- Posted by Johanna on February 26, 2006 at 8:42 am
- Category: Comic News
More people are posting coverage of the problems with the New York show. Here’s a piece discussing the “frightening mismanagement” of a show that wouldn’t let in prepaid visitors and refused to offer on-site refunds, instead demanding requests be mailed in while saying “Refunds are not guaranteed.” That’s just asking for legal action, and the conspiracy theories are already beginning (from the same piece):
I find it quite suspect that despite a supposed impromptu visit from the fire marshall and the building being over capacity being blamed for the fiasco, that an otherwise completely inept event staff just happened to have rejection/refund forms all printed and ready on official New York Comic Con stationary. Factor in that many poor souls were directed to the website (which as of the time of this writing has no relevant information whatsoever) and the few that did get the letters were not informed to get a required signature from a staff member, it almost seems a deliberate money grab on the part of Reed Exhibitions (the event staff).
It would be very easy to suspect that they intentionally oversold the prepaid tickets (their worthlessness was blamed on a website error), packed the venue with fans coming in off the street very early on, then will most likely pocket the fees collected from both vendors and fans who were given incorrect or incomplete refund information. They could potentially even fleece those of us who did get the letter signed and mail in all of the required paperwork. The letter clearly states that refunds would not even begin to be processed until April and that two billing period wiggle room would place the transaction out of the 90 day limit for better business bureau complaints.
There’s also a thread at the Engine (links no longer available) with the following interesting bits.
Chris Arrant refers to Newsarama coverage I couldn’t easily locate that claims refunds were given out
Ray Cornwall also had a terrible experience with a non-existent promised shuttle
Neil Kleid reports on professional guests afraid to leave for meetings for fear of being unable to get back (and I want to know why Peter Scolari, a long-time favorite, was there)
Ralf Haring never got in and says “the comic con only had half the bottom floor. Hindsight is 20/20, but I must seriously question how the convention organizers could have so severely underestimated the amount of people who would show.”
Marc Bernadin thinks it was all part of a plan that went awry
It’s amazing to me that writers and artist weren’t let in for scheduled signing times and people who went to appear on panels were then denied entry back to their booths. That has little to do with overcrowding and more to do with poor staffing and organization. It’s even more surprising to me that people are saying “well, it will be better next year” and already planning to come back. Like Tom Spurgeon, I will be curious to see how the official sources spin this.
Update: Comic news sites are responding as follows:
Newsarama has an article on the crowding, with figures of 4-6000 people turned away and a number of fan and retailer reactions. (They also have angry fans posting comments about how ripped-off they feel.)
Comic Book Resources reprints the blurb from the show site saying that tickets will not be sold on Sunday.
The Pulse has no article on the issue that I can find at this posting time.
The Beat , a paid consultant to the show,
has a few show pictures, none showing Saturday’s crowding, and this blurb (the following is the complete post):
We’re live blogging from the show floor and the word is: CROWDS! If you’re thinking of coming down to the show later, you will probably have to sneak your way in because the show is SOLD OUT. It’s crazy! New Yorkers love comics…who knew?
Since I posted, the Beat has put up more analysis, starting off “Saturday of the New York Comic-Con was probably the most disastrous day in recent convention history” but emphasizing how “cheerful” people were and how “things had calmed” Saturday afternoon and ending by calling it a “raging success”.
Update 2: I don’t envy Heidi. She’s in a tough spot balancing her work for the show and expectations of her readers, and I think she’s right to concentrate on what she does well: pictures framed in unexpected ways and lightly cynical comments.