Tuesday, April 13, 2010

MoCCA 2010 report- the General Admission Blues

I didn't have my own table this year, just came as a fan. And...it wasn't the best experience.

Here's the story- I actually did have my books on a table with the Center for Cartoon Studies, BUT MoCCA but limits on the number of "Exhibitor" badges each table was allowed to buy (this is the first I've ever heard of a con doing this). Six was the magic number for a full table, I didn't make the cut and my distributor couldn't get me a badge for the same reason, so I planned on buying a "General Admissions" ticket at the door.

JP Coovert and Joe Lambert at the One Percent Press table

Arrived at the Armory at around 10:30am, there is no indication they are throwing a comic convention there. No signs or posters up, nothing indicating where we should stand in line. All I see is a bunch of military recruits running drills in front of the buildings, and a bunch of nerds trying really hard to stay out of their way.

We manage to form two lines. As more people arrive, we get asked "which is the line for pre-paid tickets?" a lot. We had no idea what we're doing.

At about 11am, a poor volunteer comes out and informs us we all need to form one line to the right. I'm in the wrong one, and go from being like 4th to way the hell around the corner of the building.

11:05am, the same volunteer comes out again, to tell us the doors will be opening in 5 minutes...they open at about 11:30, at which point we're asked to form two lines (??) pre-paid tickets to the right, everyone else to the left. Things are a bit of a mess in the hallway, I pay for a two-day pass, get my hand stamped, but am not given a ticket for the 2nd day and have to go back and argue with people.

CCS freshmen Beth, Nomi and Emily looking like pros.

So it's close to noon by the time I actually make on to the convention floor and can put my books down on the table. I am hungry, cranky and in no mood to spend money. And I have to immediately leave to catch lunch before heading to the Speed Lines event at NYU (separate blog post forthcoming).

It's about 4pm by the time I manage to get back to the show, and take a first walk around the floor. I have a program with a map, as well as a supplemental page with corrections to the table layout, and still never manage to find the Comics Bakery table.

I stole this map from their site. A huge chunk of "Row A" was gone, replaced by this weird no-man's-land of bar tables. Also, the poor girl at table 38 F (Tania DelRio from The Bazaarium, according to my program) deserves a refund . There was like three feet of clearance between her and the back wall- the row LOOKED like a dead end, no one was going near her.

All whining aside, I spent the last two hours of the convention walking the floor, shopping and trading, and had a nice time.

Monster Hats!

Getting into the show the second day is just as disorganized. I wasn't compulsively checking the clock this time (not having a heavy backpack full of books makes all the difference) so I don't know exactly when the doors opened, just that it was late. When I did make it to the front to and get my hand stamped to go in, I heard the security guard next to me ask a volunteer to close the doors again as they weren't ready yet. No idea what happened after that, as I was already in, and had a nice time on the surprisingly empty convention floor.

Again, sorry for all the whingeing and negativity, but the show needs to be a positive experience both for exhibitors AND the general admissions public, so that they'll wanna come back, spend money, and read new comics.

Suggestions for next year:

1. Get rid of the limit on exhibitor badges.
MoCCA raised the prices of tables, forcing more people to share in order to be able to afford the show at all, and then they drive the knife in a little further by limiting the number of people allowed to share. Really? This is how you want to do business?

2. Open on time.
It shouldn't be this hard.

3. Signs.
Let people know there's comic books in the building! And where to stand in line so they can get in to read them.

Okay, off to Portland Oregon for Stumptown. Let's see how it compares!

More photos here.

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