This past weekend I had the pleasure of attending Indiana Comic Con. This was my second year in a row of attending this event. Last year my main complaints were it was slightly disorganized, they didn’t have enough room, and the guest list for the event was underwhelming. This year the powers at be took steps to reconcile these problems. There were still some issues, but overall this year was better than last year. For convenience I will break up my review into sections to be reviewed: Venue Space, Guest Creators, Media Guest, Organization, and Affordability.
As I stated earlier, space was a problem that Indiana comic con (ICC) had last year. ICC sought to fix this problem by renting out 3x the space for this years con. This for the most part solved this problem. The booths were not as close together, and despite a larger turnout there was more space to move around than before. I would say on this front ICC was very successful. Aside from a larger main hall, there were also more rooms for panels and other events. They had a hall rented out for attendees to play board games, and a cinema area where they played movies all day, Overall ICC did a great job of addressing this glaring issue from last year.
This year ICC featured a good amount of guest creators. The highlights were: Mike Zeck, Jim Steranko, Denny O’Neil,John Beatty, Philo Barnhart, Mark Waid and Ryan Stegman. Of this list I personally met Zeck, Beatty, Waid, and Stegman. Of all the creators I met Stegman was the nicest. He was very interactive with me while he made a sketch, and seemed genuinely interested in what I had to say. Waid was also very nice. One thing I didn’t like was that both Zeck and Beatty charged for their autographs. IF they had been a massive star like Matt Fraction, or Alex Ross I would have understood, but as it was it was a little annoying to have to pay almost $20 to get my comics signed on top of my entrance fee. The over all quality of the guest creators could have been improved by having a few more current creators there. I know it’s hard for a new con to attract some of the big names, but I feel like they could have at least gotten a couple more “B” level creators. Maybe if they had had less Media guests they would have had more of a budget for that.
This years media guest list had a little bit of everything, and a lot a bit of one thing. First what was wrong:This con had an over abundance of voice actors.(10 to be exact). This number should have been reduced to accommodate a wider audience. The rest of the media guest list was pretty solid. It included: Carrie Fisher, Jason Mamoa, Jenna Coleman, and Rory McCann. They also had Willon Shields and John Rhys-Davies cancel on them at the last-minute. Scoring Carrie Fisher was a big win for ICC. She was by far the most popular media guest, and her line proved it. Despite a high price per autograph and photo-op her line felt like it never shrank. Jason Mamoa and Jenna Coleman both had a very long lines as well. One complaint I heard from a lot of people was that Carrie Fisher actually ran out of time to sign all of the autographs that were sold. Although most of this list didn’t appeal to me, and in my opinion they had waaaaaay to many voice actors, they did a good job of trying to find people who would appeal to a wide audience.
Organization for this years ICC was better than last years. However it still was sorely lacking. They did not have enough workers stationed around to direct guests. The program they handed out did not have numbers or letters on the pictures to show what room number things were in. They had waaaaay to many lines for no reason. As I stated before they way over sold the Carrie Fisher autograph and photo-op tickets. From what I’ve heard they didn’t have any problems with the other media guests. They needed to have workers at the photo-op lines to make sure that things stayed organized. My big beef with the organization was the fact that they had a line outside of the main convention hall where you could buy tickets for an autograph, but you could also buy the same tickets while you were in line. This led to way to much confusion, and way to many angry guests. Organization needs a lot of work for next year, although I am encouraged with the direction it’s moving in.
The price of admission for ICC was $35 for one day, and $60 for a three day pass. I purchased the one day pass. Compared to other cons of equal or slightly larger size this is a great price. The charge for the media guest was $75 for Carrie Fisher, $50 for Jenna Coleman, and $40 for Jason Mamoa. Overall the prices for media guests were reasonable, although I wouldn’t have paid $75 for an autograph from Carrie Fisher. The vendors at ICC all had decent deals for the con and most were willing to haggle with you. Several booths had $0.50 comics and even more had $1.00 comics. The close food locations all had decent prices for their food and I only spent $11 on food. Parking was $25 for the whole day. This was steeper than I expected an I think in the future they should think about setting up some special parking at a lower rate. One think I didn’t like was, as I stated before, Mike Zeck and John Beatty charged for their autographs. It was an extra $20 that I hadn’t planned on. The price of ICC compared to other cons of equal size was still low and I would recommend it to people who are looking to go to a con on a budget.
All in all ICC was a very fun experience. I really had a great time. The venue space was big enough to accommodate the number of people who showed up. The guest creators were nice and interactive. They had enough media guests to reach a wide audience. The organization needs work, but I am encouraged by the improvement from last year. ICC is also a very affordable con for attendees who are on a budget. ICC has promise, it is going through some growing pains, but I really believe it can emerge as a big player in the Mid-West Con scene.
Overall Rating: 4/5