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.
Big Wow! ComicFest
Spectrum Fantastic Art Live!
2 Replies to “Flesk News From WonderCon 2012”
As an attendee, I enjoyed the con itself. The food choices nearby were not nearly as plentiful as in SF.
Helping out my brother the exhibitor, I found Freeman didn’t handle the large number of exhibitors very well. At Moscone, we could drive our vehicles under cover for unloading and loading. At Anaheim, we did so in an open parking lot under gray, cloudy skies. Thankfully, it did not rain on us, but it was a concern. In SF, we’re usually finished by 8pm. In Anaheim, we were still waiting outside in our van. Our five pallets of boxes and other material didn’t come out until 9:30. We saw Cliff out in the cold, too. Finally headed home at 10:30.
If WonderCon in Anaheim was a test for moving Comic-Con from San Diego, I think it failed. From another angle, I’ve heard Moscone Center doesn’t really care to have WonderCon back. They’d rather book an event with attendees flying in and staying at hotels.
I appreciate your feedback with the pros and cons of the show. On Sunday night Craig Elliott didn’t join us until 10:30PM and missed our dinner since it took that long for Freeman to get his material out to his truck. He sat for over an hour and a half simply waiting in the cold. I heard similar complaints from other exhibitors I know. Who wants to spend another 5-6 hours after the show breaking down and waiting for their stuff? You make a good point about Anaheim not having a covered unloading and unloading area in case of rain. We were very lucky to sell enough books where we could hand carry or remaining stock out in one dolly load. I know the Comic-Con people are asking for feedback. It’s good to let them know your experience.
Comments are closed.