Last week I attended my first Smallville Comic-Con as a creator. It was quite an experience.
My intent was to generate more interest in my books. I’ll admit I felt awkward at times not having merchandise for sale, but there were plenty of people who stopped by my table and said hello. I even got a few people who showed an interest in the book when I talked to them about it.
You find a lot of different types of people when you work at a comic-con. Some people will stop by every booth and table, asking questions and wanting to know what you have to offer. Others will stop by those booths that interest them. Still others are attending their first comic-con and curious about everything around them.
I suspect a big reason why some people attended their first comic-con was the appearance of Dean Cain. The organizers of Smallville Comic-Con have been trying to get somebody who played Superman/Clark Kent to make an appearance and were successful in getting Cain to attend. I didn’t get to approach him (though I was able to sneak a photograph of him talking to other attendees) but everyone who met him loved how friendly and approachable he was.
The same could be said for the other celebrities who were on hand. Mindy Sterling clearly was having the time of her life — she even got on the public address system several times to remind everybody about who was in attendance, cracking jokes about how every celebrity might even offer you a hug and a kiss. I read up on one exhibitor who had Corin Nemec stop by her booth and buy something. Steven Williams walked right past booths when the first day was over, said goodbye to everyone and had his arms full of merchanise. David Nykl was doing air guitar in his chair at one point.
And Master Daniel Pasana walked past my table on his way in for Sunday’s events. I chatted wih him briefly as he walked past and he remarked about how much fun he was having.
Of course, there were plenty of cosplayers who made their way around the place. Some of them had their own booths and happily met with other people who wanted to learn more about what they do and how to create costumes. There was an Abraham Lincoln impersonator who showed up — I looked him up and it turned out he’s a Kansas resident. And perhaps one of the best cosplaying teams showed up Sunday, with a group of who re-enacted Jurassic Park, complete with a dinosaur who actually ran like one would!
As for what I learned as a creator, the importance of a pitch can’t be understated. It’s a good thing I had my pitches in mind and could get right to them, given that it sparked some interest in people who stopped by. I had the pleasure of talking to a few people about their own ideas for books or their favorite superheroes. And I gave away three copies of my first book to three lucky people (and I hope those people are enjoying the book).
I also learned that things slow down considerably on Sunday afternoon — that tells me, in the future, I might be able to use that time to go say hello to any celebrities who are able to stick around late in the day or meet with other creators.
And I was glad to meet with Jon Robinson, the main person behind Smallville Comic-Con, and tell him how much I appreciated what he did for everyone. Without Robinson, Smallville Comic-Con wouldn’t have been possible.
I do plan on attending future events as a creator, though now I have a better idea about how to organize my time as far as when to be at the booth to meet with visitors and when it’s all right to slip away to visit others. The nice thing about Smallville Comic-Con is you can leave your booth unattended and other vendors will watch out for you — plus nearly every visitor is honest and will leave things alone. (I did learn that because you do have to eat while you’re there!)
Meanwhile, it may seem crazy to plan a trip to Hutchinson, Kan., just to visit a comic-con, but in this case, it’s well worth the trip.