Citing problems with their hotel and exhibiting locations as well as a market that doesn’t support comics-only shows, the Detroit Fanfare convention has cancelled plans for its February show and subsequent conventions.
The show made the announcement via its Facebook page where after explaining that after two hotels it had planned on setting up at changed hands to difficult effect, they also realized that their mission statement of being a comics-focused con was increasingly impractical in a crowded convention calendar.
“Detroit Fanfare has prided itself on being a convention for artists and fans of comic books over celebrities but in evaluating support and attendance, a large convention cannot remain centered on comics as the primary focus,” the organizers wrote. “Due to the enormous work and costs involved be the principles to put on the convention and the obvious fan preference for the larger, pop culture shows, it was determined that the role of a convention such as Fanfare had a diminished appeal especially in light of all the recent additions to the convention circuit.”
On his personal blog, show co-organizer and comics publisher Gary Reed added, “Although the show had some problems, as they all do, overall the response to Fanfare was extremely positive and I have to say it was probably the most enjoyable show to go to as a creator and/or fan. It was structured primarily around comics and artists as even the celebrities were tied into comics in some way…So, why is it ending? Well, it started off as something that might be able to continue even with lowered expectations but frankly, it just became too much work.”
Detroit Fanfare started in 2010 as a spiritual successor to more classic Detroit cons from the mid-60s on. The first year kicked off with Stan Lee as a high profile guest of honor and grew to include the Shel Dorf Awards – a comics honor named after the Detroit native who went on to co-found San Diego Comic-Con. The convention started a Kickstarter this year to gain more funding, but that campaign was shuttered before completing its funding period. On their Facebook page, the organizers promised a future home for the Dorf Awards would be announced at a later date.
Fans in the Detroit area have the long-running (and more widely media focused) Motor City Comic Con as well as several other small shows to lean back on. However, the close of Fanfare will doubtlessly stoke ongoing discussions about the shape and focus of the many conventions vying for attention in the current marketplace.
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