Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Comica Comiket Review

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.


Luke Surl said...

As someone who was originally in the basement but, halfway through the day, managed to "escape" to half a table in the main hall, I think you've hit the nail on the head on both counts.

'The Other Room' issue isn't unique to Comiket, there's a few time that there's an area separated from the main which gets a lot less footfall - be it another room, or something like the stage area from the Thing/SPExpo. This was the most extreme case I've seen however.

Anonymous said...

I agree. I thought the Web Thing was crowded, but this was worse. I did a couple of rounds, listened to an interview downstairs, looked in on the signing room and that was about it. Thanks for my Zappa-decorated Murder She Writes anyhow!


Laura said...

I agree... It was the reason we left early. I'm glad I got there just after it opened though as it wasn't so busy so could browse and then come back and buy before I headed off. I did enjoy it but always felt like I was in the way, never a great feeling!

Luke Surl said...

A follow-up: those of us who were downstairs have been offered a free (main hall) table in the November Comiket. That seems pretty decent of them.

Paul Gravett said...

Hello and thanks for everyone's valuable feedback here. Megan, Peter and I are glad most people had a great Comiket last Saturday but we do understand there were problems with the downstairs room for some exhibitors. SOOO we have offered to either refund those exhibitors affected in full or offer them the same equivalent table space at our next Comiket in November at no cost and guaranteed to be in The Great Hall. We hope this will go some way towards apologising and compensating for this disappointment. We had hoped that the programme of interviews and signings and regular announcements would draw more of the public to the extra rooms, but this did not work out. We're listening to your suggestions and learning lessons, as we try to develop Comiket further. We'll be making some important changes to Comiket in November, more news to follow shortly. Comica: Putting Comics First! Cheers, Paul