This weekend I exhibited at Comica Comiket, and I have a few thoughts about it.
Firstly I'd like to thank the organisers and staff, who were helpful all day. The drawing parade was fascinating to watch and I was well looked after throughout.
But I cannot ignore the elephant in the room: the hall was near-impossible to traverse. Three people could not pass down the aisles simultaneously, so it was very dificult for people to browse your work comfortably most of the time. Exhibitors on the central aisles were crammed in back to back with almost no room for manoeuver, and it was hard to stand up and engage with people face to face because there was inevitably a chair in your way, buckling you at the knees.
I can only speak for my own experience when I say that I couldn't even get to the tables I wanted to, and when the call to pack up was given at 6, I went home empty handed. One of the greatest pleasures of attending these shows is discovering new work and meeting new/rarely seen people, and I felt at the end of a pretty uncomfortable day that I had largely missed out on both of these, with the exception of a very pleasant chat with Sarah McIntyre.
Having taken part in a signing in the punter-free downstairs room, I felt very sorry for the exhibitors who had been marooned down there. Last year's London Small Press Expo in Deptford was damned by a lack of signage and I felt that these poor souls had suffered the same fate.
With seemingly no shortage of attendees or organisational enthusiasm, I hope that Comica can overcome these logistical problems and continue to grow as an event. It's important that the capital has an alternative comics show worthy of the location.