After a few years of setting up shop at Ottawa Comic Con I had decided it was time to mix things up and try a new convention. My new challenge? Take on the biggest geek-fest in the Atlantic provinces Hal-Con, which just happens to be located in my home province of Nova Scotia, Canada. The “Hal” part of Hal-Con is a take on the the city I was born in “Halifax”. I planned for a year with the task shrinking my booth to not be as grand(but still cool) being critical, then invested a ton of time to get 3 of my comics published. After teaching a local print company about color calibration, I was armed with the “The Forsaken Future” number one and two and a flip comic of “Gabriel – Hand of God” and “Quint”, To get me to my promised land I rented a Grand Caravan as my trusted warhorse and loaded my gear, and hit the road. The sixteen hour drive from Ottawa, Ontario to Halifax, Nova Scotia went well as we broke the trip up with with what seems to be the most popular stop-over spot of Edmustron, New Brunswick.
I ended up with a great deal on a Hilton Suites & something in Halifax that was blocks away from the Scotiabank Centre, and after transporting my gear. Finally I got to setting up my booth with the help of my sister and nephew…then I noticed something was missing at my booth… The power outlets to plug in the 47 inch TV. I had just lugged cross country with a huge stand. It was the main reason I had drove(16 hours each way) over flying(1.5 hours each way). I had confirmed I as suppose to have power via email multiple times, so I continued to set-up with my side-kicks help(suspecting villainy). Then stalked Hal-con staff and tracked down someone in “charge” (power joke) not it was no it was not Electro!. The all powerful one told me I would have power by the morning and refuted if I will not have power “please let me know so I could remove the TV from being in the way”, as it was tight behind the booth(and I am a heavy weight not a lightweight), I then again was promised I would have it. The morning of the convention came and guess what, I had no power. This was very disappointing as I had put great effort to get the TV to the convention and significant effort in to creating a slide show(that nobody would see). I counted on the TV to create interest. Of course the Hal-con staff member explained they had unexpected issues and then added a Canadian “Sorry” multiple times. All good!
The show must go on and I had a good spot on a corner, which was a bonus. The costumes and cosplay was grand and was comparable, if not better then Ottawa Comic Con and the Staff was amazing(which is due to a good old back home attitude of caring about others). Hal-con staff really shows they care and I have to give them a break(er)(another power pun) on the power. Staff came around asking me if I needed breaks(they were going to watch my booth) and offered water on multiple occasions over the weekend. Vendors also had their own washrooms which is really nice over 20 min in line at Ottawa Comic Con. It was great to have my long-time brother from another mother Doug “Jet Fighter” Allen and my finance stopping in from time to time to keep me company and fueled.
But in the end, the convention was not a success from a business stand point, the cost of not living local was huge, the hotel, car rental, booth cost etc.. On top of the time invested and the sales around 40-50 comics and website statistics were minimal. I expect as Ottawa is a high tech crowd and local, they check out websites more etc. It may have been my fault and be good old marketing related. Hey its off the bucket list and I enjoyed meeting new fans and hope to rethink the costs going forward, I also made a few new contacts, one other independent told me about East Coast Comic Con so guess where I am going in May ;-). I hope Hal-Con is still purring for a long time and it becomes my go-to convention when I retire back home ;-).
Below are some pictures of Hal-con…