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