It's not me, it's you.

Wizard World Chicago 2014 is over and - despite everything I'm about to write in this post - I had a great time. Any chance to spend time with the indie crew - Z.M., Jon, Leo, Angel, Hoban, Elyse, Kelly, Vanessa, etc. - is a good time. I consider these people family. Extra props go to Hoban and Angel. Hoban kept me liquored up all weekend and Angel for being essentially The Hero of The Weekend. That all being said...

Barring certain changes, I will not be returning to Wizard World Chicago in the future.


I had this long and drawn-out post about how WWC was my first show and blah blah sentimental bullshit blah blah blah, but fuck that. The point is, I'm not doing this show anymore because it's become too damn expensive for both the artists and the con-goers. Simple as that.

I've done this show every year since I've started making comics, and every year the prices to get in either as an artist or a con-goer have steadily increased, but the quality of the show has not. In fact, because ticket prices for the con-goers has gone up, the experience behind an artist table has steadily gotten worse. Time and time again, I've heard some variation of "I wanna get your books, but just getting in the door tapped me out". By charging so much for admission, WWC has essentially turned Artist Alley into a gallery, where con-goers can check out our work, but can't buy anything because just getting inside the show broke them.

Money isn't why I do this. If I was really driven by the desire to get fat-stacks, I wouldn't be making comics. Indie comics aren't the path to financial glory. Hell, kids playing video games on YouTube make more than I do. So no, it's not about money, but there is still a financial goal. Mine is simple; when I pay money to get into a show, I hope to at least make the cost of my table back. That is not happening at WWC shows.

I'm really good at self-loathing. I was built and engineered by the best scientists in the optimal conditions to guarantee that when something doesn't go my way, I immediately assume it's my fault. So when this year and last year's WWC were slower than I'm used to, I instantly concluded that it was because my stuff just wasn't that good. But that doesn't make sense because every show I've done that isn't WWC continues to get better and better. C2E2 2014 was the best show I've ever had - it was "tears of joy" level good. WWC 2014 was the worst show I've ever had, and I've done Anime Central.

So the "WWC sucked because I suck" narrative doesn't work because I do amazingly well at every other show that isn't WWC; and it also doesn't work because it isn't just me that's failing. You see, us artists, we talk. We compare notes and the problems I'm having at WWC seems to be just about universal across all of WWC's artist alley. No one's buying my shit and they're not buying anyone else's shit either. 

I do comic book conventions to get drunk meet readers, catch up with fellow artists, and get my little spooky stories out there in the world. But if the price of admission has made it to where no one can afford to buy my stories, my art, or anyone else's for that matter, I don't see a point in going. So until WWC lowers their price of admission (a drop in price for the artist alley table as well would be nice, but I'm not gonna push it) I can't justify dropping a significant amount of cash for the right to sell my books to people who are already tapped out. And I honestly doubt these changes will ever happen.

In the end, this really isn't a big deal. I'm still gonna do C2E2 every year, and I'm actually working to do a lot more smaller shows like DanCon and Other Worlds in the future, so you'll actually be seeing more of The Simon Corporation, just not at WWC. Consider yourself warned.

-jsb