Comic-Con is known for the crazy costumes and endless lists of celebrity appearances, but let’s not forget why it started.
The mission statement of Comic-Con International: San Diego, according to the event’s Website, is to create “awareness of, and appreciation for, comics and related popular art forms, primarily through the presentation of conventions and events that celebrate the historic and ongoing contribution of comics to art and culture.”
If you are one of the fortunate thousands to have snagged passes this year, you will likely be walking through mazes of booths on the convention floor, varying from major production companies to your local bookstore down the corner of Clairemont Mesa Boulevard.
Mysterious Galaxy is one of the local businesses that you will find on the convention floor this year, but it’s not your typical bookstore -- they specialize in independent genres with a particular focus on science fiction, suspense, fantasy, mystery and horror.
They have been exhibiting at Comic-Con for more than 20 years.
“Comic-Con gives us exposure of course,” said Maryelizabeth Hart, publicity manager for Mysterious Galaxy. “Not only is it a great event for book sales in and of itself, but it’s also an opportunity for people who love these kinds of books to discover our business.”
This year, the local bookstore will be providing books for about 150 authors that will be attending Comic-Con, and according to Hart, the store may be selling books at as many as eight different places at any given time during the convention.
Comic-Con has led Mysterious Galaxy to opportunities in other conventions, including Wonder-Con in Anaheim and Long Beach Comic-Con. “It raised awareness with the organizations of our ability to be book sellers and support celebrities and authors appearing at the convention,” Hart said.
How do you get a booth at Comic-Con?
Simply download the application available on the Comic-Con Website, have a California State Sellers Permit and be ready to fork over some dough, although it may be comparable to most major conventions - the price varies between $400 and $2,600, according to the exhibitor’s application form.
However, Hart does note that there is a limited amount of space and priority is given to returning vendors.
“If someone is interested in exhibiting they should take the ‘nothing ventured, nothing gained’ approach,” she said. “Putting in an application to Comic-Con will not guarantee that you are able to exhibit, but if you don’t apply then clearly you won’t exhibit.”
“If you think you have a product, you think there’s an audience for it at Comic-Con you should visit and start the process. Everybody was a first time vendor their first year."
Meanwhile, Mysterious Galaxy has been preparing for Comic-Con during the last week investing in staff and inventory to manage the move to the San Diego Convention Center for the next few days. In the gallery above you can see how their set-up process has been during these last few days up until the first day of the convention.