Convention Life

Fan Expo Dallas Comicon Report

Dallas Fan Expo is exactly what I want from a con. This was a convention firing on all cylinders having a mix of big comic, television, movie and cosplay guests but maybe it was a little too big.

The recent trend that I have despised is what I call the celebricon where it’s dominated by celebrity guests with few comic guests. This is unfortunately a recent trend with examples being Texas Comicon and Wizard World and has caused a lot of these shows to be looked at less as comicons and more autograph shows. The other side of the coin is just as bad as you can end up sinking a con like Capital City Comicon from a few years ago. With Fan Expo this was not an issue as was previously mentioned it felt more akin to my experiences at Comicon International in San Diego. The problem of course being that this convention center was no where near as large or utilized as well as the one in San Diego. Now I’m not saying the convention center needs to be as large as that one but next year the entire convention center needs to be utilized or the possibility of a larger venue needs to be explored.

Continuing what seemed to be a running problem with the con were the infamous photo op and autograph sessions. The photo ops were unfortunately a disaster as people were shoved into lines with no regard taken for ticket numbers and line order. In addition people were only given seconds at a time to take their photo and considering that photo ops could costs up to two hundred dollars this seemed incredibly mishandled and hopefully another group is hired to handle this next year. It was noted by a number of con goers that many were not being checked for tickets during the larger signings which while it’s great for more underhanded attendees trying to score a free autograph it did not help the guests who potentially suffered financial loss signing a number of unpaid autographs.

The two areas of the con with no issues whatsoever were the comic signings and the panels. They were incredibly well organized. As a life long comic fan I appreciated the range of guests where many shows could have easily gotten away with bringing in current creators but there was a strong mix of old and new guests. In addition the panels were incredibly well handled. There was a strong variety and they were well organized. The only problem would be the Adam West and Burt Ward panel that got cut short but that was outside of the con’s control as their flight was canceled. Other than that comic autograph sessions and panels were incredibly well handled.

Fan Expo was a great con in some ways and frustrating in others and could definitely be summed up as too much of a good thing. While they had a ton of fantastic guests the photo ops were incredibly disorganized with people being treated like cattle and unable to enjoy the time they paid up to two hundred dollars for. In addition the issues with some of the staff not checking tickets for autographs definitely posed a potential loss for guests. While Fan Expo had a ton of great guests They may need to move to a larger venue or take better advantage of the space they have as the show felt like it was a little bigger than the staff thought it would be.

Ian McIntosh

May 15th, 2017

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