If you’ve been following the situation at Montreal Comiccon this weekend, so forth named Tablegate, you no doubt have seen some heated exchanges and angry words on Twitter. If you aren’t familiar with the situation, basically, Arthur Suydam stole tables belonging to Dan Parent, Rachel Richey, and Francis Manapul, leaving them to find new tables. It was an unfortunate event that became a bit of a scandal, and rightly so; Parent, Richey, and Manapul’s fans went looking for them where the con program said they would be, only to find Suydam’s behemoth of a booth.
When confronted by Manapul, Suydam was polite and courteous, and stated he would send confused fans to the new tables they were now stuck with. Apparently, this morning there was no sign of Suydam. We can speculate as to that reason or reasons, but for now it would just be kicking an injured dog. There has been a ton of backlash, and I’m not here to drive any more Suydam’s way.
What I’d like to point out is how Parent, Richey, and Manapul handled the situation admirably, as adults. They were calm, casually making jokes, and otherwise way more respectful than I would have been. Sure they were angry, who wouldn’t be, but with Suydam showing up at Parent and Manapul’s tables with a faux apology, while totally ignoring Richey, they handled it like champs. Now that isn’t to say they didn’t have some harsh words. Due to Twitter being Twitter, I’m not able to embed their tweets, but here are some of those words describing the increasingly bizarre situation.
Dan Parent started out with:
Here’s what Rachel Richey had to say yesterday afternoon:
As of about an hour ago I was actually starting to feel a little bad for Arthur until he came over with his agent and had her “speak” to Francis Manapul and (earlier) Dan Parent about the miscommunication. He would have had to go past my table to get back to his, but he disappeared. Apparently I, for reasons I can probably guess right, don’t deserve the non apology that Francis and Dan got. What makes me even more angry is that he had his agent blame the organizers who are honestly the kindest people ever. I’m actually amazed that he’s managed to show how crappy he is. I was more than willing to look past it but honestly, his response is exhausting and disappointing. There was no miscommunication, he bullied the convention, took what he wanted, lied about it, hid behind his agent and tried to pass the blame. At least I can say I stood up for myself and hopefully changed the outcome of future shows.
So Suydam sort of apologized, through his Rep, but not to everyone, and he tried to blame the con organizers. Go home Suydam, you’re drunk.
Francesco Frankavilla had a lot to say about it throughout the whole thing, but this sums up why I love the guy. He took a bad situation and tried to temper it with humor:
I remember the day I was downgraded from 8 tables to 7 tables… The darkest hour of my career for sure…
And in some better news, though they still have not responded to my email, Montreal Comiccon has released a statement buried way down on their Facebook page:
Yesterday, there was an unfortunate situation where certain creators were displaced from one area in Artist Alley to another area in the same alley without their knowledge. We at Montreal Comiccon offer a sincere apology to those affected. We have spoken to the creators and have reassured them that they will be compensated for the inconvenience.
In this situation, Montreal Comiccon assumes a measure of responsibility and has taken certain actions to ensure that this type of situation will not be repeated at any of the events we manage. The foundation of comic book conventions is built – and continues to be built – upon the admiration and respect of comic book creators. We are forever appreciative for what they continue to bring to a vibrant industry. Our policy has always been to make sure that all artists and creators are treated with respect and consideration.
From what I’ve heard and read, the convention organizers have been trying their hardest to accommodate Parent, Richey, and Manapul, doing everything short of giving them back their original tables.
We’ll keep you up to date as any more information comes in, but as the convention is over as of today, at least the situation is over. Until the next convention Suydam is a guest at, or hopefully not.