Tuesday, May 19, 2015

MSP ComiCon 2015

The first annual MSP ComiCon (formerly SpringCon) was a big success. The reason they changed the name was in part because WizardWorld came to town last year and - like they do - scheduled their big pop culture/media convention near the date of the small, local, comics convention. Last year, when my friends outside of the comics community asked if I was going to "Comic-Con," they meant WizardWorld. It was a pretty big deal in the Twin Cities; the closest we've ever got to something like San Diego with all the movie and TV stars there. But it was grating to have to explain that no, I wasn't going to that show; I was instead going to the actual comics convention in town. The one that had been around for decades.

SpringCon has always had an excellent reputation among comics fans and creators and has been gaining wider attention locally in the last few years, but it was being held back by its name. As popular as comics are these days, all those fans and interested people didn't know what SpringCon was. So this year it became MSP ComiCon and when I was asked by civilians if I was going to "Comic-Con," that was the one they meant. That's a success, but so is the fact that people turned out in droves.

Here's a picture of the line to get in fifteen minutes after the show opened. I heard that it took another hour for it to finally shorten and that fits what I saw inside the building. The floor was packed all morning on Saturday.

It slowed down Saturday afternoon and Sunday, but overall the attendance was record-breaking. And even more encouraging than that were the kinds of people who were walking around and enjoying themselves. Comics readers have become a steadily more diverse crowd over the last few years and it really struck me at the show how true that is. There were people of all ages and races and I saw a lot more groups of just women and girls than I have in the past. This wan't a surprise; just very very reassuring.

Kill All Monsters did pretty well Saturday morning and I was pleased to donate a copy to a library in Wisconsin. Even though sales dipped Saturday afternoon and Sunday, I got a lot of questions from people who've already read it and wanted to know when the next volume is coming. It was really great to be able to tell them about the Dark Horse Presents story in July and the hardcover omnibus scheduled for next year. Saw some very excited faces about both of those things.

David did well with his new mini-comic, a fantasy story about an heroic goat who recruits a middle-school boy to defeat a powerful evil. I can't wait for the second issue.

And Diane did extremely well with her face-painting. She'd mastered Groot and Rocket Raccoon and those were popular, but she's also able to make up stuff on the fly, especially if she has a reference. She maintains a constant line of both kids and adults and she's thinking about maybe bringing in a partner to help meet the demand.

All in all it was an awesome show. The volunteers of the Midwest Comic Book Association were fantastic as usual; always welcoming and often checking in with creators to bring a drink or a snack or anything else a table-bound person might need. Couldn't ask for a nicer show.

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