Comic Related Writer and Show Organizer
Decapitated Dan Looks Back On His Show
Well folks it's officially all over for 2011. 6 months of hard work paid off, as one fun filled afternoon brought joy and comic love from all areas of Chicagoland. I will spare most of the details, of how the show came about, but lets take a stroll down memory lane as I present to you what was Dan Con 2011.
So why put on a comic show? I was asked this many times and my answer was always very, very simple. Why not? The Chicago area sees smaller shows here and there, but none ever come to my area, the Southland as we call it. Basically if you want a small show you have to head North or so far South that it's not worth a 2 hour drive. I haven't always wanted to do this, but talking to the people who did the other shows, they didn't seem to care about coming to our area. So I knew it had to be done, and I was the headless man to do it.
The beginning stages were actually easier than you would think. I searched for possible venues and got price quotes, Then just took the best offer for the most amount of space. I knew going in I had no money to do this. I had to rely on the people getting tables to pay for it. Once I had found the perfect space, The Orland Park Civic Center, I knew what I could fit in and what to charge, this was not the original venue, but that is a story for another time and place.
From there I made a little sales pitch video, explaining the main idea for the show and showing off the space. If I haven't said it yet Dan Con was about community, I wanted to let the public see how many creators we had in our area as well sellers and comic shops. I sent this video out to these local comic lovers and the tables began filling up. Hell I was sold out within a month. I did lose a seller and creator to conflict but their places were quickly filled.
So enough of the backstory right, lets get to Feb. 20, 2011, the day of Dan Con! I woke up nice and early so I could head up to the venue and get people loaded in. We started at 8 a.m. and practically had everyone in by the opening time of 10 a.m. I had 21 Creators and 15 Vendors on hand, for a day that none of could have expected.
People started pouring in the doors, which was funny because outside rain was pouring down. That was cause for concern before starting, but we wound up having over 275 people grace us with their presence. I had Dan Con shirts for sale, only sold 1, but the gem of the front table was the Dan Con Creator poster. The poster was full of characters that represent every creator at the show. For $3 you could own this piece and have it signed by everyone. While I thought this would be an awesome way for people to check out the creators books, we only sold 20.
The main room of the show was packed up until the final hour. We had people come in on a bus from Kokomo, IN, thank you Shawn of Comics Cubed for that. We even had a man, and amazing friend of mine come up from Kentucky, thank you Chuck Moore. Deals were to be had, and they were had all day long. No one left empty handed, I can tell you that.
The creator hallway was jam packed all day, as the guys and gals pimped there books and made sales. To me this was the highlight. A lot of the time when you go to a smaller show you only have a few creators, or maybe a big name, but I had 21 people on hand. This show just had a vibe of comics that you wouldn't believe.
Throughout the day I tried a few ideas that came to me. We played 3 rounds of Deal or No Deal Comic Book edition. While solid in theory that really didn't go off too well. But the first 2 contestants won $50 prizes and that's kinda nice.While I didn't advertise for people in costume, patrons were treated to Chicago's very own Kitty Zombie and my wife dressed as Phoenix. People got a real kick all day of getting their pictures taken with them.
As the day wound down the crowd grew smaller, but the talk became louder. I asked everyone how they did, and people had made their table money back and then some. That made me happy. Everyone also constantly told me I had to do it again next year, for which I would say, we shall see. However I know now that it will be done again and again.
Overall I couldn't be happier. We had the local newspaper come out to cover the event, and I didn't even know it (article here). No one seemed to leave with a sad look on their face, and as I said, everyone thanked me for an awesome day. While it is now over, I find myself sad, but happier than I could ever be because it was my hard work and love of comics and the local scene that brought this joy to over 300 people.
I have to take a second here to single out 2 specific people in this. The first is my awesome friend and comic writer Rafael Nieves. Raf and I haven't known each other very long, but since day 1 of knowing him he has been my right hand man in all of this. If I missed something on a post or any kind of advertisement, he was there. He pushed me when I was down and I thank him everyday for all of his support. Now go read his books Bob Howard: Plumber of the Unknown and The Apocalypse Plan!
The second person is my left hand man, Don Johnston or Big D as we call him. Don was the one who made me call it Dan Con. There was a finger gun involved and an Iceman toy. Don was always there to lend a hand, no matter what was going on he was the man to push me harder and harder, and for that Don I thank you.
So enough sappy crap right. What you want to hear is will he do it again! Well you can hear it from me now, Dan Con 2012 will happen!
"Dan Con 2011 exceeded my expectations. I've done a number of small shows over the years, but this one really felt like a big show in a small venue! The creators attending were varied and interesting, offering a real cross-section of the Comics community. The sellers were great, friendly and very supportive. The crowd was engaging and fun, and I loved the opportunity to chat with them without worrying about being interrupted by the endless blaring of this superstar or that superstar signing autographs for $75. Dan Royer and his staff were incredibly organized and helpful, and everyone, including the lovely Mrs. Royer, dressed as Phoenix, made me feel right at home. I cannot say enough good things about this show, except: sign me up for next year!" - Rafael Nieves, writer
Graphic Designer & Horror Comic Journalist
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