Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Midwest Fall ComiCon

I attended this year's ComiCon event in October with my nine year old son, Tommy. Here are some overall impressions I took away from the event.

- We saw people that ranged in age from birth to senior citizen. The bulk of the group probably fell into late teens through forty-somethings.

- Obviously all attending had a true passion for some aspect of comic books–whether it be the art, the fact that they could identify with a specific character, etc.

- At least 1/3 of the attendees were dressed in costumes.

Overall observations from a forty-something, mother of three, point of view (and not a comic con person):
- Fun, creative atmosphere
- Not my scene...now this is not meant as a slam, but it begs the question, "How could we lure in potential attendees/fans that are not typically drawn to this event?' Or, "Do we even care about luring non-fans to the event?" Better yet, "Do we care about increasing membership/is this a goal for the association?"
- Fave part: I loved the hand made puppets, the art, some of the unique comics that were very specific to certain demographics. (Autistic super hero, Fat Ladies in Space, etc.) I appreciated the humor in many of the product lines.
- Least fave part: I was confused. I felt an overall "I don't get it" feeling. I think the event needs a clear mission statement that incorporates ideas about bringing a community (of all things comic books) together. The event lacked a strong branding, directional signs, felt messy and disorganized. Lack of cohesiveness and order. This is coming from an outsider's perspective. I get that these are individual exhibitors, but there did not seem to be a singular common goal or focus. It really felt very segmented, like everybody was just "doing their own thing." It also felt a little intimidating as an outsider who really knows nothing about what was going on. I was not sure where to go, what to do when I got there.

Tommy at ComiCon

ComiCon Photo Booth

Overall observations from a nine year old boy's perspective:
- Kinda scary, intimidating
- Didn't like people in scary costumes
- Lots of toys, cool things
- Fave part: The shopping part was cool. Lots of fun toys for sale.
- Least fave part: Scary masks, costumes, "some people were really scary looking!"

ComiCon attendees in costume

What is goes on/is sold at ComiCon:
- collectible comic books
- comic book art: originals and prints
- comic book related merchandise: trinkets, toys, etc.
- handmade plush toys, pillows, jewelry, puppets (Did I mention that the puppets were awesome?)
- strange unrelated merchandise (used American Girl Dolls????)
- art supplies (Wet Paint had a booth there.)
- many attendees dress as their favorite character
- face painting
- picture booth

Cool Puppets

Face Painting

- Strong(er) brand/identity of association
- If you'd like to lure in potential members/attendees, a clear mission/focus/vision needs to be (more) apparent.
- Organization at event (Make sections of vendors clearer. Neater exhibits.)
- Directional signs at event (Clearly mark sections, events taking place within the event.)
- Information booth at event (Maybe there was one there, but it was not clear to me.)
- Call attention to feature exhibitors with really special products/art/etc. (Contest for exhibitors for most creative product or booth??)