As connoisseurs of Geek/Nerd/Pop Culture goodness, Matt and I make it a point to attend Comic-Con and other conventions like it whenever we can work them into our schedule. “Cons” are essentially expos featuring pop culture and entertainment across a number of genres, including comics, anime, horror, film, video games, fantasy novels, and more.
We love these events and go out of our way to attend, not just to have fun and hang out with like-minded folks of all ages, but for business reasons as well:
- We love the pop culture/geek culture world – movie nerds, superheroes, horror stuff, zombies, amazing art, and wonderful crafts, not to mention the excellent people-watching opportunities.
- We get to meet celebrities and get our picture with them if we want to! (though you do have to pay for it).
- We chat up the vendors to find out who could use our business services. Because we do business and make connections there, our admission, parking, and mileage are tax deductible.
- Best of all, we get to meet a lot of really cool and amazing people!
Hollywood Joe of Hollywood Joe’s Memorabilia – The conversation starter with Joe was the large framed Star Trek: The Original Series print hanging front and center in his double-wide stall, priced at $4000. What made this print so valuable? It pictured all the principal members of the original cast along with every one of their autographs!
I had a conversation with Joe about his business, and like many of the other vendors, he basically lives on the road in his RV. He started out as a collector in Hollywood and eventually accumulated so much memorabilia that his house couldn’t hold it all. Eventually he bagged the house and took his show on the road. His business is now so big that he hires people to collect autographs for him. Joe confided that he has only one piece that he’ll never sell – a rare autographed print of Humphrey Bogart.
Another vendor that we enjoyed talking with was Lindsay, proprietor of The Elven Caravan. Lindsay and her charming sidekick, Dave, have a booming business making elf ears! Apparently, there is quite a market for them. They make extremely lifelike pointed ears, not just for elves, but also for faeries, hobbits, pixies, and fauns, to name a few. Lindsay is another road warrior who travels all over the country to different venues like conventions, Renaissance Faires, and anime festivals.
We also chatted with Pat Olliffe (whose dad happens to be a friend and client). Pat has been a player in the comics world for over 25 years, drawing legendary characters like Spider-Man, Captain Marvel, Thor, and many others. He’s worked for some of the biggest names in the business, including Marvel , DC, Dark Horse, and Disney. He told us about how times have changed since he got his start, and how publishers no longer hire staff artists. Everything’s done on a short-term contract basis, so even well-known artists and illustrators work the convention circuit as an additional income stream.
I love going to events like Comic-Con and meeting cool people who have found unconventional ways of making a living doing what they love. And it’s always good to have a source if you should happen to need a pair of elf ears.