Friday, July 10, 2009
I went to the ALA today, along with Amazing Fantasy owner and Moonstone EIC Joe, to help set up the Moonstone booth. The ALA is the annual "American Library Association" convention. WOW! Very impressive! I've never been to an ALA show. It's massive, on scale if not bigger than the San Diego Comic-con. It's not in Chicago every year, so we at Moonstone decided to take advantage while it was in town. They were nice enough to place our booth in the "graphic novel pavilion" meaning we are located by other publishers of graphic novels, comics and genre publishing. In our aisle there is IDW, Viz, and Tokyopop and other comic publishers of note were close by as well.
Tomorrow is the first day that the exhibit hall is open. I'm pretty excited. This is an excellent opportunity to talk to librarians from all of the country about our comics, graphic novels, prose anthologies, and novels. The exhibit hall is open from Saturday-Tuesday, so it's a pretty long show. Graphic novels are getting more and more shelf space at libraries so it's great to see so many comic book publishers making an effort with the librarians. Even the C2E2 show representatives have a booth there and they will be sponsoring a special comic related event focusing on the CBLDF, with Neil Gaiman and Jill Thompson on hand to discuss the issue. It's quite obvious that comics are becoming more and more important in libraries, and it's a pleasure to witness. I never thought the mainstream media would take graphic fiction seriously, but more and more outlets are doing that very thing.
An exciting part of the ALA show is it is taking place at McCormick Place, so we get to see first hand what the C2E2 show could be like. C2E2 has the potential to be the biggest comic book show in the country just because the venue is so very huge. I'm sure this first year in April 2010, only a portion of McCormick Place's square footage will be devoted to the show, but wow it could grow to a be a bigger show that the SD con just because there is so much space. Very exciting, but very expensive. As a publisher, we thought the SD show was expensive, but actually it's a bargain to exhibit there in comparison to exhibiting at the ALA, but we do think it is worth every penny. Time will tell if it is.
Going to this show, seeing all the amenities that McCormick Place has to offer, I don't really see how Wizard World Chicago can possibly continue after this year, because it will be VERY hard to compete with the venue. The Donald Stevenson convention center doesn't hold a candle to McCormick Place. And McCormick Place is right on the edge of the loop, so there are many reasons for exhibitors, creators, celebrities, and fans to make the trip.
Tomorrow the convention hall goes LIVE, can't wait! Sometimes it really is all about comics for me 24/7, but I wouldn't have it any other way.