The Big Room, originally uploaded by Mr Kevino
Everyone knows that I started planning a comics show in 2009 which eventually became the first annual Minneapolis Indie Xpo. What you may not know is that this almost didn't happen. When I was still in the early planning stages, I spoke with a gentleman who tried to convince me to do something else entirely.
When I asked artists at FallCon 2009 how they felt about a new local show, the same name came up a few times of a guy who supposedly was doing something similar (name removed to protect the innocent). When I reached out to him, he responded that he had formed a planning committee for his own show, which was scheduled around the same time we wanted to do ours. I didn't want to step on any toes or duplicate work that had already been done so I decided to sit down with him and see if it made sense to join forces.
I met with him in a coffee shop where he laid out his plans for this grand event, listing all the famous artists who were definitely going to be there, and claiming that the heavy lifting was already done. Partly this made me wonder what he needed me for. But also I realized that he had outlined a philosophically opposite approach than I was taking. The plan for their show (compared to MIX) was:
- Three days (vs. one)
- Three tracks of programming (vs. workshops and one room for discussions)
- About $40 for shoppers to attend the full weekend (vs. free)
- Suburban hotel conference room space (vs. downtown art gallery)
- Paying to bring in national talent (vs. growing organically)
- Focus on webcomics and podcasts (vs. local and print artists)
I had to chuckle a bit as this "sure thing" apparently fell through and taking a chance on building something new paid off. Then again, that's the story of my life. By the way, the show where I got this guy's name was the same place I met Sarah, who was the key to the success of MIX. And considering such a diametrically opposed approach helped to emphasize the validity and necessity of doing something different. Everything happens for a reason!