Last weekend I was a guest at Anime-Zing in Davenport, IA. It was my first thing in Iowa, and it was a second year show and Russell and I had a fun time.
Russ and I headed out from the burbs on our 3 hour drive across the Mississippi to Davenport. The drive was uneventful and quick, and the weather was perfect for a cross-state trip. The hotel was right next to the Mississippi River and thankfully the weather wasn’t too muggy – although there were a lot of bugs flying about. We arrived at the convention and checked in, then went to the hall to set up.
The guests were all situated against the wall over by the entrance to the dealers room. It was great to see Robert Axelrod (Power Rangers) again, and it was my first time meeting Sonny Strait (Dragon Ball Z) and Johnny Young Bosch (Power Rangers). Eventually all of the guests were invited on the main stage during opening ceremonies, and were officially introduced to the attendees.
Eventually Russ and I left to do our Breaking into Comics panel. The crowd was respectable, and asked great engaging questions. After the panel we went back to the floor and continued to sell our merchandise until the floor closed. After the show ended for the day, we took off to a local pub by the river and had some dinner. After that, Russ took off for the casino and I headed back to the convention for my Evening with Trevor Mueller panel.
The room was full and the audience lively and energetic. Everyone loved the convention stories, the inspirations for the @$$hole! comic, and the various silly things that have happened to me in the professional comic world over the last several years. It was the perfect way to end the first day of the show.
The morning hit and Russ and I took in breakfast at the hotel buffet. The show floor opened at the usual time, but for some reasons the attendees seemed lighter. Perhaps they had seen the floor the day before, perhaps they were attending panels (the day was full of them), or perhaps they were sleeping in later than the usual convention. It necessitated a breather to clear our heads and take in a little of the local flavor. Russ and I closed down the tables around 1pm and headed over to a local sandwich shop called Mojos. The place is part of the River Center Experience Museum and there was a live recital with girls playing piano and singing. The sandwiches were all named after famous singers, and it was exactly what we needed to get the energy level back up.
The rest of the day went by without incident, but was a lot of fun for sure. Russ had a Batman panel in the afternoon, and I eventually left to do my Making Webcomics panel which was well attended. The panel had some great questions and some familiar faces from the previous panels of the weekend – and people who seemed very engaged with the material.
After the panel, Russ and I did a Reading with Pictures panel. Surprisingly the panel was very full. This is surprising because the attendees of the convention felt much younger than some of the other conventions we went to, and there weren’t a lot of teachers or librarians – our primary target audience. However, people were very engaged with the subject and really liked the idea of comics in the classroom. And why wouldn’t they – they were all comic readers, after all.
After the panel Russ and I caught some dinner at the bar and hung out with some of the dealers grabbing drinks and chatting late into the night.
The morning brought hunger and hunger brought the need for food. Wanting to venture out, Russ and I walked around the city only to discover that just about everything is closed on a Sunday. This lead us straight back to the hotel restaurant for breakfast, followed by checking out of the hotel and heading over to the floor for the last day in sales.
Sales were paced much more regular than the previous days, and the attendees seemed interested in anything and everything. Eventually Russ and I packed up and took off, since I had a train to catch and he wanted to see his family. It was father’s day, after all.
All in all, Anime-Zing is a fun young show that was enjoyable to attend and had some great people in attendance. It was an honor to be a guest at the show and I hope to be invited back again next year. As always, it’s the fans that make a show great – and this show certainly has some awesome fans.