LA MOLE COMIC CON (MEXICO CITY), March 17-19th, 2017

Josué Hernandez went to Mexico City and the only bad hombres he found were the ones who were hiding all the silver and bronze treasures that he didn’t see …

I decided to attend La Mole Comic Con at the World Trade Center in Mexico City to quell the curiosity of an international con experience. A few things made attending this con attractive: 1) the strength of the dollar vs. peso 2) the La Mole exclusives that come out year after year 3) the guest list. I had been watching for a couple of months as La Mole added to the guest list to solidify me wanting to attend the con. Kevin Eastman was the first announced guest, and was quickly followed by Greg Capullo, Elias Chatzoudis, Adam Hughes, Jenny Frison, Joe Quinones, Eric Larsen, etc….The comic artist and writer lineup was impressive. The addition of Ed Benes is what solidified the trip for me but unfortunately he cancelled last minute along with Babs Tarr.

No doubt about it this show was about comics. While comics in English were not everpresent, it is clear to me that comic fans in Mexico City are plugged into US Comics. The comic collectors in Mexico are have the same wantlist of the “hot” comics in the US. I even saw a few American Catwoman 51, Legion of Super Heroes 23 (that was mine) and Wonder Woman 600 getting signed by Adam Hughes. The “hot” artists (Hughes, Capullo, Eastman) in the US also had the longest lines at La Mole Con.

La Mole Con had all the makings of an American con a bit on steroids. I’ll preface this by saying that I’ve never attended San Diego Comic Con nor New York Comic Con, but I found the comic booths to be HUGE! There were some big names there such as: Hasbro (doing exclusives), Marvel (displaying the Legends toys and a “life-size” Hulk and Hulkbuster Iron Man), Decomixado (who produced the Jessica Jones Campbell and the Vampirella Hughes show exclusives), Panini (had a large booth but their comic selection was most disappointing), even Netflix had a large setup promoting Iron Fist and playing it in a loop. Also, kudos to CBCS for going south of the border to introduce grading service in Mexico, from talking to them it appears that they were well received and there was definitely an interest.

Not having spent much time in Mexico City had me torn in being at the con or going to spend time seeing the tourist spots. I did sneak away to Lucha Libre Friday night after the con and the selection of places to eat in the city is phenomenal. It actually worked out great because I was able to combine a work trip to Mexico with spending the weekend at the con.

Were there pre-sale tickets (online/in-store) and could you get in early?

I did attempt to purchase tickets online while in the US prior to the show but oddly enough the transaction didn’t go through until I attempted again while in Mexico. The show prices were 260 pesos per day or 990 pesos for the 3 day pass. I purchased the 3 day pass and was happy with the swag bag. It included a TMNT T-Shirt, TMNT LaMole Show Exclusive Comic, show poster and 3 day pass with TMNT lanyard. The entrance cost for a major show was definitely a benefit.

As an aside, the purchase of tickets was a Ticketmaster transaction. I received an e-mail the day prior suggesting to pick up your tickets at any Ticketmaster to avoid lines at Will Call. Not knowing what I was in for, I did pick them up at a Ticketmaster in a bookstore. While there was no VIP entrance, the show was organized with the lines. 3 day pass ticket holders were allowed in an hour early to get wristbands and swag bag moving the line indoors for the 11 am sharp open.

How many retailers were there?

Like I said, this was a comic show so 90% of what you saw was comic related. A good percentage of dealers had anime-type material but just cause it doesn’t interest me, does not indicate that there was no market for it. I mentioned above the major retailers with large booths and there were several comics dealers also. As I was mostly interested in English comics, I only found three dealers that had a sizeable selection. I will add that nearly all comics available were modern. Very little silver and bronze age to be found. Comics Mexico, an LCS from Mexico City had a huge booth divided with DC on one side and Marvel and Indy on the other, 99% of the comics they sold were American comics and even had a nice selection of keys and variants.

How was the food and snack situation?

You’re not gonna go hungry in Mexico City. The street food is delicious if you are so inclined to try it and can be found all around the World Trade Center just by walking outside. Inside the con there was snack bar with some table areas. Around the con floor there were carts that had cold drinks and snacks. The chips with hot sauce seemed to be popular, but checking the prices were more expensive than outside. As a comparison, I bought 3 street tacos and a soda outside the con for the same price as a bag of chips inside the con. My recommendation, eat outside…the con isn’t going anywhere.

How was the floor layout?

I’m not one to complain much about floor layout except what I have experienced in Houston where the venue is too large for the amount of vendors and you seem to walk forever. The floor usage was perfect. They utilized the space well. Have I mentioned how large the displays and booths were? Featured artists were along one end, then artists alley was next to them, vendors followed and then gaming and cosplayers were at the other end.

What was the most ridiculously over-priced book you saw?

I’ll admit it that once I saw the selection of books at the con, I knew it would not be a comic hunting expedition for me. The one vendor I mentioned did have keys including Amazing Spider-Man #300 and Uncanny X-Men #266. They were priced in line with US pricing, however the condition of most comics didn’t instill a lot of confidence in the pricing being accurate.

What was the highest priced book you saw?

There was no high priced book that interested me. I saw not a single Batman Adventures #12, NYX #3, New Mutants #98 or Legion of Super Heroes #23 which seem to be ever present at major shows here lately. It made me question what the feasibility of me selling one at the show if I brought one since like I mentioned before attendees were versed on comics and willing to spend money.

What was your best bargain purchase? Why?

Love them or hate them, the La Mole Comic Con exclusives get attention after market. This year reprinted Mexican editions of the covers for Legions of Super-Heroes #23 by Adam Hughes, Wonder Woman #600 by Adam Hughes, Black Widow #1 by J. Scott Campbell, and Harley Quinn Little Black Book #1 by J. Scott Campbell. The pricing on these is phenomenal, however they are closely guarded allowing only one each per customer per day. They hole punch your bracelet to insure you don’t go back through line. So learn some Spanish and make some friends.

What was your favorite item purchased? Why?

You may be thinking that the lack of comics would turn me away from coming back but the artist make up for it without a doubt. Can I pick one item? I got 5 sketches on blank variants from Jenny Frison, Joe Quinones, Elias Chatzoudis, Raul Valdes and Roberto Castro. I found the accessibility to the artists commissions better than what I have experienced in the US. All the artists above are published artists and the sketches ranged from $28 – $140 USD. With CBCS being onsite, I was able to submit all the sketches for yellow label grading.

What was your favorite comic purchased? Why?

Decomixado Comics who also produced show exclusive variants were well advertised prior to the show. I had a long list of friends hitting me up to purchase them one because these were original covers of both J. Scott Campbell on the Jessica Jones #6 and Adam Hughes on the Vampirella #1. Also, closely guarded to one per person.

What was the rarest book you saw?

There was not a rare book that wowed. Although it was interesting to see some of the Spanish versions of different comics. A friend did find a Bob Kane signature book on a Brave and the Bold book. I though that was nice find for the price.

What were some books you were surprised the dealers had priced so high?

As I mentioned before these booth were huge many times displayed in an overhead track above the long boxes. I was horrified to see the vendors standing on the long boxes to reach the wall books. I’m of the opinion that just because a book is a long box book and not a wall book it doesn’t need to get stepped on. Outside of the show exclusives which were bagged and boarded therefore near mint, I passed on some books simply cause the condtion was a little to rough for the asking price.

Were any artists present? What were your experiences with them?

This show was able to secure some nice artists from Mexico and the Unites States. I was able to secure 5 sketches on blank comics and found that it was a bit easier to get on their commission list. Prices were about the same for the America artists, there were some very talented Mexican artists that were producing great art and selling original art at inexepensive prices. Do not pass them while down there.

Were any media guests/celebrities present?

That’s an excellent question. I’m sure there were but no one I was familiar with. Dross Rotzank was someone they were preselling meet and greet tickets for and seemed to be a draw. Again, the major names here in the US were also the biggest draws at the cons. They did have panels also which I did not attend.

If you were the promoter, what would you have done to make this show better?

Being the first experience, I don’t think there is much that can be improved on. It was a great experience all the way around.

If you were selling comics, what would you have done differently?

It appears that the demand for English comics was there and there was rarely a bronze or silver age to be seen. I believe the addition of older books would have sold well.

Did you see a dealer try to swindle a rookie? If so, explain.

I didn’t see anything out of line and pricing seemed to be in order across the board.

How much was this con about just the comics?

I would say 35%. And it’s not that there were no comics, but lots were in Spanish which I had no interest in therefore passed. Lots of toys, anime and cosplay. I think the comic artists and creators were the hit in my book.

How much was this con about the cosplay?

There was cosplay and it appeared to be well done in most instances. A few preofessional cosplayers were set up also.

How pumped up was the crowd?

There was some excitement in the crows especially the first day as doors opened. Much excitement surrounding Hughes, Capullo and Eastman.

How strong was the haggleability?

1/10. Can’t really haggle if you’re not buying much, pricing was fair.

FINAL GRADE: 8.5 / 10

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