With Further Ado #193: Convention Planning in the Age of Uncertainty

Planning for a comic convention in 2022 sure is weird!

As Covid drags on, everything seems to be affected as we all, as a society, struggle to shift back to normal. Or to redefine what normal means.  And when you add in the anxiety of world events, the in-your-face impact of inflation (rising gas prices) and a rainy spring season- there’s a lot more to planning an event than there used to be!

But this Saturday and Sunday, April 23 and 24th, we’ll be hosting ITHACON 45.  The nation’s second longest running comic convention, right after San Diego Comic-Con (CCI), will be back in-person and live. This show’s founder, Bill Turner is still VERY active in all aspects of the show, and I have the honor of teaching a class at Ithaca College’s School of Business where we teach students about conventions, trade shows and live events, and then provide them the “hand’s on” opportunity to help promote, manage, and run a real show – ITHACON.

This year, we’re really celebrating non-traditional entrepreneurs and creators who forged their paths.  Our Guests include

  • Will Dennis – We’ll be focusing on his creative career post Vertigo, especially with the new ComiXology line.
  • Mike Gold – We can’t wait to showcase this non-traditional trailblazer who has rocked the boat with his creativity, passion and sharpness for decades
  • The Gang from AHOY Comics – bringing a decidedly edge to their comics and storytelling
  • Don Simpson – the creative behind Megaton Man and so many other efforts- including, but not limited to (as the lawyers say) Border Worlds, Wasteland, King Kong and his long-running Megaton Man novel.

We’ve got all the “usual bells and whistles” (which we usually label as traditions) like a fantastically diverse dealer’s hall, our Cosplay Runway Show (who needs a “masquerade ball” anymore?) engagingly thoughtful panels and screenings of Ultraman and the new Chester Gould/Dick Tracy Documentary.

This year, we’ll be adding a couple of new elements to it all too:

  1. We are inviting Ithaca College’s Department of Art, from the School of Humanities and Sciences, to our live model sketching – with Cosplayers! I managed one of these years ago New York Comic Con, but Frank Cammuso recently organized a similar event at Syracuse University’s CONfluence, and it was so much fun.  However, every artist (and cosplayer) is invited to join in – you don’t have to be a student.
  1. Through the generosity of fantastic corporate supporters like TwoMorrows, Archie Comics, AHOY Comics, DC Comics, Waxing Gibbous and AfterShock Comics, we will be distributing overstuffed goodie bags full of comics, books, stickers, posters, bookmarks and more to everyone who pre-orders a ticket!
  1. We’re celebrating entrepreneurism as Via’s Cookies, Ithaca’s recent start-up, will be selling cookies at ITHACON this year!

So… I am still unclear how consumers make entertainment decisions in the year 2022.  Do they wait until the last minute to purchase tickets? Is there pent-up demand? Is there fear of Covid or inflation persuading them to forgo events?  I admit it – I have no idea.

But I do know that the entire ITHACON gang, including management, our guests, our awesome vendors, our collaborators and especially these students who have been working so hard (and are ready to rev it into high gear this weekend) are ready to give it their all. I think it’s going be a dynamite show.

For more information and tix, just click here.  See you at ITHACON!