It was Awesome
Awesome Con is a mere three years old but is rapidly growing and becoming a destination for mid-Atlantic congoers. While holding the show Easter weekend was a questionable decision, next year will be the last weekend of May, after Wizard World Philly and just a few weeks before Heroes Con, so it’s nicely nestled in a good spot.
This year they had a ton of media guests, some of the tried and true celebrities but they also wisely brought in some who have not done an east coast show such as Billie Piper. And having J. August Richards, now known as Deathlok, was a piece of excellent timing. They were at the rear of the cavernous space so fans had to walk through the dealers then Artists Alley then get to the Big Names, which was smart since it meant autograph hounds were exposed to the rest of the show.
Friday was preview day so the floor was open form 3-8 and to drum up some noise, the show held a photo op trying to best the 1530 cos players gathered in one place. Unfortunately, being Good Friday and three hours before the show opened its doors meant that a mere 236 costumed fans showed up. Of course, it made the front page of the Washington Post Style section on Saturday so PR mission accomplished.
I’ve never had a table at a comics con, preferring to be footloose and fancy free so I could do programming and catch up with friends or network for business. However, it seemed like a good thing to try and I shared the space with fellow digital publisher Steve Wilson. We set up our space and for two days got a real taste of what it is like to be a semi-known public figure. There were friends and familiar con folk who stopped by to say hello. There were those who brought comics and books for me to sign, which was cool. There were some who stopped and were captivated by a cover or two, lingered, chatted and ultimately bought something. Many others stopped, looked, and kept walking. And there were lots of hours of just sitting with no traffic whatsoever.
Saturday morning I arrived at the table to discover an Awesome Con-branded messenger bag filled with a con survival kit: pocket pack of tissues, Advil, Pepto, hand sanitizer, a Clif Bar, and M&Ms. I don’t know of another show to demonstrate such understanding for the vendors and creators on hand.
My Comic Writers on Writing panel packed the room of 120, meriting SRO status. I moderated by default and led my peers on a lively discussion about plotting, pacing, directions for artists and more. I believe it went over quite well.
George Perez had made an exception to take time away from his table to be on a panel with me but the con stopped giving out autograph tickets so he felt he needed to honor his obligation to those fans and chose to cancel the panel which was a disappointment.
As a moneymaking opportunity, I made a net profit after parking and overpriced meals were factored in. As a networking opportunity to find work or push the Crazy 8 Press banner, it was so-so. On a cost benefit analysis, it might have been best to skip the table and be on hand just one day. As the show makes it plans for next year, we’ll see what makes the best sense at the time.