Indiana Comic Con 2016

Indiana Comic Con is the big annual comic convention that's put on in downtown Indianapolis by the same people who put on Tampa Bay Comic Con. In past years it was held in mid-March, but this year the promoters must've wanted to get it away from the Big Ten basketball tournament, because it had moved to April 29 to May 1, 2016.

Because it's right in our hometown, we don't have lengthy drives or hotel stays. We could fill the whole van with merchandise and not have to worry about leaving room for our personal belongings. We even put merchandise in the car, since my brother-in-law was helping us and could drive it in.

Some friends were also helping us, but they were running behind. They'd thought they could recruit some additional people, but had underestimated how quickly their friends' schedules would fill up and that fell through. So we had to load in and set up as best we could with the people we had.

As a result, we weren't quite finished setting up when the exhibit hall closed for the night and we had to head back home. I tried to get some work done on my writing, and to have as much as possible prepared to go the next morning.

On Friday we got up way too early so we could get in as soon as the doors opened at the convention center. I dropped my menfolk off and parked the car, then hiked back to the convention center. With a major push, we actually managed to have everything set up. Assembling the grab bags took longer than I'd anticipated, and it made me wonder whether I would've been better off setting them up ahead of time, even if it did consume more space in a vehicle.

When the doors finally opened, we had slow but steady sales. We even had a few sales right away, but we never had a true flood of customers.

On the other hand, we had customers still buying after they closed the doors. As a result of having to hurry to get our store closed for the night, I nearly left the iPad Pro on a chair. I realized I'd never repacked it as we were walking out the door, but when I went back to our setup, I couldn't see it. I finally had to use the "make sound" function on the Find iPhone app on my phone, at which point it became embarrassingly obvious.

We had supper at Steak 'n Shake before heading home. There we found a huge package of fox tails on the doorstep waiting for us. I quickly inventoried them, then ran up to our storage unit to retrieve some Hallmark ornaments to restock. I also began a new order with one of our wholesalers before turning in for the night.

On Saturday we had to get up way too early again, since they'd decided to open the doors at 8AM like they do at Tampa Bay Comic Con. In Tampa in August it makes sense, since they don't want people getting heat stroke standing out on that open plaza waiting for the doors to open. But in Indianapolis in April there's no such pressure to get people indoors, since it's neither brutally hot nor bitterly cold.

At least we were getting a reasonable level of sales, and we finally started selling the grab bags, if not at the level I'd been hoping for. I know we were having trouble with people wanting to peek inside and see what they would be getting, and we didn't have a lot of ways to curb it. We also sold a lot of our Asian cultural stuff, since there's a fairly strong crossover with the otaku community. But even with the good sales, I was crushingly tired, although I did feel better once I was able to get some real food in me.

After the dealers' room closed, I retrieved the car from the parking lot and we went up to the Chinese buffet for supper. I was going to pick up Hallmark ornaments from the storage unit, but as we were coming back on 38th Street, I saw a whole bunch of cop cars blocking it off at Franklin Road. I thought that someone must've tried to knock over the convenience store on the corner, but when we got back home and I visited some of the local news outlets' websites, I discovered that someone had tried to run over a cop in what had started as a routine traffic stop.

On Sunday we got up and hurried downtown for our last day of Indiana Comic Con. Since we were loading out and couldn't risk not being able to fit everything back in the van, we had to take both vehicles downtown.

Sales started slow, but as time went by they picked up. We had some interesting moments when both of our chip readers stopped working on us. It turned out that their batteries had gone dead on us, and one of our friends let us recharge one from his computer while I recharged the other from a battery pack. So we were able to keep on running credit cards.

As the afternoon wore on, we started packing up some of the merchandise that wasn't selling. Once it was time to close, we packed the rest of the merchandise and I went back to the parking lot to retrieve the van. I did not like the look of the sky, and I knew the forecast for the evening was not good.

Once I got back, I had to get the packing process finished, including breaking down the big steel gridwall. Then I carried the t-shirt boxes out just so that I could get a clearer idea of what we were looking at.

As the process progressed, the dark clouds to the west kept moving in. Soon I was able to see flashes of lightning in them, and then the drops of rain started to fall. I had to keep the merchandise tarped, which was not easy with the wind.

I was just loading the last cart and getting ready to finish when the dockmaster told us all to lock our vehicles because they were going to have to close the loading dock until the storm blew through. Then the storm sirens started blowing and they herded us into the conference rooms along the big concourse from the exhibit hall. There we sat in unease and watched the radar screens on the iOS devices as the storm system moved through.

Finally they declared an all-clear. In order to get us out more quickly, they let us drive our vehicles right onto the floor and load straight in. It made things easier, since we didn't have to worry about keeping merchandise dry.

But it was still so late that by the time we got back home and over to Steak 'n Shake for supper, it was past midnight. We grabbed a quick burger, then headed home for bed.

Copyright 2017 by Leigh Kimmel

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Last updated December 23, 2017.