Peter G (sinetimore) wrote,
Peter G

I'm Sort Of A Big Deal, Although Maybe Not As Big As I Used To Be

Whoa!  It's like deja vu all over again!

Wizard World has occasionally tried to put itself up against bigger names in an effort to crowd them out.  PhillyCon was scheduled the same weekend as the great granddaddy of comic conventions, NC's Heroes Con.  The result was an industry boycott that effectively turned Wizard into a joke.  Before that, they scheduled the ChicagoCon for the same weekend as San Diego.  Turnout?  What turnout?  Wizard's comic cons are big as long as there is no competition.  Put them up against an actual comic con run by people who love comics, and they lose badly.  This is why they buy up cons instead of starting their own in the same market.

The problem is simple -- the industry doesn't like Wizard.  So they will go out of their way to stick it to them.  Why?  Could be any number of reasons.  Maybe Wizard ramping up the number of non-comics guests and going for more of a pop culture thing instead of comics (whether this is to bring in a bigger audience, make it seem like they don't need the pros, or just an acknowledgment that comic fans are no longer a big enough audience to financially support such a big con, I leave for readers to decide).  I know some dealers and industry pros who love Wizard and have found them far more approachable and cooperative than monolithic structures like Reed.  Whatever the problem, Wizard sure doesn't do itself any favors, pulling numbers that would have PR folks making Maalox smoothies for the rest of the week.

Case in point:  Wizard bought up cons around the NYC area and tried to stick it to Reed's New York Comic Con.  Wizard's New England Con would be the week before NYCC in October, Wizard's Big Apple Con would be the same weekend as NYCC (just a few blocks away, I might note), and Wizard's Noo Joisey Con would be the week after.  I should point out Reed's guest list is continually growing, while Wizard's list grows in fits and starts, usually seeing its biggest growth after a convention ends.  I mean, really.  The ChicagoCon list is usually bigger than this by now.  Unless this is as big as it's going to get (Linda Hamilton is going to be there.  Still no Helen Slater.  Shit).

I mentioned in my con report for C2E2 that the pros love Reed and, if they can only make one convention, given the choice between Reed and Wizard, they'll go Reed.  Apparently, somebody finally delivered the message to Wizard in five foot tall flaming letters.  Wizard just announced that their Big Apple Comic Con has been moved up the first weekend in October, and the venue has changed to the Penn Plaza Pavilion,the old building the BACC was held in before Wizard bought them (newly remodeled).  New England has shifted to the middle of October.  Joisey is currently on hiatus, they are working on it, but no firm date has been announced yet.

ETA:  Penn Plaza is right across the street from a major public transportation hub.  However, it is also a MUCH smaller venue than the Javits Center.  Does this mean that exhibitors will be getting a discount since this could be an admission that they weren't getting anywhere near the number of attendees they thought they would?

Gee, this reminds me of a few years ago.  Wizard went on a massive spending spree, buying up cons, rebranding them, and trying to put the squeeze on others, only to find out their brand doesn't have the cache they thought it did.  One con was cancelled, another had a date change.  And that was when there were about half of what there are now.  There are now 14 Wizard cons.

Rapid expansion, crushing reality.  It nailed Krispy Kreme, it's nailing Wizard.
Tags: art, comic books, comics, important life lessons
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