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Big Vs Small Conventions. What Are The Pros And Cons of Each?

A big argument in the comic book community is which is better when it comes to conventions: are the big time shows where it’s mostly focused on celebrities better than a smaller creator oriented convention? Or is it vice versa? I figured I might as well go over the pros and cons for both types of shows to try to help anybody decide where they want to go.

So let’s start with the bigger conventions. I’m talking about ones like the Wizard Worlds or San Diego Comic Con.

Big Conventions:

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Better Guests:

When it comes to guests, you’ll be able to meet the actor you like from the movie or TV series you really enjoy. This can be a big draw for some people, or even the main reason to attend an event—which is fine. Promoters need to have multiple things to draw in multiple people if they want to put on the best kind of show. You’re also more likely to meet some of the big time creators from some of your favorite comics at these types of shows, as well

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Better Panels

The panels for these bigger shows are normally nicer as well. Since they are held in larger convention centers, they have rooms just for this function. This is better because having the panels separated from the main floor means you don’t have to worry about noise or anything like that ruining your experience while talking to creators or celebrities.

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The Overall Experience Is Wild

Just the experience itself of attending these types of shows can be a lot of fun. A lot of times they are held in major cities. So if you’ve never been there before, not only do you get a good show, but you can take in the culture of wherever the convention is being held. I know from experience this can really enhance your time at a convention. You also get to meet some wild people such as elaborate cosplayers and different artists. If the show’s big enough, it’s almost like going to a whole new country.



The Price

One of the major drawbacks when it comes to these big conventions are the expensive price tags for everything. Not only does it cost more to get into the show, but it also costs a good bit to get photos and autographs from those big-time celebrities or creative people. We’re talking upwards of $200-$500 for a single autograph and picture. This is something you always have to factor in when attending any big convention.


Huge Crowds

A lot of these big conventions draw in bigger crowds. Which is good for the promoter as they need to have a healthy show to be successful, but it can severely cut into your time when it comes to meeting the guests or checking out the vendors. Sometimes it feels like you’re just on a conveyor belt being moved along.


Buying Comics

If your going to a convention to try to find comics you need to fill in the holes in your collection, the bigger shows are probably not the best place to look. You can find plenty of comics from the creators who are there, and a lot of them can be pretty good. But all in all, it’s hard to find any comics at the bigger shows—unless they’re old and super expensive.


Okay, now that we have the bigger conventions covered, let’s move on to the smaller ones.


The Prices

The tickets are normally a lot cheaper when it comes to the smaller conventions. And that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s not as good. I’ve been to some pretty good conventions that have only cost like 10 or 15 dollars to get in—which isn’t bad at all. I had just as much fun as the cons where the tickets go for 50-60 bucks.


Buying Comics

At the smaller conventions you have a better chance of finding vendors actually selling comics—if that’s one of the reasons you are going to a con, you’ll be happy at the smaller shows. Sadly, at least around here, it is becoming more difficult to find comics at any shows, but I think that’s just the direction the conventions are heading in nowadays. But you do have a better chance of actually finding comics you might like at the smaller shows. They still have some resemblance to the older comic con setups of yesteryear where you mainly went to buy comics.

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Really Get A Chance To Interact With Guests

Another nice thing is at these smaller shows you can really spend time with the guests if you’re lucky. I’ve met some pretty famous creators at the smaller shows and have really been able to have a conversation with them or get some artwork from them. And just because it’s a smaller show doesn’t necessarily mean that the guest aren’t as good. 



Crappy Guests

Now on the flip side, depending on the small convention, the guests might not always be the best. I personally haven’t had this experience, but it is definitely something that can occur. The same things can be said for the big shows, as well. It all just depends on the convention coordinators and the amount of cancellations. 


Not Much To Look At

Sometimes there’s not as much stuff to look at when it comes to the smaller conventions. A lot of times they’re held in smaller venues, so there’s not as much room to have different vendors or creators setup. The smallest ones you can see everything there is in a couple of laps around the floor. Not fun.


Too Many Junk Vendors

To add on top of the small venue, some of that much-needed space can be taken up with knickknacks, aka junk vendors. I don’t like to begrudge anybody when it comes to what they try to do for a living, but I mean come on. Do you really need somebody trying to sell jewelry or little trinkets at a comic book convention? It takes up valuable space that can be used for a creator. Of course, I’m sure the people running the show are just trying to fill the place with whoever is willing to pay for a booth. But it sure does suck when half the vendors are selling crap.


I hope this article helps you decide on what kind of convention to go to. Me, personally, thinks if you’re able to swing it, try to do both every once in a while. You can get some pretty good experiences out of both types of shows. And as always, if you think of something I might have missed for either one of these entries, let us know in the comments section. Thank for reading!

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