Sunday, November 11, 2012
Yesterday we attended the first Akron Comicon, held at the University of Akron Student Center. This was a one day show with a nice blend of guests and events. A new show is tough because you are starting from scratch with no actual idea of how things will work out or what to expect. You can plan the perfect show but if no one shows up, that's it! This was not an issue for the Akron Comicon!
The show was easily accessable from the interstate and thanks to frequent Facebook updates, addresses were posted for the nearest parking areas. The Student Center is a nice, clean environment with several places to eat, right in the building! And as Darryl Banks pointed out, they didn't gouge you with Con prices! We actually ate at a Penn Station across the street from where we parked, but that was convienient too! And as any Canboy knows, the FedEx Copy Center a block away was perfect! The Student Center also provides lots of room for growth with numerous halls and rooms available to expand into.
The Con boasted a solid guest list feturing Norm Breyfgole, Gerry Conway, Joe Staton, Darryl Banks, Tom Batiuk and many others! There was a diverse selection of dealers selling the usual comic books, shirts, supplies and toys but also original art, art supplies and other items. The room was a modest size, a safe bet for a first show, but it was easy to find. Numerous signs in the building guided people along and the stairs and elevator were both right at the show entrance. The room got pretty full and it became a tight squeeze in the early afternoon, but that's a good sign because people wanted to be there!
This is an important thing, the show had a fun atmosphere! People were excited for the show, excited to be part of it! I didn't get the feeling that anyone was there, just because. They were there to be a part of things! There was an art contest, a costume contest, panel discussions, the HERO Initiative was set up, ECBI (the Elyria Comic Book Initiative) had hourly seminars on how to make your own comic book, as well as a few more fan groups! The staff was friendly and happy to talk with people! The promoter came out a few times and welcomed fans waiting in line before the show! The con's tag line, "Fans First, Fans Always" felt real!
The artists I spoke with all were busy and had full sketch lists. Norm Breyfogle was busy signing books and talking with fans the entire day. Dealers I spoke with were happy that people were buying. like I said, everyone wanted to be there!
I took my nephew to the show and we met with Eric. The three of us were there almost all day and enjoyed ourselves. We ran into a few of our friends we normally see at these events, but I also ran into a co-worker! He's been looking to fill some holes in his Silver Age collection but has never been to a show! We ran into a friend of ours from High School, now a High School teacher, who came to check out some of the panels and meet creators! Robert Jenkins and Michael Savene really succeeded in making this con a community based event! They managed to appeal not just to the normal comic book geeks but fans of all sorts, who all came together for a day of fun!
I wish the Akron Comicon all the best and look forward to updates on the 2013 show!