Been thinking about this on and off all week.
As an event ARMAGEDDON was pretty good for what it is - essentially a big pop culture trade fair with a few diversions, in the form of wrestling, signings, q & a's, thrown in. Lots of colour, lots of noise, lots of people and families with money to spend on their particular area of interest - which is what the event organisers and stall holders want.
ARMAGEDDON 2007 was a huge improvement on the one in 1999; congrats to Bill and his teams of staff and security.
However, the public were not there to investigate and buy independent/alternative comics. They just weren't. No fault of 'GEDDON and Bill, who was supportive and inclusive of an Artists' Alley when the space used could have gone to stalls which made him more money.
This was not my observation alone. I was sharing a space with Phil Bentley and he was of the same cast of mind as myself, as were a few other people along Artists' Alley whom we talked to over the weekend (I'll let them put their hands up). We both took the same amount, over two days, as we both did at Douji this year, in one day. Artists Alley was really an Artists' Ghetto in the context of ARMAGEDDON as a whole (the same goes for SUPANOVA).
I believe (as do several others) independent/alternative publishers/sellers need their own event. From necessity, it would be a small 'boutique' event, but dedicated to purely Australian work. Whether its run in conjunction with something like the Fringe Festival in Melbourne, the 'Zine Fair, the Newcastle Writers' Fest, or on its own, it needs to be available to people who have an direct or indirect interest in the work on display for its own sake.
I know Avi has tried to fill the void by putting on Doujicon, and a sterling job he has done, as one man with a handful of volunteers. His core group of supporters - people interested in Manga - turn out for him. But I'm not sure whether he envisions his event as something along the lines I'm thinking of, or whether its even 'right and proper' that a manga event should be skewed into something resembling a mini SPX or A.P.E.
I want to see/hear some others from last weekend come forward and comment.
All that said, I did have a good time in that I caught up with a lot of people that I knew, including some friends that I hadn't seen for over 10 years.