Exclusive: Interview with the Man Behind MightyCon, Bill Cody
MightyCon is officially upon us. And, as we at SocialTechPop are regular convention junkies, we are more than excited for a fresh take on the comic convention. With that being said, I had the pleasure to sit down with Bill Cody, the man behind MightyCon.
Q: How long has MightyCon been holding shows? Give me some history.
A: We actually started last August with smaller one day shows in the Chicago suburbs. The idea was to build up our mailing list and get the brand out there as we led up to the larger weekend long show. Plus we got to bring some great local shows out to people who otherwise generally didn't get to attend comic conventions, since even most local smaller shows are generally closer to the city.
Q: As a "start-up" show, what are your expectations on attendance, sales?
A: That's a tough one, because not only is this the first big show here, but we're taking a rather new approach to shows, we've been aggressive with advertising and especially aggressive with our online presence. We're hoping to get a few thousand people to come on out and enjoy the weekend with us, and pre-sales on tickets have been surprisingly strong. Our whole goal was to offer a large sized convention at a price that allowed casual fans and families to attend, and I think we've managed to do that.
Q: You have quite the guest list. What was your selection process for guests...?
A: We actually did try for some of the killer stars like Stan Lee and Bruce Campbell, but unfortunately it just wouldn't have been possible to get them and keep our prices as low as they are. As our planning periods get farther and farther out and we start scheduling shows more than a year in advance, we hope to be able to bring out even bigger names but still try to keep it so that we can offer fans a show with free parking and low weekend admission.
Q: Tell me about the Ninja Turtle Fest.
A: This was a great idea brought to us by one of our vendors, Formula 350, to get together some vendors, artists, and writers to celebrate the ninja turtles. As I did the research, I was amazed that there's not really any big celebrations like this out there. I grew up with the turtles, and had every single toy (many of which I'm thinking I just might re-aquire this weekend). We've got vendors with Turtle t-shirts, pins, and of course virtually every turtle toy you could want. The artist RAK is creating a limited edition TMNT print, we've got a TMNT trivia contest on Saturday, and of course TMNT writer and artist Gary Carlson and Frank Fosco will be there signing autographs.
Q: Goals for the show, long term, future, growth?
A: Well, we're certainly hoping! This all really started when we noticed that there's no big traveling brands for comic book conventions other than Wizard World, and their shows have gotten extremely expensive for new vendors and fans to attend. Our goal is to have both the big weekend long shows like this one, as well as the small one day shows to make sure that fans of all kinds can come and find that one issue they need to locate.
Q: Are you trying to establish yourself as a show outside of Chicago?
A: We sure are! Our next Milwaukee show is July 7th (that's just a few weeks away people!) at Papa Luigi's II in South Milwaukee. We plan on having shows every couple of months up there until next Spring or Summer until we can bring a big weekend long show back to Milwaukee. After that, we've got our sites set on other Midwest cities, and after that? Well, the sky is the limit!
Q: Tell me about yourself, background, etc.
A: Ah, bio time! Well, I started collecting comics back in the early 90s, and still have the very first comic I ever bought up on my wall (Ghost Rider 26, got it signed by Stan Lee last year, still remember the 7-11 I bought it at). I collected more and more over the years, until I decided to try my hand at selling them. After a while of selling comics, I noticed that the pickings were a bit slim as far as shows go, and there's nothing quite like going to a comic show. So, last year I finally got one together and we've been rolling ever since. I've got a background in marketing, specifically digital advertising, so we've been extremely aggressive online (our Facebook page, Do You Like Comics, currently has over 12K fans).
As far as comics go, I'm a Marvel fan at heart, following anything cosmic related (I have a sizable collection of graded Fantastic Four 67s, the first appearance of Adam Warlock). And in my spare time, I'm married with two giant dogs who need my constant attention, and love grabbing a comfy spot on the couch at night with a stack of old Wolverine's or Amazing Spiderman's to flip through.
So there you have it. A new comic convention that promises to be amazing, and best of all, is outside of Chicago. We can't wait for the Turtle Fest, The Hammer, Z'Dar....and, well everything!