I was looking forward to WonderCon being in Anaheim, California this year. I surmised that there would be a lot of people attending who either want to avoid the large crowds of Comic-Con International in San Diego, or who couldn’t get a ticket for Comic-Con, or simply always wanted to see what WonderCon was all about but never made the show since it was previously in San Francisco. Whatever the reason, I felt we would have an opportunity to share our books with fresh faces.
My number one goal for exhibiting at shows is to promote our books, artists we focus on and our company. I want people to have access to me and my crew for questions, and to have a chance to flip through all of our books. I think this goal was met due to there being a ton of people and how busy we were. The Anaheim Convention Center is a larger building than the Moscone Center in San Francisco allowing for more tickets being available. I don’t know what the attendee numbers were but it looked more crowded than San Francisco.
This makes me ask the question, what does an organization do when they move an event for the year due to the Moscone Center having renovations, then the new convention center proving more successful? From a business standpoint why move back to S.F.? Here’s what I’m hoping for; I would like to see the show move back to S.F. and a new venue added to the calendar in Anaheim. In my opinion San Francisco is a far better location in terms of taking a vacation and enjoying a beautiful city than going to Anaheim. I say all of this not knowing what the Comic-Con International team has planned for the future. I’ll be curious to see where the show ends up next year. If it doesn’t go back to San Francisco it will be a real loss in terms of having a terrific long-standing show in the Bay Area. (Be sure to go to the Big-Wow! ComicFest in San Jose, California in May.)
In preparation for the show, I packed the truck for a typical WonderCon. I know what we tend to move at this show. Then I brought a little more than I thought we needed. By the end of the weekend we ended up tossing five boxes into the back seat of the truck. We moved a lot of books. We almost did as well as Comic-Con in 2011 and that show has over 125K people showing up. WonderCon has less than half the crowd and is only three days compared to four-and-a-half days at Comic-Con. We were very busy on Friday and Sunday. Saturday is always semi-busy with a more family oriented crowd and us competing with the Hollywood events. Plus it was rainy and cold that day. (From what I hear it was a bit unusual for Southern California.) I heard complaints from neighboring dealers that no one was buying prints, posters, art and large items due to the downpour and the parking being so far away. People in San Francisco wouldn’t sweat the rain! (I grew up in the Bay Area so I’ve got to be loyal and pay my respects to The City and people there.)
The second goal for attending the show is to spend some time with artists I currently work with and to make some new contacts to discuss future possibilities. William Stout, Craig Elliott and Jim Silke were all there. It was a pleasure to have a few relaxing dinners with these gentlemen. In regards to new artists I spoke with and projects in development I am very excited about the future; the details of which I will be sharing later this year.
My third goal, that of selling books, was met. Bruce Timm’s “Naughty and Nice” book led the way with Al Williamson Archives volumes one and two and The Art of Craig Elliott coming in second and third. I like to make sure every title I have published and is still available is out on the table to view.
Overall I am very pleased with the show and enjoyed myself.
I want to mention our new face at the booth, Jonathan Leveck. He has been assisting me for the last five months and has just moved into the position of Director of Operations. I have found him to be smart, efficient and invaluable in his efforts to help grow and promote the business. He shares a passion for art and books, plus has a firm understanding of our mission and where we are headed. This was Jonathan’s first show. I found it curious to see the event through the eyes of a newcomer. He did very well. I look forward to having him take over more responsibilities to allow me to focus on other aspects of the business.
Our next show is in May at the Spectrum Fantastic Art Live! event in Kansas City, Missouri. I hope to see you there.
Text and photos © 2012 John Fleskes. All rights reserved.