This post is a bit late in coming, but I really wanted say something. Oak City Comicon, in Raleigh NC was one of the most pleasant surprises I've had all year.
Last year Oak City Comicon was in the Marriott (if my memory serves me), where it took up a respectable ballroom and a good long hallway. It was a pretty good show, and had a decent turn out. This year it moved to the Raleigh Convention Center, and man-oh-man, that place looked good on the convention! The show had good traffic last year, but this year seemed to really draw out the crowds!
Here's what my day at Oak City looked like:
I got there a bit late, at around 10:00am, when the show was opening to the public. This meant that I was scrambling to get in and set up my table. Luckily the volunteers came to my rescue! They quickly led me through the throngs of eager con goers, through the maze of hallways to check in, then down to where I was tabling by 10:07am. BAM! This is by far the fastest I have ever gone through this process at any convention in the past 3 years.
Next, I frantically began putting up my stuff, and introduced myself to my neighbors. Within 30 seconds of setting down my graphic novel Giant! and floppy comic books I had people asking me questions about my graphic novel and happily taking some purchases along with them. And throughout the rest of the day I always seemed to have between 1-5 people chatting happily with me at my table. So much so, that I almost forgot that I had to be at my panel at 11:00am!
Again, at this point the volunteers saved me. I didn't have anyone tabling with me, and had to leave my table to speak at the Web to Print Panel. I quickly flagged down two "Henchmen" who happily took over my table as I scrambled in the direction they pointed for me to join my panel.
Speaking of the panel, I honestly had no idea what to expect. I didn't know exactly who was moderating, and had yet to meet the amazing Dale Mettam, who was my co-panelist. I slipped into the panel room, introduced myself to Dale, then to Chris Nielsen and Alex Folmar of the Name Redacted Podcast, who turned out to be moderating the panel! Everything went very smoothly, thanks to our great moderators, and it turns out the panel was even recorded as a podcast! You can listen to it HERE.
When I got back to my table I found three of my happy henchmen there, and they informed me that several people stopped by looking for me and my stuff! Yeah! I enlisted their help one last time before they left, to find some way of attaching my banner to the frame I had brought and built. I (absentmindedly) neglected to bring the Velcro straps I normally use to hang it from its frame. No Worries! The Volunteers came to the rescue with some blue masking tape which they promptly used to hang up my banner for me. Rock Stars!
I spent the remainder of the con happily chatting with guests, selling my goods, signing copies of the print I made for Oak City to give out, and drawing commissions. AND at the end, I even got one of the volunteer shirts (which I had a hand in designing) to take home for my wife! Score!
I have to give a HUGE THANK YOU to all the volunteers at the show this year! You guys were amazing and I wouldn't have had such a great show without you!
I hear next year the show will be 2 days long (March 18th and 19th 2017) and will be in a bigger convention hall. Will I be there? You can bet on it!
~ Chris Wharton