Comic Non-Sans: Katsucon Wrap-Up

Already there’s been a variety of opinion coming in re: how Katsucon’s Artist Alley was handled this year.  I’ve heard positives and negatives and neutrals, but one thing that seems to have calmed down (thank the li’l baby Jesus) is the whole fanart fiasco.  And yes.  It calmed right down after someone stepped up and talked like a normal person about it.

So we’re skipping that.  Because I touched on it last week and it’s handled.

For those who don’t know much about Katsucon in recent years, it’s moved to the spacious Gaylord National Harbor in Maryland.  And when I say “spacious,” I mean the Douglas-Adams-trying-to-describe-space sense.  The National Harbor area itself is like a city center (you know what I mean, there’s gotta be at least two in your town by now) on steroids, with the Gaylord at its apex.  The hotel itself goes up more than a dozen floors, and that’s not counting the Atrium, at the center of which is a town.  No, really.  There are streets and streetlights and a fountain and shops and restaurants.  And the lobby above it looks like something out of a dance number from Annie. The later ones.  And these are the areas where events aren’t held.

I was a bit disconcerted when I was shown that the Artist Alley (henceforth known as AA, despite the misunderstandings that might arise) was actually in the same room as the Dealers’ Room.  That’s just an unpleasant thought.  I don’t like things being lumped together — like, say, game rooms and major event areas.  The whole thing is fraught with peril.

Except remember what I was saying before about “spacious”?  Yeah.  That doesn’t just have to do with the village in the basement.  The area was big enough to warrant having both share the space.  And I wasn’t squished at all; there was elbow room to spare.  A note to the people arranging the tables, though: while I enjoyed being with my webcomic comrades-in-arms, why did you face half of them toward the back wall?  That’s just not friendly.  They worked around that by putting up strategically-placed poster board signs, but that didn’t seem nice at all.  Really, I know that involves sacrificing table space, but no one should have their faces in the corner.

Oh, I mentioned just a minute ago the idea of game rooms and “secondary” main events sharing a space?  That happened, too.  And it worked.  Properly.  There was more than enough room.  Only complaint there being that they needed to establish what walls had entrances/exits and which were just, well, walls.

That was my long-winded way of saying I had no problems with space constraints.  Sales were … okay.  I understand they were about the same for everyone, and even people with their noses to the wall did a bit all right.

If I have a complaint, it’s lack of communication, and that’s been a problem since the day the AA mailing list hit the webs.  I understand it’s a massive convention, but that’s all the more reason for people to take communication well into account.  There were a few crossed wires beforehand with the whole fanart mess, but there were some at the convention, too.  Though that was mainly in the form of staffers taking lunch orders and then coming around later to apologize because vendors weren’t meant to get lunch after all.  Small quibble.

I know full well that people worked hard this year.  And stuff was glitchy, especially if you’re an artist, but it worked out in the end.  I’m glad that a lot of the things that could have caused confusion over the weekend were smoothed out before the con itself.

My notes for next year:

1. Be careful that no one says anything until they’re sure they’re right (this goes for all departments);

2. Try to rearrange vendors and artists in such a way that no one’s got their noses to the wall, if at all possible;

3. Make information on paperwork, legal matters, etc. basic enough that people like me can understand them;

4. There is no note #4.

Other than these things, I was pleased by the con this year.  Many thanks to the people who ran it, cheers to Super Art Fight (whom I had to miss due to table duties, but who I hear did really well), and we’ll, well, see you there next year.  Hopefully once again at the fabulous Gaylord.

Posted on February 22, 2011 at 16:22 by Kara Dennison · Permalink
In: Events · Tagged with: , ,