As noted here on Monday, and amplified by Heidi MacDonald, two big indy comics shows, Stumptown Comics Fest (in Portland, Oregon) and the MoCCA Festival (in New York City) are now scheduled for the same weekend, April 28-29, 2012. MoCCA was originally scheduled for April 14-15, and in the letter to exhibitors that MacDonald reproduces at her site, no explanation is given for the change, although it is clear organizers realize that some exhibitors will be inconvenienced by the shift.
I went to MoCCA for the first time this year, and several creators told me they were doing both shows, which were a week apart. I was impressed that they made the effort, but it was clearly worth it to them, so it’s not surprising that there has been some grumbling, and it was nice to see Stumptown organizer Indigo Kelleigh’s gracious response to the conflict:
I just wanted to state for the record, that I know the difficulties in arranging for a venue for an event of this size, and more often than not our own final dates are dictated by the venue’s availability moreso than our desired schedule. I can’t assign any malice to this announcement on the part of the MoCCA organizers, and I hope nobody else does, either.
I do believe that there’s plenty of talent on both coasts, and further that this move will not harm either of the shows in the short term. For a show like Stumptown, which has only seen increased demand year after year, even last year in our move to a much larger exhibit space, I don’t believe this unfortunate scheduling will impact the quality of our Comics Fest in the slightest.
Some of the commenters at The Beat had said more or less the same thing, but it’s good to hear it from a show organizer. (Torsten Adair pointed out that Wizard World Anaheim is also scheduled for that weekend, but no one was complaining about that.) It sounds like the organizers of indy-comics shows already do try to avoid conflicts, but they don’t always succeed. I hope they do next year, because one inevitable result is that the East Coast artists stay on the East Coast and the West Coast artists stay on the West Coast, and everything gets a little bit more boring.