They report, you decide

February 28, 2006

Here’s the second paragraph of the PW Comics Week wrap-up of the inaugural New York Comic-Con:

“For those who were able to get in, the show was profitable and enjoyable, despite the hassles and disorganization. The range of exhibitors—from comics companies both mainstream and independent to book publishers to manga and anime outfits—was second only to San Diego in terms of diversity. Not every segment had overwhelming sales success, but at least on Friday’s trade day, the mix of attendees and exhibitors mirrored the overwhelming excitement surrounding the world of comics, and made for a day of high-level networking for just about everyone.”

That strikes me as an unfortunate note to strike so early in the piece, but it’s not like PW is the only one staking out that ground, and lord knows they have their reasons to do so.

I’m rather impressed with show organizer Greg Topalian, who seems to realize that now isn’t the time to equivocate:

“He guaranteed that turned-away fans will ‘absolutely get their refunds within 30 days.’ Fans who had prepaid passes and did not get in ‘will get a full refund, and we will invite them back as guests next year.’ A notice will be posted on the New York Comic-Con Web site contact page today, he said, offering an apology and giving ‘clear directives’ about how fans who didn’t get in—but still have their tickets—can get their money back. Reed Exhibitions is also putting together ‘fan thank-you packages’ — ashcomics, posters and other schwag. Topalian said, ‘We know that some of the fans will never forgive us, but this is purely a gesture of apology. We know we have to try and make it up to them.’”

It might have been nice if PW had put in a link to the site, but it might not have been ready at the time of publication. Anyway, here it is.

PW goes on to declare the show “A Success Nevertheless,” but if you want a slightly different perspective, you might swing by Neilalien’s blog:

“One doesn’t have to be a self-loathing schadenfreuder Debbie Downer alarmist to be skeptical about labeling such a preventable crappy experience for so many people as an ‘overwhelming success’. This weekend was a massive disappointment for a lot of consumers- all those who didn’t get in and many who did- and they’re the opinions the industry should be caring about, much more than each others’ glowing ‘only the most cynical could declare the Con anything but a huge success’ assessments. Yet the comicbook industry toasts itself, confusing problems of incomptence with problems of success, confusing a poorly-planned fire hazard (crowded largely with itself) with generating a ‘hot scene’ reputation among the folks they allegedly try to reach and entertain for their paychecks.”

Okay, just one more quote from PW:

“Getting a bigger hall, much wider aisles and running the registration and badge lines smoothly will all need to be addressed for next year’s show, announced for February 25-27 at the Javits. However, having such a popular product that people had to be turned away is a problem that many people might wish for.”