WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 14, 2013
So I wish it weren't the case, but this old story is being dragged out, and re-told for the umpteenth time. Only this time, they aren't after Heroes Con or Emerald City Comic Con, or the Boston Comic Con or Portland or Atlanta or any other convention that has a decent sized following and no interest in selling their successful event to Wizard to pervert and ruin. This time Wizard World has set their sights on the non-profit, charitable Minnesota Comic Book Association's Spring Con.
For those of you that haven't heard of it, Spring Con is actually what Fall Con used to be. That is to say, when the convention scene began getting a bit crowded in September, October and November, with grand shows like Baltimore Comic Con, Reed's New York Comic Con, Mid-Ohio and other events, Fall Con graciously decided to switch their one day spring event with their 2 day fall one. So Spring Con became the MCBA's big event, happening in May, with Fall Con becoming their one-day show in October. For more years than I've been around for, Adam attended Fall Con every year, without exception. When the show moved to the spring, we had more schedule conflicts, so 2014 was to be our first year returning. Now we hear that Wizard has set their sights on hosting a 2-day convention set two weekends before Spring Con in the Minneapolis Convention Center. They have decided to try and set their bullying sights on a group that that has donated over 30 tons of food to charities, over $100,000.00 to the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, the Minnesota Lupus Foundation and the Minnesota Literacy council, as well as promoting retailer and creator events and other regional events. This is who the Midwest Comic Book Association is - the MCBA that puts on Spring Con - and this is who is being bullied by the corporate Wizard World convention machine.
We don't do Wizard shows. Neither Adam nor I like their antagonistic business model: find a show that fans like and that does well in a new market, and either attempt to buy it or run it out of business.
We'd rather attend a show that is about comics, and that treats the fans and the pros like comics is a good thing. I don't want to go to a show where Artist's Alley is shoved into the back end of a pier on the Hudson River in Manhattan, with limited heating in November, no table cloths, carpet, or other amenities, while autograph stars are treated to all the amenities you'd expect at a convention. I don't want to do a show where fans are charged for varying degrees of admission, and then get given "incentive" goodie bags full of crap that Wizard published a millennia ago that they can't sell, so they re-label as collectibles to warrant a huge price increase in admission. I don't want to attend a show that values wrestlers and porn actors over comic book professionals. Call me old fashioned, but I like a comic book convention to be about comics. In all fairness, Wizard World promotes themselves as the event where "pop-culture comes to life", and not as a comic book show. But they are doing that with the ruined husks of what were comic book shows.
So; what can you do? Come to Spring Con in Minneapolis in May of 2014. Go to any show not hosted by Wizard. Email Wizard and let them know that their business practices aren't okay with you. There are lots of cities that need shows that don't have any-- take New Orleans as an example. Wizard set up a show there and didn't put anyone out of business (to my knowledge). They ruffled no feathers and by all accounts have a really nice event there. There are lots of cities that can host more than one event. Cities like Chicago can have a Wizard Show in August and it won't affect Reed's C2E2 in April. This bullying, predatory business model need not be followed. But as long as people show up to their events, as long as no-one raises their voices against it, nothing will change. And in the process, we risk losing some truly wonderful, unique events. Events like the Midwest Comic Book Association's Spring Con.
Can't we all just get along?