What If Wizard Had a Show And Nobody Came?

Some thought-provoking pieces you should be aware of:

I had barely even realized that there was a Wizard World Texas last weekend, but Heidi MacDonald has a look back. The surprising bit of news was that Wizard actually admitted that attendance was less than half of the 25,000 projected. (And that’s assuming that the 11,500 official figure wasn’t padded, as has been previously suspected.)

I mentioned this to an older industry pro, and he responded, “that’s because no one wants to go to Texas.” That’s certainly true of DC and Marvel, who didn’t exhibit. Apparently, the show’s had issues about location and date for years, even before Wizard took them over, and one of the comments Heidi includes mentions a similar fear.

I’ve only seen one convention report (Newsarama), and it talks more about Ghost Rider preview footage and video games than comics. In the comments there, a retailer reacts even more strongly, listing 5 reasons retailers shouldn’t attend.

As a dealer who just returned from WWTX 2006 I can say that this was by far the worst, and LAST, Wizard TX show we will ever do. I find it highly suspect that Wizard reported 11,500 through the door which just happened to be exactly 1,000 more then they recorded last year.

He charges that Wizard was giving away retailer tables, creating ill will among those who paid full price for theirs and were told that the floor was sold out. He also complains about Spike TV booth noise, being pressured to buy Wizard exclusives, being left out of after-show parties, and having feedback ignored. Now, a number of these are common to any show (especially the bit about parties not being listened to), but creating this much anger among your customers can’t be good for business.

In her comments, Heidi goes on to point out:

But from our own vantage point, there is just no compelling reason to go to a Wizard show any more. The guest lists and programming are woefully behind the curve in reflecting the wider world that comics have reached this year. Ask yourself this, who would contribute more to a show? A local manga creator like Rivkah–or Virgil? Come on now. Wizard is even behind the times in the cartoonist-as-celebrity mindset they pioneered. We are always happy to see an Image founder or Michael Turner–they are fine guests and popular creators. But they can’t match the bookstore sales of a Scott McCloud or Svetlana Chmakova or BONGO COMICS.

7 Responses to “What If Wizard Had a Show And Nobody Came?”

  1. James Schee Says:

    I LIVE (somewhat :)) in Texas and didn’t even know there was a con.

  2. Johanna Says:

    You’re not their target audience — you don’t want to spend $400 for an ugly statue or buy comics just to ogle the deformed girls drawn inside. :)

  3. Bill D. Says:

    I’ve been to 3 Wizard shows in as many years (Philly ’04, Boston ’05, and Chicago this summer), and I did have a good time, meet some cool folks, and find some great loot at each show. But at the same time, I can’t help but wonder how much more fun I would’ve had without having to listen to the loud Spike TV booth all day. Or without having to go around the stupid wrestling ring in the middle of everything. Or without having to hire a sherpa to find the booths and people I was interested in (I know Wizard isn’t historically so very indie friendly and all, but burying the Top Shelf booth WAAAAAY in the back is pretty dumb, even for them).

    So, you know, fun can be had at these things, but it’s almost in spite of the event, not because of it.

  4. Johanna Says:

    I did Chicago this year, as blog readers know, and I keep hoping to try Philly, but they always schedule it against something better. And yes, I’d agree with your summation.

  5. Aron Head Says:

    WWTX 2006 is my third Wizard World con in four years. I very much enjoy the Wiz shows, but I do acknowledge the shortcomings. The panels are ridiculously unimaginative, and with a few exceptions the guest lists lack any true zazzle. All that said, I *love* these shows, but to be honest I’d love any big show that came to town. I’m a comic and SF whore.

    You can view my comments on the show at http://www.evilbastard.net/bastardblog/


  6. Tom Stillwell Says:

    I had a great time shilling my comics in Artist Alley at WWC this year.

    I felt it was a really great show.

    But then again almost all my time was spent at my table talking to either readers interested in comics outside of the mainstream or creators themselves.

    I stayed away from the bread and circuses of the wrestling ring, Spike booth, and “celebrity personalities” signing autographs.

  7. Chicago Con Worth It? » Comics Worth Reading Says:

    […] cannibalizing themselves, with the same guests at their various shows making all of them seem less special. […]




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