Last Sunday was the inaugural (good word for the DC area) DC Comicon. I first found out about this show on Convention Scene back in February when they announced that the dealer’s room was sold out. And since they had the website listed I checked them out.
Well, lets just say at that time the website was NOT ready for primetime. I even ranted that week about it on the podcast, probably not endearing myself to the con organizers but I really didn’t find it professional to have a website publically accessable if it was NO where near complete. I even went so far as to state that I would help them if it was simply a matter of not having someone familiar with web developement.
I am not sure how long it took them to get the website up and running as I didn’t return till April, but it was up and running just fine at that point. Hopefully I made a stink over nothing and it was fixed later that week after I ranted. I want local con’s to succeed, but I also see them needing more than a little help when it comes to organization.
Okay, on to the convention itself. The DC Comicon was held in Fairfax, VA. For those not from the area, his is very close to DC…so while it was not a truly “DC” Comicon it was very close and I hope any future shows will be held inside the District.
In fact it was held on the George Mason University Campus in the Student Union II’s ballroom. The space was smallish, but still larger (in my estimation) than what the VA Comicon had last fall in Richmond. It was also packed with lots of people and vendors alike which was a great sign.
I spoke with several of the vendors about how the day was progressing and without a doubt all were quite happy with the amount of people in attendance. For the most part they were also happy about the amount of money being spent, wich a few grumblings (which is normal). The only negative feedback I got was from a vendor who complained that they were limited to 2 tables and some other vendor(s) were allowed to get more. That may be something the con needs to look into.
Guests were evenly spread-out throughout the show. The headliners, Herb Trimpe, Frank Cho, and JG Jones were on the stage overlooking the dealers. This was a good use of available space and I compliment the con on this. People were lined up along the wall to get signatures and sketches, this caused a little bit of a problem in navigating the far aisle, but nothing serious.
Some of the other midline guests, like Jo Chen (YAY!), John Snyder and the HERO Initiative were on the aisle endcaps, this allowed for people to move around freely to see them. The other guests, like the Luna Brothers and Fillbach Brother were near the entrance. There were even some guests and fan tables outside in the hallway to get into the ballroom.
Overall I enjoyed myself and got some good deals with a guy who was selling off some of his personal collection (I always tend to go to the garage sale looking booths rather than the white comic box tables). And while some of my comments may have come across harsh, I do hope they succeed and learn from each show. There are some very positive business models to take from the organizers, such as kids and military (in uniform) getting in free. I think this is an EXCELLENT idea! Most kids will have parents with them and all will have money to spend.
One last thing though…please move it from GMU. I know that you probably got the space cheap and that some people may have sounded happy about free parking. But Free Parking that is over a mile away and no signs on how to get to the Student Union from the parking area really blew! I was lost with another guy and we found it only because my phones google map app had GPS and we used that with the building maps. Oh and of course it started raining when I left, no fun there either.
People that live in the DC area are quite accustom to paying for parking. So if you can find someplace even remotely Metro accessable that you can afford, please do. And like I have said in the past, ping me if you need any help.