Turtle Con 2003 - Fan Booth

When we did Turtle Con 2000, the original plan was to make money to keep doing the booth each year.  Though we did not make money.  In 2001 we held the booth again, but less people came and it still cost as much to hold.  So in 2002 we skipped out on doing a booth at the convention.  When 2003 rolled around we discussed the idea of doing a convention booth for the return of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.  So we pulled the money together and did a weekend of friends that took a lot of work and was a lot of fun.

The weekend started on Thursday when we got to the convention center and started to set up the booth. A few measurement problems were found, but fixed those while setting the walls up. The walls were 7’ x 4’ x 8’ pegboard walls, with 2 x 4s on the back for support that some friends and I put together to have as a background. The corner pieces were hinged together to hold them all up. It worked like a charm. I admit the booth looked so much better that year and I'm glad I was able to put this together. Building the walls took nearing $300, so you know they were made of only the best stuff I could get.  Sadly, they were only used for that one show and was stored away for years before we gave them to someone else.

On Friday, Belle, Beast, Shadow Wolf, and I all got to the convention center early enough to set up the booth the rest of the way. The # 1 rule for the day was "Three Crew members must be at the booth at all times." So with only four of us there, only one person could leave at a time. I stayed at the booth most of that morning, letting the others go out. Beast stayed around with me and helped with the booth. It wasn't long after getting there that we realized that the booth across the hall from us was Mark Bode's booth, so he was right near us.

Once HotHead arrived, he told me of something that I could hardly believe, one of the booths there had the anime TMNT on DVD with subs!  This was the first time I heard of this on DVD. So of course I jumped out of my shell to go check that booth out and borrowed a little from HotHead to be able to pick up a copy, right away it was put into our display case.

Once other crew members got there, such as my mom and dad, I was set free from the booth though only with more to do. I had to go to my home area to pick up my paycheck from work. On the way back, Belle and I got lost. We had tons of fun, getting to see people horseback riding and to me that made getting lost worth it. Once we finally made our way back to the con, I paid HotHead back and did a little shopping. I got some new TMNT shirts, and paid off money I owed to Art-Toons and put some new animation cells on hold.

While walking around that day, I also found something rare as ever  I walked into a booth that had a ton of the new TMNT toys up on display for sale, I'm thinking “cool TMNT stuff, gotta look at the booth.”   Then I saw it, an old TMNT figure in a bag, I couldn't tell what it was at first, because someone was sitting in front of it. I asked "What toy is that?" he turned and grabbed it, in his hands he held a first edition April O'Neil, no blue strip, and for only $20!  I couldn't help but buy it. It's weird though, I had more than one toy collector check it out at the con. This package had never been opened, the box is in great shape, but the April inside the package was dirty.  It's a total mystery why it’s that way. Though dirty or not, she's the April I've been looking for. Also at the booth they had the Sewer Playset in package, but $100.  I couldn't afford that.

I took off back to our booth and put the April in one of the display cases with the other original TMNT toys I had there. Then I hung out near the booth a little more. Mark Bode was at his booth so I got to say hi. He had a picture of my tattoo in his photo book. I thought that was awesome. I had pictures of him doing the tattoo at the Turtle Con table for people to see and I had some of Mark's work hanging up as well.

The day finally came to an end, after many cool TMNT talks, buys and sales, and it was time to go back to the hotel.  The biggest question on all of our minds was "Where is HorseTurtle and Lisardo?!" I was truly worried about them, they said they would be there on Friday, but they were not there. In 2001, HorseTurtle was one of our main staffers as she would be the first to get to the convention and set up.  So being late is not like her. We got back to the hotel and as I was packing some of the stuff to go back to my room, HorseTurtle and Lisardo arrived!  We were all staying at the Towneplace Suites, which is my favorite hotel in that area. So we hung out that night, and even got to watch the anime TMNT eps!

HorseTurtle also showed me the newsletters and I'll have to say these were the best newsletters yet. Not because of what's in it, but because of the lay out she choose. Our cover was done by Sango, and was a wonderful piece of art. HorseTurtle took the intro from the Turtle Con web page for the first page.  Within the newsletter we had a page and a half review on the toys from me. A half a page review on the first issue of the Mirage comics by TurtleNinja, and a nice long review on 11 of the new cartoon eps by HorseTurtle. We also had ads in there for the cartoon, the mirage web page, Art Toons and the toys. The paper was green, which really went well with the theme. So it was our best newsletter yet! I love it and I really have to thank HorseTurtle for all of the hard work she put into it. I truly believe she could be a professional in this area.

On Saturday, we got up and went to the convention center.  I met up with HorseTurtle and Lisardo there and set up the booth for the day. I spent most of the morning at the booth again, as Beast had to go to work and Belle didn't show up.  So, it was only HorseTurtle, Lisardo, Shadow Wolf and I. This meant once again that only one could leave at a time and also meant that Mikey could not come out for the day until someone else got there. I spent the morning pushing the raffle tickets, Art Toons came over and gave us some animation cells to sell at our booth and we showed them the ads we had up at the booth for them. I think it made them happy.

Lisa's mom and dad showed up and we made them crew members. I showed them how to run the booth and this made it so both Lisardo, who was dressed up as the new toon April, and I had the chance to go get Mikey out from his hiding spot. Michaelangelo got to run around the con and say hi to many of people. He even entered the costume contest, not to win though since the judges already know Mikey, but basically to be in front of the crowd, which was important to show off that the turtle is here. Then Michaelangelo lead Lisa aka 'April' around the convention to booths that had TMNT stuff and talked with any kid who stopped them for a picture.  But the heat was getting to the poor Turtle.  Getting back to the turtle booth, the turtle found my Grandma and mom had arrived, after saying hi to them, Mikey went back into hiding.

I returned to the booth for a bit, though it didn't seem long before Mikey wanted to come back out. He found out his friend from the other two years at the con was there again. That's right, his model friend was back at the con and Mike wasn't going to miss the chance of seeing her again. So Belle and Mikey walked around the convention for a bit. Once Mikey decided to take another break, it was time to get ready to leave.

Getting ready to leave involved taking down both TVs, Leo's head from TMNT 3, and a handful of other items I just didn't want to leave at the booth. Once things were taken down that needed to be, we headed back to the hotel. This time it was party night. Though Michaelangelo decided not to come out and just let us enjoy the evening with DVDs, pizza and baking a cake. Lisardo, HorseTurtle, HotHead, Belle, Beast, Lisa's mom and dad, Shadow Wolf, and my mom and dad were all there.

On Sunday, we again got to the convention with just Lisardo, HorseTurtle, Shadow Wolf and I. Though Beast didn't take too long to show up. This day was our best selling day.  We sold a couple of autographed Kevin Eastman pictures and some of the animation cells. I also got to meet an online friend, TMNT Eclipse, for the first time in person.

Once Belle got to the con, Michaelangelo and Bebop decided to walk around the convention for a bit. Really, they had a lot of fun, meeting a few kids dressed up in some cute costumes and got a ton of hugs from kids left and right. A lot of the older people enjoyed talking to them as well. Though with it being a shorter con day as is, by time Mike and Bebop decided to take their break it was almost take down time as the convention was near its end.

Sure enough, at 5pm I almost felt like the adults were in a race to take the booth down when really we had two hours before we could even get a car in the building to pack things into it.  There was no need for the race, but it was taken down fast and then followed by the walls.

After the con, we unloaded some stuff at the hotel then more over at my Grandma's house, and we ate at a National Coney Island.  We went back to the hotel and crashed for the night.

Monday was check out day. I got it so my room didn't have to be out till 2pm. So we packed, then watched Saturday's TMNT episode of 4Kids TMNT.  My mom told ghost stories. After we got out of the room, we went to see X-Men 2. We ate Big Boy before the movie and after the movie we stopped in and had dessert at the "Volcano Grill".  We spent about an hour and a half talking, before they decided to leave. It was hard to say goodbye when there's so much more you want to say and do.

This was the last time I held a booth at Motor City Comic Con.  With the Turtles back from 2003 to 2009 with an amazing series and now a new series coming in Fall 2012, I have not needed to do this booth.  I would love to hold a full size convention, though each time I did a booth it would cost at least $2,000 and I only had help with the first one where we spent over $4,000 and raised around $3,000.  If running a booth at a convention cost that much, I know I could not afford to do a full size convention without some big backers to help with the building space needed and other costs.

This event was held at Motor City Comic Con in May 2003.  It was a lot of fun and I thank everyone who did take part in going.  All of the crew members who worked at the booth are a part of the TMNT-L Forums.

Have you been to Motor City Comic Con?  Were you at this event?  Please feel free to share your stories and reviews here!  All Comments and questions are welcomed!

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Comments

Hi Michele! My name is sarah but you can call me T-Girl ( thats my Fanfiction nickname) or T. I just wanna say I love cowabunga corner. I became a TMNT fan a few years ago and Raph is my fave. I have always wanted to go to a turtlecon or even a comicon but sadly there always held too far away from where I live. If you ever do a turtlecon again anytime soon hopefully I will be able to attend. ^^ Its awsome to see that there are even bigger turtle fans than me out there or that there are other turtle fans period. Anysways thanks for cowabunga corner. oh and dont forget..... TURTLE POWER!
T-Girl is out! Peace!