Armageddon october 2007 - NOW IN MELBOURNE

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Postby David Bird on Sat Oct 20, 2007 9:24 am

Hi Folks

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.
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Postby Egofreaky on Sat Oct 20, 2007 11:04 am

Bit off actual topic, but I need to say it:

DoujiCon isn't a manga event!!!
It's just that the manga community is way more inter-connected than the rest of the cartoonist and illustrative community, so naturally these things skew that way.
I realise the background my comics come from will effect my events, as that's who I'm connected with initially. But really, DoujiCon is an open invite for EVERYBODY. I'm even trying to get a few of the bigger local names to come along and have a crappy little 50x60 table like everyone else. If you want more non-manga type of comics showing up, please please please help me spread the word.

But I know what you mean David, I heard a lot of people saying that to me as well.
I started DoujiCon simply because of the problem you're describing with Armageddon & SupaNova.
After one particular Narutard (the worst type of anime fan) asked why he should pay $13 for a copy of OzTAKU when he could get a cheaply made merchandise headband (that probably cost $0.40 at manufacture), I decided it was time there was a space for artists to be able to sell without having to compete with the likes of comic shops and other retailers.
That's the whole point of the event. Like what you're describing.
It's for cartoonists, it's about cartoonists.

Honestly, I would LOVE for DoujiCon to become like APE.
If you're able to help me out with that, then by all means, hop on board, Give me ideas and contacts, and I'll try to turn this con into whatever people want, so long as that it's still an indie comics & cartoon con at the end of the day.
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Postby The Wraith on Sat Oct 20, 2007 7:00 pm

From what I can gather, events such as Doujicon suit the Melbourne market better than Armageddon. Just seems to be that kind of city.
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Postby David Bird on Sun Oct 21, 2007 8:45 am

Avi,

Without being critical of DoujiCon in anyway, looking at DoujiCon from the public's point-of-view, the Japanese sounding name defines what sort of event it might be.

I'd like to see some sort of event where the focus was centred on the work and the publications first, and personalities and 'cartoons' second; though one is bound tightly to the other.

There are very slow inroads being made into the public perceptions of what 'graphic stories/novels' are all about, what 'comic' art can encompass, about what sort of stories can be told.

The book trade is slowly, over some time now, waking up to the potentialities of graphic stories/novels - what they can stock, and what they can move (and I don't just mean Superheroes, Manga, and movie tie-ins).

Witness the recent panels about graphic novels in the Brisbane and Melbourne Writers Festivals, the recent launch of TANGO 7 in conjunction with an exhibition opening during the recent Fringe Festival in Melbourne, even the exhibition curated by Dave Blumenstein at the Emerging Writers Festival/Zine Fair this year. I'm sure there are similar events in other capital cities, apart from the Newcastle Writers Fest.

There are also other groups out there that don't get discussed much at all on these forums, I'll call them the 'Silent Army' crowd, and Sleepers Publishing, and the group who put out 'Going Down Swinging', who are all active, who get stuff published, who put on small events, functions and exhibitions.

This is the what we should be moving towards, some event which embraces things of this nature, of these elements.

Avi, if DoujiCon were to evolve into something like A.P.E. or SPX it might mean a name change for the event, as well as a shift of emphasis, and if I was an anime fan or a manga fan I'm not sure whether I'd be too happy about that.

Hey, some of you folk at Artists' Alley at ARMAGEDDON last week - speak up on this!
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Postby Gerkinman on Sun Oct 21, 2007 10:46 am

So its finally time to link all the videos from my trip. Over an hours worth, luckily for you guys im kind enough to put little descriptions before each segment so you only have to watch the ones you like.

Part 01:
This is basically my trip from home in Ballina to Brisbane and then from Brisbane on the plane to Melbourne.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vncXQfDiuLc

Part 02:
Me and Lena exploring the city and meeting up with my cousin aswell as Hayden from Siberian productions.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hfHXBmjcXow

Part 03:
And overview of the convention and the OzSlaught people setting up there booth.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0QeHIwaGiWI

Part 04:
More of the con, some of me and Lena's customers at our booth, Pizza eating contest and me, Lena and Hayden lost in China Town at night.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e1B8XoqL5JU

Part 05:
Ive got one word for you...Pillow fight... IN SLOW MOTION!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lo-fPRRsMpc

Part 06:
Me and Lena hella tired on a Tram followed by me, Hayden, Lena, H PoP, Treyzuka, Nick whose oztaku name ive forgotten after drinks...harrasing some skanks/bushpigs/trailer trash outside a pub. No offense ladies <3

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WeM-12MX9eg

Part 07:
Me and Lena do some more exploring...and buy a mac book each...

And thats pretty much it <3

All in all i had a good time, made more money then ive ever made before, and more then most indie comic guys make at these things (between 3 of us we made almost $500) , and i made my portion without selling a single comic which is interesting. Doubt ill be heading that way again tho, ill go to Sydney Armageddon instead. I love Melbourne, but that place is just too damn pricey.
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Postby Ive on Sun Oct 21, 2007 11:05 am

David Bird wrote:Without being critical of DoujiCon in anyway, looking at DoujiCon from the public's point-of-view, the Japanese sounding name defines what sort of event it might be.
!

I agree with this.
I believe people will always think it's a manga event (even if they show up) and it will always attract more manga vendors and buyers than non-manga simply because of the name.
I understand the name and the origins but how many other non-manga creators or fans do?
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Postby davidjcunning on Sun Oct 21, 2007 11:25 am

While I was sligtly removed from the artist alley area at Armageddon I definately agree that as far as indy comics are concerned, it wasn't the best crowd for us. Thats not to put a negative on what was a well presented and run show, but I realised very quickly that we were dealing with a very mainstream and family oriented crowd. I had people coming up to the LAC stand asking if we had copies of Sin City and V for Vendetta for sale, and so many people shocked at the idea of there being any presence of independent publishing in Melbourne.
I love the idea of a show that is purely an independent and comic show (small as it may have to be). I've been to Doujicon and it had a great spread of indy stuff but as others have mentioned before in this thread it really does sound like a manga show. I know this is the area you have come from Avi and that you are doing your best to represent all indy publishing manga or otherwise, but just because we at these forums know its for everybody others dont, and the name does definitely call out to the manga fan in us all.
Maybe it would be worth everybody sitting around the table at the next meet to chuck in thier 2c so we can get a better idea of what we are all wanting from a local event?
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Postby bluetoaster on Mon Oct 22, 2007 11:54 am

davidjcunning wrote:... I've been to Doujicon and it had a great spread of indy stuff but as others have mentioned before in this thread it really does sound like a manga show.

This was my take also.

Let me just say that Doujicon was by far the BEST con I've been to so far as an indie comic publisher. Really great.

The fine thing about Doujicon, is that it does a very good job at 'accommodating' us indy guys. It does much better job than Armaggedon & Supernova, simply because of it's narrower focus (ie. Manga & comix.) - where we aren't mice in a room of elephants.

I think what people are talking about here, is for aussie-comix to be more than just 'accommodated'. To either have something tailored to them (in all its various forms, including maga, etc), or to fit in on a more level-playing field at a current event (Like Doujicon tries to do.). But at Doujicon, manga is still Crusty the Clown, while the rest are Side Show Bob - simply by the event's name & impetus.

I would still see Doujicon as an important part of an indy-sellers calendar year, but someone's previous suggestion of having an event more akin to APE or SPX seems like an important (an necessary) convention that we're currently missing.

.
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Postby Vent on Tue Oct 23, 2007 7:00 pm

I was at armageddon this year, and i have to say, damn you guys don't sell yourselves.

All this whining and bitching that events like armageddon or supanova aren't for the indies and such bullshit. I walked around that con over both days as a buyer and most of you guys were sitting on your arses doing shit all. I only saw a few groups even TRYING to adapt themselves to the family market, and after asking them how business was on the day i got a positive response. Maybe instead of SITTING THERE like you're the shit and WAITING for buyers to come to you some of you should try actual DOING SOMETHING.

As a buyer, i was definately not inspired to even look at half of the artist stalls because they were just sitting there looking at a sketchbook or worse, playing on some game thing.

One group was doing cheap commissions for a few dollars. Their stall was rarely empty.

And perhaps instead of hassling Egofreaky about his con (which LOOKS manga centred mostly because the manga community is actually a COMMUNITY and PUTS IN for this stuff) you could either HELP HIM OUT SINCE HE ALWAYS SEEMS TO NEED IT OR MAKE YOUR OWN ON! This is Egofreaky's time, money, sweat and tears, and none of you children who whine and bitch and never even give him any help at all have the right to criticise him.

If it's so easy, go make your own con!
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Postby rumpusroomie on Tue Oct 23, 2007 7:33 pm

Actually Vent i think the whole point of this discussion was the question of forming a new con.

But you are right, i was totally disappointed at the artists in artists alley's lack of dancing like a monkey for my enjoyment!

Seriously, i think you're coming off as unfair.
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Postby practicecactus on Tue Oct 23, 2007 8:11 pm

Oh Great...now we get those "yeah..why should I buy your comics?" people here on the forum.
God I hate those people at cons.
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Postby David Bird on Tue Oct 23, 2007 8:14 pm

Hi Vent

Since I threw the suggestion of a somewhat differently focussed event into the ring I'll reply to your assertions.

Where am I (or anyone else, for that matter) 'hassling' and 'criticising' Avi about DoujiCon, exactly? Nowhere that I can see. In fact, everyone who attended DoujiCon 1 and 2 (I did), that I've spoken to, has nothing but praise and respect for Avi's efforts on everyone's behalf, and intend to go again.

Did I bag out ARMAGEDDON or Bill? No, I didn't. Bill and his staff have no direct influence on the composition of the public who attend their event. They did a pretty good job.

If by 'doing something' you expect Artist Alley folk to accost people who walk past their tables, or act like carnival barkers or used car salesmen . . . well, I can't see myself doing that.

I think Dave Cunning's suggestion of interested parties having a discussion on this topic at the next monthly meet in Melbourne a good one. And I would love to see Avi there, so people can talk to him, and throw some ideas around.

Oh yes, your reference to 'whining and bitching', I can only think you must be referring to people's ability to make observations. Either that or you must have been at a different event.
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Postby andrew.fulton on Tue Oct 23, 2007 8:54 pm

I went along to armageddon on saturday, pretty much just to check out the "artist's alley". The rest of the nonsense I could hardly care less about. In that respect I was kind of disappointed, just in terms of how few artists were there. The fact that I was at at event that seemed to prioritise fake wrestling kind of depressed me. To dismiss this kind of thinking a bitching and whining is just retarded. These artists deserve to be somewhere where they aren't overshadowed by framed-and-autographed-KISS-photographs and replica swords. It's just two things that seem to occupy the same space through historical accident more than any real connection.
I find myself looking enviously at flickr sets of SPX, MOCCA, Stumptown. I went along to Doujicon too, which was a little closer to the kind of thing I want to see, but which is (whatever the intention) all about the manga kids. There was also that Zine-fair small-publishing-expo thing that was at fed square not too long ago, which had a bunch of comic folk at it. I would be interested to hear about how that went with the people from behind the stalls.
I would love to see something like Doujicon expand into something bigger and better. Surely if it could position itself a little broader and a little 'artsier' there would be some kind of funding it would be able to wangle?
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Postby Vent on Tue Oct 23, 2007 9:11 pm

David Bird wrote:
Where am I (or anyone else, for that matter) 'hassling' and 'criticising' Avi about DoujiCon, exactly?


You obviously missed the part complaining that the very name of Douijicon is manga oriented and thus draws that crowd over one more diverse.

David Bird wrote:Did I bag out ARMAGEDDON or Bill? No, I didn't. Bill and his staff have no direct influence on the composition of the public who attend their event. They did a pretty good job.


I never said you "bagged" Armageddon or Bill. Try reading a little more closely.

David Bird wrote:If by 'doing something' you expect Artist Alley folk to accost people who walk past their tables, or act like carnival barkers or used car salesmen . . . well, I can't see myself doing that.


No one expects artists to attack people to have them buy stuff. I walked up to several tables and didn't get so much as a hello or anything more than a glance. Few spoke to me about their comic (if they had one) and fewer actually sounded enthusiastic about being there. I think you missed the point. There is a middle ground between doing nothing and being annoying.

David Bird wrote:I think Dave Cunning's suggestion of interested parties having a discussion on this topic at the next monthly meet in Melbourne a good one. And I would love to see Avi there, so people can talk to him, and throw some ideas around.


What's the big isue with emailing Egofreaky and discussing it in forum? As far as i have seen from the posts around here, he rarely gets help from this forum in terms of man power.

David Bird wrote:Oh yes, your reference to 'whining and bitching', I can only think you must be referring to people's ability to make observations. Either that or you must have been at a different event.


No one audibly whined or bitched at the event. Just here.

Cactus: i just wanted someone to acknowledge that i was there, browsing their merchandise. I've been a lurker here for a time, and i have bought a lot, but it seems that increasingly many artists aren't willing to sell themselves.

Andrew: i believe part of the problem with the number of artists was the forced choice between Sydney and Melbourne. I've heard a good number stuck with Supanova. Speaking of which, the layout of Armageddon placed artists in a similar situation as Supanova: around the outside perimeter and not as the main focus. Realistically artist's cannot expect prime seating at a non-artist focused event.

The real fact is that Doijicon is about the manga kids because they are the ones who hear about it more easily through their tighter community. I'm sure that if the less manga centred comic artists tried to get the word out better and pulled themselves in to get the numbers, there wouldn't be such an unbalanced attendance. It's about publicity.
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Postby Ive on Tue Oct 23, 2007 9:19 pm

Vent wrote:Speaking of which, the layout of Armageddon placed artists in a similar situation as Supanova: around the outside perimeter and not as the main focus. Realistically artist's cannot expect prime seating at a non-artist focused event.

I don't know about this. At Supernova we were right across from the celebrites in the Sci-Fi channel booth and the row behind us were across from the wrestling which seemed to be a huge focus.
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