7/29/19: TorpedoCon + San Diego Comic Con Show Review
I hope everyone is well and staying cool as the summer continues to heat up. It is safe to say that I am very happy to be home after a very tiring two weeks on the road. As I have been doing since we updated our website, I would like to write a quick review for the past two shows we have done to give you an insight into a dealer’s perspective of doing shows, how the show went for us, what books seem to be picking up steam, and anything else I can think up!
First and foremost, a huge thank you to everyone who came out to see us at both TorpedoCon and SDCC! Traveling 2,600 miles is never an easy task, but it was made much better from all the texts, calls, comments, social media likes, and conversations we had along the way and while we were there. It means so much to us that so many people wished us well on our travels, and the many more who stopped by in person to just say hello and put a face to a name! The hospitality was much appreciated. Here are a few pictures from our drive out:
If you didn’t follow along with our latest journey, be sure to follow us on Instagram (@reecesrarecomics) or like us on Facebook, where I am posting daily updates to our story as well as highlighting key pickups, collections, and other comic related activities. Those that did follow along know that the journey to California was long, but we made the most of it! After a grueling 4 day drive we arrived in North Hollywood for Torpedo Comics one day convention aptly named: TorpedoCon. While this was only the 2nd year the show has been put together, it is already turning into a monster with some of the biggest names in vintage comics and vintage comic art making the trek to set up. With only 4 hours to set up on Sunday morning, I joked to Alex that it was the fastest I had seen any comic show come to life. Even when we have multiple days to set up, it seems there are always a few of us who aren’t fully set up until Saturday evening of a 3 day show.
With the very limited time (the show ran from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.), and massive amount of competition in the room, I was a bit worried that things may not work out in our favor. However, as soon as the doors opened it seemed that there were a solid couple hundred people walking down the narrow aisles and a lot of people knew what they were looking for. Overall, we had a very solid afternoon and are looking forward to returning in 2020 as the show continues to grow. If you are able to attend next year, I definitely recommend it. From a comic enthusiasts perspective, this was in the top 3 shows of the year so far. As best I can remember, Marvel keys were the dominating request from the attendees. In no particular order, I was asked for these books multiple times:
- X-men #1
- Fantastic Four #1
- Silver Surfer #1, #3, #4
- Werewolf by Night #32
- Giant-Size X-Men #1
- Showcase #22
- Amazing Spider-Man #1, #3 #5
- Fantastic Four #5, #48, #49
As I have pointed out in previous posts, a lot of these books you could say are “no brainer” key books. But it is interesting to see which ones have increased in popularity and others that have decreased in the few month time that I have been writing these posts. I remember during the fall of last year that House of Secrets #92 was consistently making my list, but that has been replaced with Fantastic Four #49 which had never made my list prior to a few months ago. Obviously some of this has to due with market speculation, market trends, and other underlying factors, but my overall anecdotal analysis is that Marvel continues to dominate the market. While it might seem counterintuitive, in my opinion this makes it a great time to buy the books that haven’t seen as much of a dramatic rise as their Marvel counterparts. Think Showcase #4 and #22, Batman #121, #171, #181, Detective Comics #359, Justice League #1, Brave and the Bold #28, etc. While these books are just plain harder to come by, finding a high grade copy of any of these is incredibly difficult. I wouldn’t be shocked if we look back in 10 years at all the “would, coulda, shoulda” DC books that are available in relative abundance now.
Here was our wall from the show!
After the one day show in Hollywood, we packed it all up that night and drove the remaining 2.5 hours to San Diego where we settled into our hotel for the next few days. Monday was the one day we actually got to be tourists and enjoy the beautiful city of San Diego. Alex and I went to Balboa park where we spent the afternoon in one of its many museums, walked to the Gaslamp District where we visited a Mexican restaurant and ended up in a very nice movie theatre to watch the newest Spider-Man movie (I give it an A-, great flick!).
Tuesday came early and we were eager to beat the rush of incoming vendors so we got up early to palletize our inventory and have it delivered to our booth inside the convention center. The rest of the day was a bit of a blur as we unpacked, talked with all of the dealers we didn’t get to see that past Sunday, and walked the floor before the masses arrived.
Wednesday was another set-up day that was largely unnecessary for us but was a good excuse to make the booth look picture perfect and walk the floor one last time. Finally, around 5 p.m., some very lucky VIP attendees were granted access to the room and all but a few ran straight through the Gold/Silver pavilion (GSP) into different lines all over the convention center for a myriad of reasons.
I don’t know what all the lines were for, but I do know that I couldn’t really tell the difference between “pre-preview night” and “preview night”. We sold a few books and packed it all up in hopes for a better day on Thursday. Thankfully, Thursday seemed to be a much better day for everyone. There was much more action on the floor of the GSP and many of the dealers I talked to reported very strong sales for the 1st day. Although we were relatively slow on Thursday, things started to pick up for us just before the show floor closed and I think it was a turning of the tide for us as the rest of the weekend was by all accounts a very successful show, especially considering we were still only able to secure 1 booth for this show.
While we were still being asked for all of the books listed above all weekend long, after the Marvel Cinematic Universe news started to spread out of Hall H on Saturday, we began to see the power of the internet in real time. News was being dropped, people were refreshing Twitter, and within minutes the 1st appearance of these characters were selling on our website. A few more minutes after that, and suddenly everyones want list included a Tales of Suspense #50 and Tomb of Dracula #10.
One of the biggest benefits of these behemoth shows like San Diego and New York Comic Con is that the badges are so in demand, that a fresh group of attendees fills the hall every day. While some are lucky to get a 4 day pass, others are only able to get in for a 1-3 days. Although this may not be best for the attendee, as a dealer it means that if I had a bad day, there is hope that the following day will bring fresh buyers, sellers, and long time customers who simply weren’t able to get in the previous day.
All in all, I understand the sentiment that Comic Con is dying. Long time dealers have begun dropping out, it is becoming more difficult for comic buyers to attain a badge, and if you are lucky enough to secure one, the cost of going is more than a typical vacation would be elsewhere. That being said, there is a reason some of the biggest names in comic books continue to attend annually. This show still has some of the nicest books in the world, best art you can find available, and plenty else to get excited about. For us, we were just happy to be there in our 2nd year, bringing comics back to Comic Con! And if they ever find the room for us to get a 2nd booth, we we will drive 2,600 miles with more books for everyone to look at.
I hope you all enjoyed reading and have been able to view the 100+ books we have listed in the past 3 days! Many of these books were purchased on the road and are being listed for the first time here on the website!