Monday, August 26, 2013

ComiCONN celebrates comics

This past weekend I attended one of my favorite conventions - ComiCONN. It's Connecticut's biggest and best convention and one that certainly reminded me how fun real comic conventions can be.

I first set up a table for TJ Comics at ComiCONN 2011, which was held at a hotel literally across the street from where I live in Stamford, CT. The ONLY problem with that convention was that Hurricane Irene was barreling toward the tri-state area and traffic in and out of New York City was being shut down. Nevertheless, the con's attendance was solid and it was a great show.

In 2012, I wasn't able to make the show due to a wedding, but I was still reeling from New York Comic Con 2011.

In fact, the last convention I set up at was NYCC 2011. As I've mentioned before, that con is a separate story I will eventually share one day, but that show nearly broke me.

So ComiCONN 2013 was my return to exhibiting at cons and it was an absolute blast. Mind you, I was utterly exhausted from the previous night - my wife and I finally allowed our son to "cry it out" at night and all he needed was one night to finally do what his twin sister does so well - sleep through the night.

My buddy and co-worker, Alex - the writer/creator of Sarah Faire and the House at the End of The World - joined me at the TJ Comics table for this show. It was his first con with Sarah Faire in tow and the first con under the TJ Comics banner. Although we arrived a bit late, the Trumbull Marriott was already PACKED.

The con was laid out a bit strangely, but that was due mostly to the layout of the show... there was a big main floor for vendors and exhibitors were put into smaller side rooms. We were in a particularly smaller side room, but were placed across from the one and only Billy Tucci. Staring at gorgeous pin-ups all day isn't a bad thing at all, but Mr. Tucci was also a major featured guest, so much traffic was directed to our small room.

The great thing about small conventions like this one are that they are about comics. There are some media guests, but people attend this con to find toys and collectibles at affordable prices, back issues for cheap and meet creators without the shadow of the big publishers.

That's the real kicker from small press and creators at these kinds of shows. Marvel, DC and the other publisher stay away. These shows are about comics as a hobby and art and ComiCONN is one of the absolute best. Creators and small publishers don't have to compete with Marvel and DC - specifically their abundance of freebies. Also, the "exclusives" in terms of toys, statues and what not are nowhere to be found, allowing attendees more of a flexible budget to support small press and find new stories outside the realm of the corporate comics.

Sure, a creator still needs to have a good sales pitch for someone to sell their books, but con-goers are much more receptive to a pitch.

Overall, ComiCONN was great and I can't wait until next year's show.

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