Fallcon 2009 Walkabout + Round Up

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fallcon2009postcardThe Midwest Comic Book Association throws a big event each year called Fallcon.  In most ways it’s a con like any other con.  Costumes, long boxes, xeroxed minis that don’t sell well, and a lot of dudes wearing black coats.

To me, the identity of Fallcon was apparent long ago: it’s just your average hero-worshiping local comic convention.  Make of it what you will, but in the end, creators go because their friends go and the more they go the more friends they know.  It’s fun, but even if you come out a few books light, you’re not leaving with a book deal and you’re rarely getting out with a date.

Fallcon is a hospitality show that fosters comics love in the Twin Cities.  It works that way because it’s basically the pet project of a very successful local comic book shop owner.  Comics love = comics business.  Our good fortune comes as easy as that but it’s not a formula that could work everywhere.  Luckily, this show is very good at achieving it’s mission, but it’s also been decidedly predictable.  Until this year.

I recently noted a change of tone in MCBA’s marketing strategy.  At least, it seemed new to me.  I perceived this year, for the first time, that the identity of Fallcon is slowly attempting to morph.  Into what, I don’t know.  But while Fallcon certainly appears to be just another fanboy-centric con to you — look again.  Look at that postcard!  This year the MCBA slogan for this show was realized by me for the first time.  Suddenly I couldn’t think of Fallcon as “just a con” anymore because, as the postcard notes, it is “A Comic Book Celebration.”

Wait.  “Celebration.” That’s like a party!  Huh-freaking-zah.  We’re all friends here.  It’s about time we got down.

That word “celebration” got me totally psyched to attend Fallcon this weekend, but looking back on things, I think I took it the wrong way.  All weekend long I sought evidence that Fallcon was much more than a sales floor, but was in fact one big swinging bash the likes of which Saint Paul, Minnnesota, would not see again until its next annual, epic appearance in 2010.  We were gonna tear down the rafters and spike the cola and open a kissing booth and gamble on real life Superman vs. Batman combat bouts in the adjacent conference room.

I took my camera and snapped what I could, but found none of this highly anticipated debauchery.  When I finally discovered the source of Fallcon’s celebration mojo, however, I was pleasantly surprised.  And while I’m sure that the celebration aspect of Fallcon takes on different forms for different people, to me it has become something very specific.

I’m taking you now on a photographic tour of the 2009 Fallcon.  Maybe the fruits of my walkabout will prove “celebration” enough to you, but it wasn’t until I reached the final piece of evidence that I really knew what it meant to have a comic book party.

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While You Were Out: Dispatches from Beyond SDCC 2008

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Chalk it up to the sophomore jinx, but the Second Annual Astoria Comic Con isn’t going quite so well as I had hoped. Sure there will be naysayers who insist that it has something to do with the fact that once again I stubbornly insisted on holding it the same weekend as the San Diego Comic Con. And then there’s the fact that I didn’t advertise or really mention it to anybody. And, of course, nitpickers will likely point out that I held the thing in my tiny backyard in Astoria, Queens.

Honestly, though, I think the whole thing is just a matter of building proper buzz, and that sort of thing takes at least three years of unsuccessful backyard conventions to build. Maybe next year J. Scott Campbell will return my phone calls…

We’ve still got another day-and-a-half to turn this whole thing around. And believe me, once word gets out about those discount-priced hugs, attendees will be fleeing the San Diego convention center like rats from a sinking Watchmen sneak previewing ship. At least it didn’t rain this year–yet…

In the meantime, we put out the word to some of our cartoonist pals and asked them why the hell they weren’t at SDCC either, this weekend. Check out responses from Jeff Smith, Evan Dorkin, Renee French, Tony Millionaire, Tom Hart, and many, many more, after the jump.

Bonus: almost certainly the most adorable picture in the history of The Hatch.

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