9/18/18: Keystone Comic Con In Review
With Keystone Comic Con completed, we are left with just two shows before the convention side of our business comes to a close for the year. If you are planning on coming to either Baltimore or New York, please make sure to stop by our booth as both shows are shaping up to be some of the best of the year.
As I mentioned in a previous blog post, we want to keep this area active and updated with everything going on at Reece’s Rare Comics. That means that I (Austin) might be posting news, while Alex posts his top 5 favorite restaurants on the road, and Greg gets back to a long awaited Greg’s grails post. The majority of these posts will be comic book related, but we have always wanted to highlight some of the things that we do “behind the scenes”.
As we just got back from Keystone Comic Con’s first year, I thought I would give my thoughts on the experience. First, the load in process went relatively smoothly. We arrived relatively early in the afternoon, and only had to wait about 30 minutes before we found a spot on the dock to start wheeling our stuff in. While this may not seem like an important note to some, an easy load in/load out experience plays a small part in our criteria of whether we will do a show again.
Once we got our booth set up on Thursday, we spend the evening at Maggiano’s, an Italian chain that we usually go to at least once when we are in Philadelphia. On the walk to the restaurant, Alex and I walked past a news stand selling vintage comic books!
The show officially kicked off on Friday, but the only way you would have been able to tell was if you looked at your watch. The giant hall quickly swallowed the several hundred attendees that showed up right as the doors opened, and the traffic didn’t increase much throughout the day. Retail sales were slow, but we held out hope that Saturday would be a better day.
Saturday was a much more promising day as the aisles started to fill up a little more into the afternoon. Although sales still weren’t great compared to other Saturday’s, this is where I cut a 1st year show some slack. They did seem to sell more tickets for the main day, and I think that in 3-4 years this show will be one of the fastest growing shows on the circuit. However, I hope the promoters listen to their exhibitors and fans by moving the “Entertainment Stage” into another room, leave the MC’s at home, and tell the marching band to keep on marching. All of these factors gave off the vibe of a sad state fair instead of it feeling like Comic Con. These are all things that Reed could easily fix, and I think they will given their past track record of building state of the art shows from the ground up. What Reed did right was getting tons of quality comic dealers in the room, and ultimately that is the most important building block of a successful Comic Con.
Sunday was similar to Friday in that attendance was light, but a few deals were done and we were able to buy a few books. I often tell people that setting up at a show isn’t just about how much money you take in, but also about meeting people. We met several long time mail-order customers in person, sold some books to new customers, and got to see a ton of old friends from over the years. All of these are important when looking to the future of where we travel to for comic shows.
All in all, Key Stone Comic Con has a lot of room for improvements, but I think they had a solid foundation of a show and I expect it to get even better year after year. Depending on the dates they decide on for next year, we will most likely be back.