Con Men

Chris and Walt spend some time reminiscing about comic book conventions though their intended ode to all things good about cons gets off to an unintended rocky start.

Lets hope comic cons come back soon.

As always please let us know what you thought of the show and by all means please share a funny con story of your own.

Walter Durajlija
Walter Durajlija

Walter Durajlija is an Overstreet Advisor and Shuster Award winner. He owns Big B Comics in Hamilton Ontario.

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  1. Super reminiscences of former cons! I am not a big con attender… I do regret that I never went to San Diego back in the 80’s when I lived in California…but I did go the New York some 17 years ago when you could still get a ticket at the door! I remember trying to get a Worlds of Fear 10 from Metropolis but they were asking more then I was willing to pay ( I eventually got one at half the price in similar condition on eBay). I had friends who lived in the city and made a few days of it going to art galleries as well. Mostly I have gone to small cons in both New York and California. Walt… Longfellow… really? It should have been Moby Dick! Anyway, I hope eventually I will be able to travel to Canada again and actually meet you ‘characters’ at a con of some sort one day! Keep up the good work and am loving the return of Comic Culture!

  2. Terrific show.

    Re the joke, at least you didn’t pull out the Giant-Size Man Thing again. You’ve abused that too many times, it is really quite limp at this point.

    I think Chris hit on the key point about cons when he said of course he would go, and of course he would complain about it after. As marketers and pollsters say, asking people what they like or why they do what they do will never get you the real answer. We think we go to fill our wish lists, get a piece of art, find a deal – but that’s not really why. The real reason is the people and the experience of being with all those people who love the same thing. You’re not going to put yourself through all this discomfort just to find a couple of comics you don’t have or save a few bucks on a find. I think the same holds in spades from the dealer side. You’re really doing it because the experience, for better or worse, is going to be time well spent in the course of your life. _And_ you will get a bunch of good crazy stories to tell to boot.

    Just like the bigger question for the hobby in general, what I wonder about is whether the next generation of dealers who love that atmosphere is materializing. I think there are hopeful signs, but at this point most of the guys setting up seem to be in their fifties and beyond. A good bit of this might just be about money – clearly these days it takes some deep pockets to attend the bigger shows, and a bunch of these older dealers seem to have those pockets. (I wonder about the bigger dealers’ financing, but that question is for another time.) Even if younger guys want to attend, being shut out for years at this point could lead to a permanent loss of interest in cons. Another reason to support the smaller one-day shows, where these younger guys can set up and get all this into their blood.

    As a big aside, I got majorly distracted by Jabrone Comics. (That’s my preferred spelling, but there are a lot of other possibilities apparently.) I did some googling of this term and there are a lot of pages arguing the origin is in professional wrestling, but that is clearly wrong – my mother used to call people “jabrones”. It apparently goes back to the 1920s referring to Italian immigrants, even though I saw comments from Italians today saying it has nothing to do with Italian. Here is the most authoritative explanation I’ve found:

    Maybe not a distraction – a big part of the romance of cons is in the jabrones.

  3. Gerald, I was on the clock and that’s all I could come up with, and Chris is right, at least I didn’t go to the Giant Size Man Thing again, Chris Owen is tired of it already.

    Meli, you hit a few topics worth talking more about, the next generation of Con Men, dealer financing and Jabrones in general. More to come.

  4. Chris M…. yes… the feel of going to a show is just as much of the experience as getting a deal or even seeing a comic you have wanted! I really need to go to more shows when and if they transpire! If I wasn’t so timid when I go I suppose it would be a greater experience… not that I am timid… but when your not in command of your element it can be overwhelming!

  5. Gerald, love the idea of all of us guys getting together at a show or somewhere and have some club soda.
    Chris M., I completely agree that these smaller shows can be used to get the newer folks more involved in the hobby and have some fun experiences.

  6. Great commentary and thoughtfulness Chris Meli!

    I’ve tried some of the newer methods that the younger generation of dealer use: Invitation only Facebook groups with long auctions and Instagram live auctions…very interesting to watch the dynamic play out, young guys spruiking ‘major key’ books and variant covers and ‘super hot slabs’…so much of it resembles wall street hot houses trying to push penny dreadful stocks!!!

    Like the majority of social media the ‘social’ part is illusional, at the end of the day you’re still just sitting at home listening to people successfully over-inflate comic books in a booming market. The human connection is a facade.

    Not like here…here when Walt describes asking for his longfellow to get signed I can almost see the look of appreciation in the ‘actress’s’ eyes as the felt pen approaches his prized possession.

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