Several random digressions were tossed from the previous entry because I wanted to keep it concise and streamlined for first-time visitors and photo addicts. The following self-Q&A represents what I hope will be the final roundup of anecdotes from our weekend in general, a few reflections on the positive things that came from it, and some eager anticipation of potentially exciting events ahead in 2014 for us and for MCC readers.
So…was that it? You left the con, went home, wallowed in your high blood pressure, and registered your dismay on the internet for all to see? We had a backup plan, but I didn’t expect to have time to use it. After abandoning downtown we headed out west and attended the open house at Who North America. Touted as America’s largest online retailer of Doctor Who memorabilia, they’re normally closed to the public except by appointment, but they open one Saturday every month for a four-hour window. They timed their March open house to coincide with the con and drew at least ten times their normal visitor count. The line to enter was a ninety-minute wait…but at least we were allowed inside. They even announced they were extending their hours to accommodate the tremendous response. We literally applauded their generosity.
Was that really all the people you met? I regret omitting one name: cartoonist David Yoder, from whom I bought a minicomic fanfic called “A Fan Comic About Community“, which he wrote and drew shortly before the Dan-Harmon-less season 4 made all our gripes and fears come true. I chuckled a few times. Coming from an old guy who doesn’t read fanfic anymore, that’s a sincere compliment.
Did you find anything on your want list? Surprisingly, yes! Four issues of The Flash from 1978; one issue of The Incredible Hulk from 1975; the first issue of DC’s The Ray (the Christopher Priest/Howard Porter version); and one of the two issues I was missing from Warren Ellis’ run on Excalibur. From the department of impulse buys, I picked up two issues of Marvel Premiere that each featured art by Howard Chaykin and the late Gene Day, as well as a complete run of Paul Cornell and Ryan Kelly’s Saucer Country for a song. This may sound like a small haul, but I’m satisfied with the results.
Was there anything else happening in downtown Indianapolis? If you need a break from the con and/or its throngs, the rest of downtown wasn’t any more deserted. The Big 10 college basketball conference consumed a large area around Bankers Life Fieldhouse and helped overpopulate all the local restaurants. All our food trucks, sadly, opted out and left thousands of dollars just lying there unclaimed on the table. It’s funny how the geography divided itself: reductively speaking, Indy had geeks to the west and jocks to the east, with Meridian Street as the line in the sand down the middle between the two factions. It was the liveliest day our fair capital has had all year, even without a violent Hatfields/McCoys-style outbreak.
Here’s a shot of Monument Circle this weekend, choosing to celebrate sports over pop culture because money and, I dunno, normalcy or whatever.
How was the local media coverage? I’m a tad sensitive about how mainstream reporters view our hobbies from afar through a pirate spyglass and consequently tend to get the little things wrong. I avoided all TV coverage, but I read the summation by the Indianapolis Star that had much better photos than ours but distorted one key point: “Nearly three-quarters of the attendees were dressed in costume.” Um, no. This supports the common myth (which I addressed some time ago) that every comic con is a wall-to-wall masquerade ball. Unless you’re counting super-hero shirts as costumes, “three-quarters” is a severe overestimation that smacks of unfounded stereotyping. If we have to make up a percentage from thin air, I’d call it a single-digit figure at best.
AHA! You misquoted two figures in the previous entry! You’re being mean and distorting stuff on purpose with an agenda! Ouch. My fault. I’ve since corrected it, but allow me to restate and apologize here for the record: the Indiana Convention Center has over 749,000 square feet in total usable space. That’s much more impressive than what I’d copied down in error. But if you consider the Indiana Comic Con only used about 100,000 feet worth of exhibit halls and meeting rooms, not including the surrounding hallways, that’s well over 600,000 square feet of opportunity lost because of other organizations that called dibs first. So who do we really blame here for the overcrowding issues: the showrunners for not choosing a weekend when more space was available; the showrunners for being too cheap to pay for more space; the Convention Center for not working more closely with them in selecting a more accommodating weekend; or both sides for condescendingly underestimating Indiana geek power? I’d love to hear more discussion on that subject so we can better determine who we’re supposed to be vilifying.
One other figure I’ve now updated in that entry: this morning the showrunners announced their estimate that Saturday drew 15,000 bodies, much greater than the quote of 5,000 that the media bandied about yesterday on Twitter, and still exceeding the showrunners’ preshow estimate of 6,000. Even if “only” six thousand of us had shown up, where were they planning on stacking us all?
Please tell me we have other convention options. Pretty please? Absolutely! Midwesterners will have plenty of convention options in this saturated era and market. This is by no means a complete list, but right now my wife and I are aware of the following 2014 geek-based events that will be taking place within 300 miles of Indianapolis in 2014. Please feel free to plug more 2014 shows in the comments below.
3/28 – 3/30: Wizard World Louisville
4/4 – 4/6: Wizard World St. Louis
4/25 – 4/27: C2E2 in Chicago
5/30 – 6/1: the inaugural Indy Pop Con, here in Indianapolis
6/12 – 6/15: the Superman Celebration in Metropolis, IL
6/27 – 6/29: Days of the Dead Indianapolis
8/1 – 8/3: FandomFest in Louisville
8/14 – 8/17: Gen Con Indy
8/22 – 8/24: Wizard World Chicago
9/5 – 9/7: Cincinnati Comic Expo
10/31 – 11/2: Wizard World Ohio (formerly Mid-Ohio Con)
11/28 – 11/30: Starbase Indy
We’re planning on C2E2, Gen Con, Wizard World Chicago, and Starbase Indy as long as nothing financially catastrophic occurs between now and then. We’ve never been to any of the others, but my wife and I have discussed broadening our scope, especially since at least one of these shows has a few of the Most Wanted Actors on her autograph wishlist. Updates and recaps as they occur!
More photos! We demand more ICC photos! Fine. Here’s us, courtesy of the Imagine Church booth. Happy now?