An Interview with Gem City Comic Con Promoter Jess Noble
I recently got a chance to do a quick interview with Jess Noble of Gem City Comic Con (GCCC). We talked about the show and a little about comics. Gem City Comic Con this is Sunday, April 3, at the Wright State Student Union in Dayton, Ohio from 10am to 5 pm. Check out the website for the list of guests, games, panels, directions, and other stuff for the con. While at the con, Comic City Conventions is giving away buy one get one free passes.
Nicholas Anderson: Please introduce yourself and your connection with GCCC.
Jess Noble: I am Jess Noble. I am the promoter of the Gem City Comic Con. I am really low key so I like to dodge any real recognition.
NA: And that’s why you’re doing an interview on a popular blog about cons.
JN: Just don’t run my picture
NA: How did GCCC start?
JN: I have been asked this question a lot. The easy answer is I thought I could make a little money in the spring for summer vacations by promoting a little show. I’ll let you know when I make that little money.
NA: Well maybe by time you retire. How has it grown and what have been some highlights of the show?
JN: Our growth has been real exciting. Our attendance has been on a steady incline. We are attracting dealers, exhibitors and attendees from further and further away. The last three years our hotel block sells out. I am not saying that comics or the show are recession proof. We have had to change some of the marketing to meet people’s budget. People are always looking for ways to stretch their entertainment budget in terms on dollars and in terms of time. We try to fulfill that by packing a two day show into one day at a one day price.
This is our 6th year so in terms of highlights there are a lot. All of our guests have all been great. Watching some of our exhibitors move from talented hobbyists to industry professionals has been great. I am not taking any credit other than being witness to their hard work and dedication. They are inspiring. As I travel around the country doing other comic shows I am always amazed that people know the GCCC by reputation. I was in a shop in Boston and they knew the show. They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, so to that end since we started this show 6 years ago a ton of other events have used our model low cost, comic centered and great guests. So that is a big highlight.
NA: Do you have any thoughts on the way some cons (say like Wizard World and the like) seem to not really be ‘comic cons’ not really doing a lot in the comic section or do you see that differently?
JN: Those other show that you are talking about are POP CULTURE shows. Calling it a comic con does not make it true. I get that promoting a show that big requires making the appeal as wide as possible. And that is fine for them… but that is not what we are doing. We aspire to become a top billing comic show. Not a media guest or auto-graph show but a true COMIC CON.
NA: Do you guys do anything special or something to differentiate yourself from other cons?
JN: We don’t do different or gimmicky promotion. We give the dealers, guests and attendees what they expect and we do it well. That is the difference.
NA: What do you have planned for this year?
JN: Let me give you the quick run down! JOE JUSKO, BOB MCLEOD, RODNEY RAMOS, DAVE AIKINS, DAN DAVIS, ANDY BENNETT, SEAN FORNEY… If you are looking for art you are in the right place! I want to draw special attention to a new face in the hall today, Nate Lovett. His art graces the cover of our program and posters. Maybe your tastes turn more to the written word on the page. Don’t worry I remembered you, legendary scribe STEVE ENGLEHART is here and Dara Narghi is here.
I want to talk to you about the Artist Alley. We are so please to present to you a larger and more exciting Artist Alley. This is the creative epicenter of the Gem City Comic Con. Here creators are telling stories that can’t be told anywhere else!
And our Gaming tournaments I don’t have the details just yet but if years past are any indicator the tourney will be hot!
NA: Any plans or dreams for the future of the con?
It is hard to say right now. I have a plan for this year and I am focused on executing it. Next year… who knows.
NA: Besides GCCC what are some of your other favorite cons and do you go to others beside comic cons?
JN: There are a ton of great shows. Some shows are great for different reasons. Some shows are good for buyer others for selling, others for parties. For all around good time..
I like “Heroes” in Charlotte, NC. Sheldon Drum has worked years making that show awesome. When you see him he looks as cool and relaxed as if he is just there as a ticket taker.
NA: What are your all time favorite comics?
JN: My taste is wide… Spider-Man, Bat-man, Love and Rockets, Box Office Poison, Queen and Country, Stray Bullets, Alan Moore, Strangers in Paradise, BONE. I am a comic reader who loves the story and can appreciate the art.
NA: DC or Marvel?
JN: To look at my pull list… Marvel.
NA: Before we end this, I saw a video promoting the con with a talk baby. Yeah who’s idea was that?
JN: Justin Wasson gets all the credit. He has made all of our trailers for the last two years. They are incredible and very popular with our fans. Justin will be at the GCCC in our Skylight lobby!
NA: Thank you for your time and I hope to see you at the show.
JN: No problem and I’ll see you there.