You know I tend to be wordy so fair warning
I don’t frequent many cons, but I attended one recently that was middle of the road size wise. Clearly I have to generalize, as attending these isn’t routine for me. I also rarely attend the really big events like SDCC/C2E2 so I think my observations are more in line with the “regular collector cons/crowds”. I don’t mean that as a dig…it’s just that you aren’t going to be seeing walls of Golden age books, big name artists, and such at this sort of con.
Midwest/Michigan-Saturday and Sunday Con.
Of note, for Michigan–crazy hot day and humidity. In the nineties. I know in other areas you are like “big deal”, but that is hot for us and likely resulted in a bigger crowd with folks seeking to beat the heat.
Very well attended. Opened up to VIP guests at 8am which I felt was a bit early. After general admission opened it became crowded very quickly. As a costumer, I got there very early (during set up) and was able to do my thing, make an assessment, and then just be present throughout the day. I still can shop and dig but I try to get it done early. In costume it is also just really hot and uncomfortable. One thing I always appreciate is that vendors have always been kind about setting something aside for me if I’m in costume so I can come back later to purchase (and I always 100% do).
I try to move very quickly at first as I believe it is pretty easy to quickly determine booths that are a priority for initial quick digging. You know already that many of the dealers have already done some precursory digging during set up (night prior).
I was impressed with this con in the fact that it actually had a very good showing by way of comic books. I put the comic books vendors at about 50% which is pretty good these days imo. I am including even a couple that didn’t have much to offer but they still have at least 50% of their booth make up as comics. I counted 20 booths total. Of those 20, I would say there were 8 that appeared to be booth that were just intermittent sellers/non established shops/non-con circuit sellers. Those are always my first priority. I tend to avoid the set ups that are clearly established comic stores that are just attending a con.
Other booths, as is typical of cons these day were craft related, toy/funko pop related, art related, or in a few cases (service related-costume creation/photography/etc).
One of the most popular booths was actual one focused on cosplay type equipment/swords/helmets/armor and such.
I feel bad for some of the vendors trying to sell their self published comics, or crafts, etc. Buying booths at cons isn’t cheap these day and I just never see anyone buying anything from them. I always try to talk, visit, etc. I bet that is depressing for them.
- I don’t see graded books sell. If I’m a seller–I’m not wasting my time bringing graded books unless they are red hot, or on the cheaper end.
- Finding nice condition silver/bronze age books is tough. Even run fillers.
- Cheesecake books sell like crazy. (I need to study up on these-I bet I constantly miss stuff that has value)
- Horror/gory books sell like crazy.
- Spider-Geddon/Spider-verse type books are very popular/selling except that #6 that sat on everyone’s wall for the ongoing absurd price.
- Strange Academy would sell like crazy but nobody has them for sale. The only Strange Academy books I saw were later issues and some of the Walmart #1. Lots of folks looking for it.
- I wish I had 100 copies of that She-Hulk skipping rope issues because that definitely sells.
- Bargain boxes/deals/specials is where the folks were shopping. I saw people buy massive amounts of comics from the folks that had cheap bins or “Buy 3 get One”, etc, etc.
- I saw very little interest in Star Wars comics. Huge reversal from the last few years. They are now all priced too high from that heat we saw and they sat unsold. High Republic included.
- Many shops/displays seemed to be two steps behind. They have spec books on their walls that “were” hot, but aren’t now.
- To the last point, shops not aware of future spec and because of that provide some good bargains on books that will likely heat up or books that are the talk of the town here and other places.
- Cash is definitely king. Having said that, I just can’t understand the booths that have no other option in this day and age. Taxes or lack of technology be damned…you folks are missing out on sales. It’s foolish.
- If you want something-don’t hesitate or pull the “I’ll come back”. I’ve gotten better at this but it stings when you miss out on something because you don’t pull the trigger. Happened to me again with a Charlton Scooby Doo #1. It was early in the show when I saw it and I didn’t want to spend a decent amount right away. Circled back and it was gone.
- Frank Miller Daredevil books are hard to find.
- 70’s DC Horror books (that I love) are hard to find, especially in good condition. Caveat to this however, most folks don’t really care about them outside of some of the keys, so dealers don’t bring them to begin with. So actually a poor assumption on my part most likely.
- Personal hygiene remains an issue.
- Don’t put boxes of comics on the floor. I don’t care if they are .50 or whatever. Nobody looks at them from what I observed. I certainly don’t. I suppose there could be gems there, but it’s uncomfortable, hot, and awkward. Constantly worrying I’m gonna have plumbers butt or get knocked in the head via a knee from someone walking by, etc. Just don’t do it vendors.
- If you are a vendor, be at your booth/table. I understand bathroom breaks and such. That’s different. I’m not there to wait around while your kid tells me dad is out making deals or digging himself. You just lost my sale.
- I know keeping little kids in line is tough. Comics are for everyone, but at a Con…keep your children in line. Too many kids running up to display walls, grabbing stuff, and not being supervised while their parents are digging/not paying attention.
- I didn’t encounter a single dealer who didn’t give me a “deal”. In most cases I didn’t even ask. I’d hand them the books and they would do the “how about…” and I’d say sure. With the three main dealers that I bought 90% of the books from they treated me exceptionally well. I’d say about a 40% discount all told. If I bought at book that was $10 or under I didn’t even give the opportunity though. I had the cash in hand and simply paid them. Even for let’s say a $6 book…here’s your $6. If I didn’t think the price on that sort of book was fair I wouldn’t have bought it to begin with.
- People were buying and spending plenty of money. I just didn’t see people spending that money on big ticket books/single books/graded books. Maybe folks just approach the whole con environment in the same mentality I do. I would absolutely prefer to spend my money on a ton of lesser keys/books I want, spec books, etc versus one very expensive book. I’ll buy those types of book sitting at home. It just isn’t as fun to go to a con and buy “one expensive” book in my opinion.
I gave myself a limit of what I would spend and was good about sticking to it. I got some books I really wanted and some very good deals. I always try to ensure I buy some older reliable books along with spec or FOMO type stuff. I often make note of books I see on these forums and try to find them. I feel like I brought home a nice mix of books. I never paid what a book was priced at. I also was happy in that the condition of everything I bought was excellent. Sometimes, in the con environment you are moving quickly and get rooked or miss glaring defects.
So, here are some of the highlights from my digging. Thanks to many of you for spec talk/tips/or highlights you have shared. I clearly love 1st appearances, certain artists, horror, and final issues of different comic runs…as evidenced by my purchases. Crossed a large number of wants off my list
Thanks for reading! Regards!