Conventions - Why Size May Not Matter

I went to my third Comic Convention of the year, Stan Lee’s Comikaze in Los Angeles, CA, and was reminded that sometimes…size may not matter…at least, when it comes to conventions.

After attending Comic-Con in Denver and San Diego, and Comikaze in Los Angeles this year, it really hit me…I am less stressed at the smaller conventions!

Yes, San Diego Comic-Con is the giant torch drawing fan-moths to its flames of awesomeness, but between getting jostled around in tight aisle and dreading never finding my way back to a specific booth, I couldn’t help but smile when I was able to walk from booth to booth without imagining I was Princess Leia in the garbage chute while at the smaller conventions.

Sure, major studios may not be at a smaller convention giving audiences who waited in line overnight a preview of a preview for a movie that is coming out months from that date, but maybe you’ll be able to see the indie companies with equally awesome things to share or attend a panel hosted by your favorite podcasters.

Crowds aside, I came up with a few reasons why you should check out a convention in your area.

More time to see things
One does not simply do all of San Diego Comic-Con in one day…but a smaller convention? Totally doable! I went to the Denver Comic-Con in June and was able to cover the entire exhibit hall twice within a few hours! I was able to visit different vendors, try to hunt down a mythical ‘Fantastic Pour’ beer glass, and I was able to make it to a panel before the night was over. In my experience, I feel more relaxed at smaller conventions and am able to be more leisurely with my time instead of keeping up a quick pace and wishing I could travel by TIE Fighter at each roadblock.

If you’re looking to sell, you have a hometown audience
If you have an online shop focusing on TARDIS-themed kitchenware, maybe it is time to bring your goods to your audience. A convention in your area is convenient because it will help keep travel expenses lower than if you were to make the nerd-pilgrimage to San Diego. It also doesn’t hurt to grow your local fan base or have your friends attend and staff your booth while you hunt down the perfect Cthulhu lunchbox.

Support local shops and artists
If you are looking at conventions as a way to support local businesses, you’re in the right place. More localized conventions attract local retailers and artists, the people you are hoping to support. I enjoy buying my comics from local stores more than a faceless mega-online retailer, and my new Storm Trooper print is from a local Los Angeles artist. Who knows, maybe you’ll find that there is a artist supply store with your favorite watercolor paper or somebody who specializes in larp weapons close to your hometown so you don’t have to pay shipping anymore!

Less waste
San Diego Comic-Con is all about promotions…paper masks, giant tote bags, stickers, flyers, pamphlets, and more useless promo items that will end up in your junk drawer. Smaller conventions have less because there are less things to promote. Maybe you’re not greeted with a hefty swag bag as soon as you check in, but it’s okay…you’re more streamlined with the Jansport you brought with you.

Here’s the thing. If you don’t live in San Diego, you’re going to have to travel to get there. You’ll most likely need to spend the night, and maybe eat. This is going to cost you more money than going to a more local event, without question. Staying local means you have more money to buy comics, pre-order an upcoming video game, or snag that Chun-Li Hello Kitty plush you’ve been drooling over for months.

Check out the Gadchick’s Guide to Surviving Comic-Con for tips on how to prepare, what to bring, and what you can expect at the convention.

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