Supanova Adelaide, 2 November 2019
Recently the organisers of Supanova posted on Facebook about the Adelaide event and how falling attendance levels have forced them to rethink their long term commitment to the city of Adelaide and placing the onus on the future of the show squarely on the public. As usual, I went yesterday and, frankly, I was a bit taken aback. Here's what I've noted, for whatever value it's worth.
1] The whole show was poorly laid out, a first for me. It seemed to arranged at random and looked smaller than usual. That might have something to do with...
2] The lack of comic book dealers. I counted two (might have been three?) dealers selling comic books. Bear in mind this event is billed as being a ComicCon and Gaming show, so the very nature of the name says Comic Books will be there. They weren't. None of the Adelaide comic shops, or book shops were in attendance. I know full well there's a story there, but I'll let those people leave a comment if they so desire.
3] No programme. All that was handed out was a map of the venue. In the past we've gotten a programme and a little goodie bag with vouchers and advertising blurb. This year? Nada. I'm not whinging because I miss the vouchers, in fact I rarely used them, but people appreciate these little touches and when they vanish, when the official merchandise begins to disappear, you know what's coming.
4] One international artist in the form of Eric Powell. God love Eric, he and his wife are amazing and incredibly friendly, but it fell to him to do all the heavy lifting. The other artists were a mix of professionals (Dean Rankine, Andrew Constant, Jon Sommariva - and they're all amazing and you should check them out, meet them and say hello) and the rest were indy press or fanzine - not that there's anything wrong with that.
The artists alley even had people flogging off products for pets! Not that there's anything wrong with that either, but, Jesus, it's Australia! I can think, off the top of my head, of dozens of artists and writers that could be tapped to appear who are largely ignored by the organisers.
The reasons for Australian artists being ignored are many and varied. Some are ignored due to person conflicts, some are ignored due to affiliations. This country has so much talent that we should be able to replace the people doing prints of other peoples art in Photoshop and start looking at those who create original works. One massive missed opportunity was a Phantom forum. Billy Zane was here, so where were the Phantom artists and publisher? Where was Frew? Where were all the Aussies who work on The Phantom, the writers and artists?
Sitting at home. Some have been tapped for the Brisbane show, which just shows where the future lies.
In previous years we've been blessed by some amazing overseas artists. Dave Gibbons, Arthur Adams, Bob Layton, Joe Jusko and many, many more. Usually there have been at least three, if not four, at any given event. No longer.
5] The signings, well we only there for Billy Zane. Next time perhaps Billy should finish his bagel and stop fucking around with his Bluetooth speaker and phone before coming out to grunt at people and randomly sign stuff. I'm hoping we caught him on a bad day, but quite a few people walked off saying, "What the fuck was that all about?"
I did notice that Sean Patrick Flannery was busily posing for his own amusement (you can't take photos) while signing. Others, such as Deborah Ann Woll, were largely sitting there ignored, but smiled and chatted with the few people who came to see them. Perhaps if people knew who they were they might be a bit more interested. Perhaps some form of a programme with bios in it?
Yeah, I know. If it sounds like I'm bagging the event, well I don't want to. I've had some amazing experiences at Supanova and I don't want it to leave, but the organisers, well, for all their bluster and talks about wanting to hear how to improve the event, such screeds as this (and others, from professionals and retailers) are falling on ever increasingly deaf ears.
If the organisers of Supanova really want an excuse to get out of Adelaide and only have conventions in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane, after yesterday, it appears they have it. If this is how it's going to be run, I can't see it being brought back. Yesterday was a stark contrast to years gone past. I remember going to the Sydney event a few years back and being stuffed trying to just walk around and see things. Adelaide? They don't want to be here. The show has been dying, slowly, and it now appears on it's last leg.
I'll predict that, if there is an Adelaide event in 2020, it will be the last, the way things are going. But I'm not expecting an Adelaide Supanova in 2020.
Oh, and Glenn Ford and Glenn Lumsden? Your Phantom comic was thrown on a table where you buy tokens for signatures. No mention of the comic at all, no advertising, nothing. People had to find them on their own and once they did, most thought they were freebies and were a bit put out by being told they'd have to pay to take them. But then there were only a handful left - at 1.pm on Saturday. And all were pawed through and crumbled.
It summed up the show for me. Quite sad really.