Sunday, December 27, 2009

Steel City Con December 2009

Steel City Con returned to Monroeville, PA in style with it's debut at the newly christened Monroeville Convention Center. Reminiscent of the old Expomart extravaganzas, December 2009 was a sold out show with toys sometimes stacked fifteen feet high, and a "capacity crowd" (Why quotes? More on that later -J) clamoring for for a great guest list. I had as much fun as ever, but for whatever reason, I heard more dealer bitching this year than ever before.

More so than usual, I labored to hawk my collection of Japanese toys and comics, although I did have a few key sales which would allow me to pony up for more Micronauts and Shogun Warriors. My display gets kind of busy, as you'll see here:

and here:

Basically, I go to Steel City Con to unload the bottom feeder swag accumulated over the course of the collecting lifetime. If it's a last minute thing, I usually just do Japanese stuff, maybe a mix of domestic stuff and a few imports that I'm tired of.

This year I had a ton of manga, including several Roman Albums, and a heaping pile of Shonen Sunday Weekly Jump.

In keeping with the scaled down theme of this years presentation, I incorporated this decent-sized jewelery display. It worked out, mainly as a way of keeping little items from disappearing, but also as an interesting object unto itself. The yellow Cliffjumper sold because this guy was adamant that it was a Bumblejumper. I'm not so sure, but I don't want to do the research and find out he was right!

That's a high price to pay for being altruistic, and a real case for just sticking with ebay.

That said, setting up at a show is an experience unlike any other in toy collecting. No matter how friendly the buyer, ebay can never come close to the type of one on one interaction that you get in an endeavour such as this. It's total sensory overload combined with enough geek-speak to ease the burden of Toy Collector-dating significant others everywhere. Here are some classic pics from past shows:

A pint-sized rogues gallery

Hotwheels coming out the...

A shot of my past offerings.

Shogun-D2?! Not quite, but still very dope.

Here I am looking like a long-haired, toy collecting nerd.

After the weekend I like to gather up all the stuff I purchased to see how nuts I went. This wasn't a bad show in terms of frivolous spending.

The next show arrives February 26th thru 28th, and I will be there one way or the other. If the show covered here is any indication, you'll want to arrive early for a parking space close to the door. Being a recovered space and former furniture wharehouse, the building and surrounding lot wasn't conceived to accommodate this amount of foot traffic, resulting in the afore-mentioned complaining dealers. It's safe to say that bad weather, combined with parking a quarter-mile from the building, was enough to turn away the otherwise merely curious, and those people buy stuff, too. As far as the guys who depend on this activity for a living goes, this show was a disaster. If February lives up to it's local rep, these conditions will worsen. Let's keep our fingers crossed.

For the hardy souls that can't be kept away, however, it's too much fun to miss. See you there!

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