Doug: Below is the original introduction to today's post, written on Friday evening, 3/14/2014.
Doug: Came. Saw. Conquered. Well, I don't know about that last part. Yesterday I made the 2 1/2 hour trek south to Indianapolis for my first Indiana Comic Con. Many thanks to Redartz for the tip several weeks ago, as despite my relatively close proximity to the Hoosier capital, I did not even know there was a major con in Indy. It worked out great family-wise, too, as I was able to meet the boys for lunch ahead of entering the Convention Center. My oldest is volunteering in media relations at the Big Ten Men's Basketball Tournament at Banker's Life Fieldhouse this weekend, so was going to be in town anyway; as they'd both gotten out of school Friday for spring break, I asked the younger if he wanted to ride with his brother to Indy and meet me to go to the con. He obliged, so we had a nice father-son day and then I brought him home with me for the week.
Doug (3/15/2014): Well, all that being said, here's the reality -- the organizers, promoters, whoever, of the Indiana Comic Con GROSSLY underestimated the demand for their product. Posting a rant on Twitter after I got home, I was informed by follower TropicalHippie that yes, this is the first year for the Indy Con. Man, had to be. Tickets were so affordable compared to WizardWorld Chicago, which I've lamented in the past. For my son and I to go, our admission was going to be a combined $40 ($20 apiece) and we only paid $5 to park. I was planning on some serious bang for that buck. Here's the chain of events: I arrived to an Arby's that was about halfway between Banker's Life Fieldhouse and the Convention Center. I met the boys and a friend at 11:30 and we stayed until around 12:15. My younger son and I moved the car closer to the Convention Center and entered the building around 12:30; the Con had opened for the day at 10:00 am. We entered the main entrance, to be greeted by four lines of people standing as if in a queue. Two lines faced us, two lines faced away from us. Now, Indy was pretty busy this weekend, what with the Big Ten tourney, a local St. Patrick's Day 5K, and who knows what else. However, spying many superhero t-shirts and a little cosplay in those lines made it quickly clear that this was not good.
Doug: So, mystified by what we saw, we began to walk along the side wall, hoping for a) the end of the line, and b) some information on what the heck was going on. It didn't take long before an usher (who looked amazingly like Richard Kiel, sans dental work - dude was every bit of 7-feet tall) shouted out town crier-style that the convention halls (the Con was only in halls D and E, so you know there was room not used) were full and had to be shut down. Not only were ticket sales cut off, but will-call tickets were not even being honored. Imagine this -- a line probably over 1/2 block long, but times four. If there were 1000 people in that line, there easily could have been 1500. I am not exaggerating. And think about this, too -- at 12:30, ticket sales were cut off. The con was going to close at 6:00 pm. There is no way that all of those in line would get into the two exhibition halls. So for every person who was left out, that was $20 in revenue that would be unrealized. Potentially, if most of those people did what we did and left, that's over $20K left on the concourse.
Doug: So I didn't get to meet Steve Englehart, or Keith Pollard, Rich Buckler, George Perez, or Bob Layton. I didn't get to peruse any 4 for $20 trade paperback boxes. Nothing. I did text my friend, former DC artist Don Kramer, who was on the guest list. He said that he wasn't aware of what was going on outside the exhibition halls, but that inside it was super-crowded and very difficult to move -- it was actually kind of a pain, he said. And, as fate would have it, he was seated two chairs down from Perez. Doh!
Doug: I'm sorry I don't have better news to report today. I really hoped to have some cool photos to show. Instead, all you get is the one below taken by my son when we got back home. It shows me lamenting the lack of Englehart's and Buckler's signatures on a two-page spread of the Marvel Chronicle. My loss, but yours, too. But so it isn't a total loss of a day, make the leap to this post from a few years ago celebrating meeting our favorite comic book creators. Thanks!