, get to their proper locations and have up and running before the show starts. After that they have to check in attendees through the entire three days, while running discussion panels, contests and just in general keeping the peace. In “keeping the peace” I mean dealing with the complaints. I’ll be honest , Artists are a pain in the ass. Everyone of them thinks they should be treated like they just cured cancer instead of just drew a stupid comic book. Store owners are usually worse as none of them are every happy with their placement ,the amount of attendees, the demographic of attendees and how much they are spending. Exhibitors/Publishers…they are usually pretty easy to please, they are running a business of their own and have too many of their own problems to deal with to notice if they didn’t get enough chairs or how far away the garbage cans are. Attendees usually aren’t big on complaining but they do come up and waste time with every stupid question imaginable…here’s a recent example “ is the guy who drew superman here? ” here’s a better one “where is the bathroom?” an ADULT asked that. These seem like silly yet stupid questions, and not that stressful to dealt with…but multiply that by 30 an hour for three days. So…it is a tough job even though I bust the balls of operators a lot, they do have a tough job.
However, it is a job they not only volunteered for but fought for. So 9 times out of 10 I have no pity. This would be the 1 time out of 10 I do have pity and here is why. They set up the show expecting 4-5 thousand attendees. This was the first comic book convention in Indianapolis in many years. It is tough to predict how many people are going to show up and you can usually take the number that the con operators tell you they expect and cut it in half. Judging by the website, ( which I often do even though I often say not to, for example Wizard World shows have fancy websites and suck, MCBA Spring Comic Con has a sucky web site and is great) I figured about 3-4 thousand people. This show however got well over DOUBLE the attendees they were expecting. That’s over ten thousand people. TEN THOUSAND. So was it crowded, hell yes. Did people get turned away…yep. In this instance though, my lack of pity is for the complainers. Oh, they ran out of tickets? Bitch to the fire marshal, because you are only allowed, by law, to have a certain amount of people in a building. Bitch to yourself for not ordering the tickets in advance, or getting their earlier. The fact that they sold out before YOU got there is proof of a whole lot of people being smarter than you and planning better. The same people complaining are the same people who make fun of folks who camp out early. Well guess what, the laugh is on you this time, you got sent home. Indianapolis is a big city, and it is in driving distance of some other big cities, and it has been a long winter with not much to do, AND this is the first comic book convention they have had in years…and you roll up at noon on a Saturday and expect to walk right in? HA!
As for it being too crowded, first…which do you want to complain about, them not letting MORE people in or it being TOO CROWDED? Because, you can’t complain about both without being an idiot. It was crowded to be sure, but the times people were shoulder to shoulder and unable to move…that’s not the conventions fault…that is the fault of your fellow man. Giant mouth breathers oblivious to the fact that they are not the only human on earth, drifting along at an uneven pace like a man slowly dying of thirst in the desert, and cos players who feel like they have the right to just stop dead in a crowded isle and block traffic to pose like the incredible hulk. Some time they didn’t feel like they annoyed enough people blocking just part of the isle so they would band together in bunches for poses and block whole sections for their little photo ops. Hey, dumbasses, there are TEN THOUSAND people here trying to walk around. How about you use your brain and go pose in the back or ends of the isle so you are not making the lives of everyone else miserable so you can get tagged on Facebook looking like the Flash? Hmm? How about that maybe? Same goes for the people taking the pictures…trust me, that person spent three hours putting on make up to dress up as the red skull…he’ll be there all day, wait until he’s in a open area.
I watched the convention operators and volunteers try to manage all this, it was like herding cats. And trust me on this, they were busting their ass. Absolutely busting their ass to make sure it went off as well as possible. Imagine going to work and finding out you would have twice as much work to do that day. You’d complain, I would complain, THEY didn’t complain. The few times I spoke to any of them they were constantly on the way to somewhere to try to adjust something to deal with the massive, unexpected crowd.
Now then…what should you really be taking away from all of this? Indianapolis went from having NO comic book convention to having one that had TEN THOUSAND attendees. That is a good thing. Next year there will be more, next year there will be more space, and judging by the metal of the people running it, next year they won’t be caught flat footed. This means next year Indiana Comic con will be the place to be. Actually, it was the place to be THIS year…lost in all this is what should be obvious this was a great show, with a great guest list and a lot to see and do.
On a side note…I have been noticing in recent conventions…more and more kids are hanging around at my booth. Like little kids 4-9 and just basically hanging out, like..we’re old pals. Now the obvious attraction would be that my drawing style is very cartoony and they like that, which bodes well for 2d animation…Kids like cartoons because they are simple and they can visually grasp it quicker AND they feel they can draw just as well so they are comfortable with it. Simple 2d drawing …lines on paper..they can do that, they know mine’s better but they as steeped in imagination and so they don’t see a wide gap in the results. 3d animation is a foreign world to them, it’s complicated visually, and it is a different world from them or anything they can create on their own. You show a kid a 3d animation type image and a 2d and they will be more interested in the 2d.
BUT, that doesn’t quite explain why they are coming up to the guy at the booth who looks like THIS (see below) and hanging out to joke around.
Like..I’m not just talking about walking up and looking through my books. I mean like, one kid came up and told me all sorts of mean / funny tricks he did to his brother. Another kid came up and pointed out a fat girl in a princess Lea costume and laughed…somehow knowing I would also laugh and not scold him. They just sort come up and hang out…? Which is all fine I guess until they start thumbing through Arsenic Lullaby, which is NOT for kids. One conversation went like this-
kid- (pointing to zombie fetus) what’s that? I like ‘em, they look funny!
Me- uhm…those are…meatball monsters
Kid- hahaha! that’s funny, I want to buy one
Me- you can’t
Me-…the meatballs are made with booze and booze is for grown ups.
Kid- oh, okay.
crisis averted. Kid logic…I speak it.
I would like to think I am young at heart and they sense this, or would be a good dad and they sense this, or am safer and more reasonable than the social clusterf*cks they are surrounded by at a comic book show and they sense this. I would like to think that. But a more likely possibility is they see that I have struggled to dress myself properly ( note in this picture my shirt is on inside out…I would like to thank everyone a the MCBA spring con for NOT telling me i was wearing my f’n shirt inside out) and missed a belt loop here and there and so…I am one of them.If this trend continues, I may have to just do a kids book so there is SOMETHING at the table I won’t get yelled at for them reading