Comic Book Resources and The Beat both noticed something interesting in the program for this weekend’s Big Apple Comic Con: the dates for next year’s event. It’s going to be October 7-10, 2010 — the same weekend as the larger, well-regarded New York Comic Con.
You’ve got to be kidding me.
It’s only been 3 months since Wizard World announced Anaheim Comic Con (in California) would launch on the same day as C2E2. Okay, they’re halfway across the country from each other, and that can happen with a crowded convention season. This year’s WonderCon (San Francisco) and MegaCon (Orlando, Florida) seemed to manage just fine on the same weekend. On the other hand, Anaheim and C2E2 are both new shows. More importantly, C2E2 is run by Reed Exhibitions, who run NYCC, and is setting up in Chicago, the same city as Wizard/Shamus’ flagship Chicago Comic Con. There’s already bad blood there.
Of course, Big Apple Comic Con and New York Comic Con aren’t across the country from each other. They seem to be just down the street, about a mile apart. That’s closer than my hotel was to the San Diego Convention Center during Comic-Con International this year — and I walked that distance. Twice.
You don’t accidentally schedule your con for the same weekend, in the same city, within walking distance of the #2 show in your market. Especially when you’ve already scheduled another show to conflict with the same organization’s only other event in your industry. (Reed is big in general, but NYCC and C2E2 are the only shows that overlap with Wizard’s field.) Obviously they deliberately chose to compete with NYCC.
What I can’t figure out is: What do they hope to accomplish?
Given all the good will NYCC has picked up over the last few years, and all the good will Wizard has lost over the same period of time, I can’t imagine that if forced to choose one over the other, the comic book industry would side with Big Apple at this point. Publishers will probably split delegations, and I can imagine some guests setting up at both cons if contracts allow it, and I’m sure Big Apple will be able to get some exclusive guests…
…but it really reminds me of the attempt a few years ago (2006?) to launch Wizard World Atlanta on the same weekend as the well-regarded Heroes Con. The industry came down solidly on the side of Heroes Con, and Wizard World Atlanta was canceled. If anything, Wizard’s reputation is worse now than it was then.
Given their relative size, reputation and location, I can’t imagine that Big Apple expects to beat New York Comic Con by going head to head with it. So what are they tying to do? Ride on the other con’s coat-tails? Interfere with NYCC’s guests and exhibitors? Interfere with NYCC’s attendance? It just doesn’t make sense.
Mr. Shamus, Wizard, whoever: you’re really making it hard for me to justify going to Anaheim Comic-Con next year. And considering it’ll take me longer to find a parking space than to drive to the convention center, that should take some doing.
Update 2: Reed Exhibitions has responded to the scheduling announcement, saying, “We confidently welcome any competition, whomever they may be.”
1. Or whoever actually runs the conventions that Gareb Shamus owns, since they seem to be downplaying the Wizard brand.
2. Robot 6 goes into more detail on Wizard/Shamus’ history dealing with other conventions.
3. Okay, the second time was a mix of walking, running and a pedicab ride, but still, it was walkable.
4. DC Comics will often hold DC Nation panels at two cons on the same weekend, sending Dan Didio to one and Ian Sattler to the other.