April 20, 2010

Anaheim Comic Con Report

The first annual Wizard World's Anaheim Comic Con was held this weekend. As a fan who is trying to get out to more cons than just San Diego this year, I was excited to go on Saturday. I'm interested to see if all the cons blend together in a convention hall blur or if each one has a voice. So far, I've noticed individual voices. And the voices of each con are loud. To me, Anaheim Comic Con yelled, while jumping up and down, "I'm new, but I'm eager to please."

I arrived around 1:15pm on Saturday, just missing the Star Wars panel I wanted to see, but ah well. LA traffic. I grabbed an exhibit hall map, and headed off towards the general direction of comics. But I had to stop. I couldn't help but notice several rows of autographs area. I know that this exists at San Diego Comic-Con too, but it's not an area I ever stop to take in. Here at this one room con though, it seemed like the media stars area was about 1/3 of the room. Though I'm not celebrity crazy, it was still fun to walk through and play recognize the star. I get the appeal to a lot of fans. They could walk right up (I didn't see very many lines) and not only do the signature and/or photo thing, but have a conversation with their favorite stars. It then clicked for me why Wizard World had expended so much effort promoting every celebrity that sneezed in the general direction of the con. It does bring in people. It's just a fact.

I pushed through and onward to toys, models, and comics. My eyes enjoyed skimming books and racks without being strained by a million flashing lights or giant displays. The aisles were crowded, but you could move. The booths were well staffed, and more than once, a booth employee offered up recommendations and actually spent time helping me find new comics to enjoy. Propworx had great nerdy items on display from Goa'uld symbiotes to Starbuck's viper pilot suite. One of the coolest finds for me were custom gaming tables by Geek Chic. I tried not to drool on them.

After many stops to buy graphic novels and take photos of other costumed characters (I saw lots of costumes), I made it over to Artist's Alley. It was a pretty small area, but most of the tables were at least occupied - by artists and fans alike. I did enjoy the opportunity to spend time talking to artists without feeling like I was hogging their attention from other fans behind me. Fans were around, but the table wasn't so jammed with people that you could spend a little more than just the buy and get thigns signed time. The atmosphere definitely wasn't as rushed as say, San Diego.

Overall, I had a great time. I saw lots of fantastic costumes and scored on deals from Pulp Fiction comics and Things from Another World. I also met some great artists in Artist's Alley. I think the convention is still finding its feet, and that next year will see some overall improvements.

Why some fans/creators might be put off:
- If it continues to be the same weekend as Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo, lots of artist and panel opportunities will be lost (by the way, C2E2, I respect you for not just calling yourself a comic con).

- They could put a little more work into promoting the artists and the exhibitors instead of just the celebrities. Bringing that a little more into balance would help.

- The price of a one day Saturday ticket was $35, the same as San Diego Comic Con. Sure, I got to look at celebrities from just a few feet away, but personally? I'd rather have more panels and a bigger artist area. On Saturday, there were just 18 panels and four of them involved Stan Lee. Stan Lee rocks, absolutely, but come on. Out of those 18, maybe about 1/3 had to do with comics.

- The convention center seemed to be set up to make everything as inconvenient as possible. A large specialty coffee convention was going on too and taking most of the exhibit halls, and the convention center did not want us of the costumed, comic fans walking in the halls outside of our convention. Which was hard when the closest (maybe the only?) ATM was in Hall A and Comic Con was in Hall D. After being forced to walk outside, which I don't mind, it was more about the principle, we walk back in to get in line for the ATM. As we are walking around the rope, wallets in hand, a convention center employee told us in a rude tone, "You're not supposed to be over here." I almost was snippy. Almost. Hey, I was dressed as a villain, it was bound to rub off. I politely gestured at the ATM and told her we were directed to it by other staff. She grumbled us in line behind Aayla Secura and Padme and scowled at all of us. The parking and entering the convention center were similar situations.

If you were an artist or exhibitor there, I'd love to hear about your thoughts on the show.


  1. Sounds like it was a fun time...had a lot of friends go there as well and the pic above is one of them Bridget Parks as Padme. Too cool!

  2. Well hopefully there will be a next year. Of course you know the Padme. She was fun and really nice. :D

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