Sunday, April 11, 2010

Boston Comic Con-gested

For weeks I had been looking forward to the Boston Comic Con. By the time my wife and I left the house yesterday morning, I was as giddy as a school girl. We left with plenty of time to get there when the doors opened at 10:00. A quick stop at Dunkin Donuts for java turned into about 20 minutes of frustration and disbelief over the ineptness of the help. The ride in wasn't bad unless you were used to driving over 15 miles per hour. We finally arrived at about quarter of 11:00 to a line that wrapped partly around the building. What was this? Hmm...maybe they don't open until 11:00? We parked the car and queued up.

The first thing we noticed was the 55 mile an hour wind, blowing with a vengeance. I immediately questioned my decision of buying that large ICED coffee. It was very cold and we were caught in a sort of vortex between the buildings. My wife, bless her heart, was such a trooper and offered words of encouragement like, "Do you KNOW how much I love you??? I can't believe you're making me do this! Tell me that is not even the third Two Face???" We waited in this maelstrom for over an hour and 20 minutes until we finally got to within 50 people from the door. At this point a police officer comes flying out of the door and starts yelling to everyone that we should "listen up because I'm only going to say this once" and that he would "not stand for anyone being unruly!" We all looked at each other with our goose pimpled and wind burned bodies in disbelief. Had we not all been patiently waiting with anticipation for this spectacular event??? He then proceeded to tell us that "since we chose to get there late" (um...doesn't it go from 10-5?!) we would now have to wait for what could be a long time because the venue was at full capacity. He then schooled us on the fire code and explained how many were allowed in versus how many were already inside in addition to the vendors. He drove his point home with a, "You do the math!" He finished off his diatribe with the threat of a free ride to jail courtesy of the Boston Police Department for the first person who said one word about it. We couldn't believe it...he was such a dick and for absolutely no reason!

We did finally make it in though and I have to admit, I was disappointed. There were a few artists tables but the majority of the floor was filled with vendors whose merchandise consisted of box upon box of musty, mildewed and yellowed comics that were 3 for a dollar. There were two highlights of the event for me. The first was getting to meet Sergio Aragones. I purchased from him the 25th anniversary comic of Groo and he was nice enough to not only sign it but to do a little sketch as well. Sergio is a cartooning legend in my book and he is also such a nice guy.

Next I spotted local comic book artist, Kent Archer (Cartoonist Survey #6) who is the inker on the comic, "The Adventures of Dr. McNinja" . He drew me this great sketch of Dr. McNinja's secretary, Judy.

Overall the Con was quite disappointing and we saw everything in less than an hour. Whoever planned the Con grossly underestimated the drawing power of the event and literally left everyone 'out in the cold'.


Anonymous said...

Consitering they moved the show from the slghtly smaller BACK BAY EVENTS CENTER where they held several of these two days shows without space issues, I'm sure even THEY were caught as surprise with the spike in attendance.

The room held about 1800 or so people and they based their space requirements on what they felt they would need.

I feel sorry for the poor cop that was stuck with crowd control.

David said...

I agree that he had an unenviable job of crowd control, but I didn't see anyone being rowdy, boisterous or acting in any way that would have given reason for his outburst. I feel bad for everyone waiting in the line, including the parents who had to explain to their kids why the police officer was so angry. And I didn't enjoy finally getting close to the door after close to an hour and a half in the freezing cold, only to be scolded for simply waiting in line. I have all the respect in the world for cops and feel that they are vastly underpaid for what they have to face everyday on the job, but there was absolutely no call for that.

Bill White said...

The con was lame, you summed it up perfectly.

It wasn't really a "true" con, like I was expecting. It was really, as you noted, just a glorified flea market with some artists thrown in.

Where were the panels, the film screenings, etc.?

The crowds Saturday showed that there is an audience in Boston for a con. Let's hope someday we get a good one!

Anonymous said...

I also attended the con, and was amazed at the turnout. You could tell by the Westin "staff" that the hotel didn't want the comic crowd to be there.

I was fortunate enough to be there early both days, and got in with no issues. I feel bad for the people who waited hours in line, just to be crammed into the basement of the show.

David said...

I'm feeling kind of guilty. Didn't have to stand in line, didn't get the abuse from the crowd control professional, and didn't wander through the musty flea market.

Thrilled to read your wonderful summation and to see the art you picked up... So, I guess the only thing I really missed is the iced coffee!

Anonymous said...

Well, I think maybe the wait outside is souring your take on the event. I can understand why. I arrived at 830a on Saturday and I was still about 40th in line.

That said, once inside, I was very impressed.

The whole right side of the convention space was reserved for artists, both local and more recognized.

And the left side was 75% vendors. The back quarter was reserved for some of the biggest guests - Sienkiewicz, JH Williams, Starlin, and Jim Lee.

I agree that the convention hosts probably underestimated the draw and most likely will reserve more space next time.

But this was hardly the 'flea market' you describe. This felt like the first 'real con' Boston has had in a while.

David said...

If people don't believe my description then check out my buddy Bill White's summation...

David said...

Sorry here's the actual link to the post for Bill's White's Boston Comic Con review...

P.L. Frederick said...

Phew! Glad I didn't go. Awesome illustrations you got David! After all is said and done that's the part you'll remember. That and frostbite.

P.L. Frederick (Small & Big)