Long-time comics retailer Mile High Comics has decided not to exhibit at this month's Comic-Con International: San Diego - the first time it's missed the convention since 1972. Owner Chuck Rozanski has been exhibiting at the convention since 1973 - when it was known as San Diego's West Coast Comic Convention - but cites poor foot traffic and poor management by CCI personnel as his reason.
"To answer the numerous questions that we have been receiving of late, for the first time in 44 years, we will not be exhibiting at this year's San Diego Comic-Con," sai Rozanski.
"I wish that this decision could have been otherwise, but circumstances beyond our control made our further participation impossible." Established in 1969 in Colorado Springs, Colorado, Rozanski's Mile High Comics has grown to be a three-store retail chain in the region with a large mail-order and online retail component. Rozanski had spoken out previously about declining sales at SDCC, but continued to exhibit until this year.
"To explain, San Diego has grown far beyond its original premise, morphing from what was originally a wonderful annual gathering of the comics world, into a world-renown pop culture and media festival. As such, it has seen rapidly escalating costs, and also a dramatic change in the demographics of its attendees. Neither of those changes worked to our advantage." According to the popular retailer, in 1973 his one-table booth cost $40 ($229.80 in 2017 money).
In 2016, Mile High Comics had a 70' space, which cost $16,500, and with that price going up to "over $18,000" to return in 2017. That price increase wasn't unteniable on its own according to Rozanski, but declining foot traffic and a changing demographic attending the convention was the straw that broke the camel's back.
"To summarize, we experienced rising costs, while at the same time foot traffic in our booth plummeted. That is never a good combination," said the retailer.
"That having been said, I truly loved the experience of exhibiting at San Diego Con, so I can assure you that I would have ignored those two major obstacles, and still renewed my booth. The final straw, however, was the utter indifference of the San Diego Comic-Con management to the fiasco that we endured at the beginning of last year's show, when the freight handlers that they hired failed to deliver our comics to our booth." Rozanski said that at no time did CCI management contact him or his staff regarding the issues.
"After 44 years of my supporting them through good times and bad, that was just too much indifference to endure," said the retailer. "When you are in a relationship out of love and passion, but the other party could care less whether you live or die, you have to realize that it is time to move on. I will very much miss San Diego, but I doubt if the convention management will even notice that I am gone. Such is life.""