My So-Called Experience with Comic Conventions
It wasn’t so long ago that you could write a letter to your favorite movie star and hope they received it. It was a bonus if they did and responded with a thank you note (a lost art, if you ask me) and an autographed photo. Today, you can still write a letter to your favorite movie star or television star and maybe you’ll get a response. But the big thing these days is going to a comic convention and actually meeting your favorite stars. (Sure, you sometimes have to pay a lot of money — but you get to spend a good 30 seconds with them – if you’re lucky!)
I am not immune to spending money on celebrities. My track record, though not as huge as some (I’m sure), took me all the way to London, England, to meet actors from Game of Thrones (twice)! (Thanks, Starfury!)
I’ve also traveled to Oakland, CA for Evolution Expo (2014), Wizard World Sacramento, Walker Stalker Con SF, SacAnime, and just recently, Denver Comic Con (now called Denver Pop Culture Con). Wow, I thought it was worse than that! I’ve actually been pretty tame when it comes to hunting down my siggies.
Of all of the conventions that I had been to, and I admit that it’s not a lot, I think my favorite is still the one organized by Starfury. Let me tell you why:
- The ticket price was fairly reasonable for what you got… I forget how much it was in 2013 and 2014. There were two choices, if I remember correctly. The iron price and the gold price. The iron price got you entry into the con, general seating during panels, a signature from every regular guest, and entry to the parties. The gold price got you everything that the iron price got you, plus signatures from extra guests or special guests and entry to the meet and greet. The meet and greet had you sitting at table with about 8 or 9 other congoers and every guest came to sit with you for a few minutes to chat. It was just a nice addition. And you got priority seating in the panels and priority access for siggies.
- The prices of the photo ops weren’t outrageous. You didn’t pay $100 for a photo with a guest.
- The autographs are included in the ticket price. Extra sigs weren’t an arm and a leg, either. At the time, they were about $15 per guest. Much more reasonable than the $40+ price tag at American conventions.
- The lineup was pretty spot on. He had conventions based on themes. I think Walker Stalker is trying to do that… But still charging outrageously high amounts of money.
- If you stewarded(volunteered) at the convention, you were given a Steward photo as a thank you. This was usually a cute group photo of all of the guests together.
Sure, the travel and accommodations weren’t cheap. And I’m sure for the price of airfare and hotel, I could have taken 10+ photos with Chris Hemsworth (who was charging $125(?) a few years ago at wizard world). But I am picky about who gets my money. Heck, I paid money to take a photo with Henry Winkler just so I could thank him for MacGyver.
I’ve only had one experience volunteering at an American convention. It was great and free entry to the con, so it was a decent trade off, especially if you had the time to spare.
Of course, universally, the experience of rude folks and B. O. can ruin things. I have one thing to say to those people: Everyone has paid money to be there and have fun. If you’re going to be a jerk, just stay home. And if you can afford the entry ticket, souvenirs, autographs, and photo ops, you can certainly afford to take a shower, or at the very least, buy some deodorant. Nobody wants to stand behind you and smell your funk.
I would totally love to see what goes into organizing a comic convention. Maybe someday, I will. Until then, I’ll enjoy conventions in my usual way: saving up for it and then just having fun.
What’s your experience with comic cons? I’d love to hear about it!