It’s good to be back on the Blotter. It will be a little different this time, though, because we are the news for once!
I’ll begin at the beginning. My buddy Sri and I, computer gadgets dangling from our arms, walked into the Philadelphia Convention Center, more nervous than excited. Neither of us had been to a major comic book convention since 1993, and that one was for pleasure. This one? Well, we were tired, we were running a little late, and we weren’t sure that the computers we brought would be performing the task we needed: Show the Philadelphia comics community Sequart.com (we were worried because we were up until 3am the night before setting it up on Sri’s hard drive).
The only major setback occured in that first hour. My computer didn’t even power up. Sri, a computer wizard, was unable to do anything about it. It was a shock that wore off quickly, though, as droves of people started passing us by without even one computer on. The droves of people were here to buy Heroclix (and the like) from an exhibitor called Wizkids and we were set up directly across from it. I told Sri to forget about my computer and just set up his, that everything would still work out…and it did. Our primo location assured that we’d be seen by at least 10 people at all times over the next three days (there were a few times when there was a line of 100 people all with in sight of our table)! The constant traffic that Wizkids generated more than made up for my horrible computer.
Now that we were set up, Sri went to take a look around and I was able to dive in and promote the shit out of Sequart.com. People would walk up and say, “What are you?” or “What are you selling?” to which I would promply reply, “Well, were trying to create an online museum for comics…a Smithsonian for comic books, if you will.” That really made people interested. “How much does it cost?” they would say. “It’s completely free…we do this for the love of it.” They liked that.
Sri returned with a report: “Did you know the Beastmaster’s here?” We had a laugh about that one. A couple of Kodo and Podo jokes never hurt anyone. The guys who played R2-D2 and Chewie were there signing along with a couple WWF alumni and, of course, what convention would be complete without Lou Ferrigno. Speaking of famous people, at the end of the first day I was packing up some stuff to leave and turned around to see Seth (Scott!) Green standing next to me. I was about to say hello, not because I need to speak to celebrities, but because my mind registered him as someone I knew and should say hello to because it is nice to do. Then I realized that I don’t know him and he doesn’t know me, so I kind of half-mumbled the hello, trying actually to hold it in. My mind almost convinced me that I should say hello to an old acquaintance. Now I see how a stalker’s brain can diminish the line between Hollywood and reality. It was a surreal moment.
On the second day, our Sequart.com banner arrived and I brought my guitar. These two things made Saturday a great day. I played my guitar as loud as an acoustic could be in the white noise of the convention center floor. When people heard my mediocre playing they would look in my direction and check out our banner. Stepping a little closer, they would say, “For the sophisticated study of comic books?” and that’s all they needed to see. They were hooked. It led to many great conversations with many people who wanted to help the site in some way, leaving their card or email along with promises to contribute and I believed every one of them because I could see in their faces how impressed they were with what we’ve accomplished here.
The rest of the convention went this way and I loved every minute of it. At one point, my girlfriend showed up to give her support to the cause. Now, she doesn’t like comics, but she saw me explain the website to a comic book fan, and then another and another and she saw some of their faces light up at the prospect of what this website could do. Their excited interest sparked an expression on her face. She’ll deny it now but she looked impressed by the reactions the site was causing. It was pretty cool to see a non-comics fan show some respect to Sequart.com.
All in all, I had a great time, met some cool people and am convinced that we got the word out to many comics junkies. At the end of the third day I had handed out 300 business cards and that’s great considering how half-assed Sri and I had started the weekend.
Julian and I plan on attending a larger convention next year to continue Sequart.com’s journey to critical mass. Hope to see you on the way.