Indiana Comic Con Review

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.

Venue Space

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.

Rating: 5/5

Guest Creators

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.

Rating: 3/5

Media Guests

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.

Rating 4/5

Organization

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.

Rating: 3/5

Affordability

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.

Rating: 5/5

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

-Andrew Horton

Advertisements

11 thoughts on “Indiana Comic Con Review

  1. Some of the Carrie Fisher line problems were on ICC for its poor line management, but not all of it.

    * Attendees were in line well before 8:30 Saturday morning when the Will Call opened up and people were allowed in the Hall to purchase autograph/photo op tickets (Jenna Coleman’s 9 AM photo op necessitated this). Volunteers arriving after the line was formed didn’t seem to grasp this.

    * Once in the Hall, attendees were shunted into one line for autographs and a separate line for photo ops…for each celebrity. This was confusing and needlessly complicated, especially if you wanted to meet more than one guest.

    * Many people getting their tickets at 8:30 got into the serpentine area leading to Fisher’s table right away, but that line was soon long enough that volunteers began turning additional ticket holders away, telling them to come back later. Long-time convention goers know better than to do this under normal circumstances. In this case, the show floor didn’t open until 10 so the fans had two choices: A) mingle around the cordoned off autograph/photo op area until a line could be formed (and this area, incidentally, did not include a public women’s room) or B) leave the Hall entirely and be forced to re-enter by joining the back of the already huge line waiting to get in. Few fans were willing to leave the Hall and risk either being unable to get back in or able to get back in only to find a capped line (especially since they’d gotten there really early in order to prevent that from happening). ICC’s well-publicized attendance issues last year hadn’t been forgotten.

    * With Fisher’s serpentine area full (but not unreasonably so), fans milling about outside the area just started forming a line around 9:40 AM. The line soon became very long. People were still purchasing autograph tickets when the convention decided to move Fisher’s autograph ticket purchase table closer to her actual autograph line. This forced the people in line to move over so that fans who wanted to buy autograph tickets could do so. Unfortunately, the length of the line was such that people in back didn’t know what was going on and this caused confusion regarding who was in what line. As a result, two separate autograph lines ended up being formed, both made up of people who’d gotten their tickets at 8:30 and had been waiting. A convention employee was forced to make the best decision she could which was to merge both lines…to no one’s happiness.

    * While this was going on, attendees were still buying tickets and some were buying tickets while in the actual autograph line, if they were close enough to the table. I know for a fact there were people in Fisher’s line with several tickets. I’ve read stories by those who saw people buying 20, 75 and 100 tickets. I don’t know the veracity of those stories as I didn’t witness them, but no one should have been allowed to purchase that many.

    However…

    Fisher herself holds some responsibility for the pace, too. According to ICC’s Facebook page, they estimated how long it would take someone to sign an autograph in the time allotted and sold tickets accordingly. Apparently, they didn’t do a quick Google search ahead of time and were unaware of her “glitter ritual”. Fisher likes to douse her fans with glitter. Not just toss it on them, but rub it into their foreheads and earlobes, etc. She did this to everyone in line, even family members who were just accompanying the ticket holder and weren’t getting autographs. This, on top of her being late for the first session, then leaving in the middle of it when she ran out of glitter, retrieved her make-up bag and started using that on people until someone brought her more glitter, took a lot of extra time.

    ICC admits they didn’t know she did this and tried to put a stop to it, but were unsuccessful. That much was clear on Saturday…we realized at the time that there was nothing they could do about it. Booking a guest in the future might necessitate researching that celebrity’s quirks so that they can be more prepared.

    Add to that Fisher talked to almost everyone, personalized, inscribed messages and signed her name clearly to each autograph and that’s a big part of why the line didn’t seem to move. It was certainly different from other autograph lines where celebrities quickly scribble their names and there’s no time for engaging them. It was a long experience for everyone in line, but certainly a memorable one for those who managed to reach her. A frustrating one for those who did not.

    I heard that they tried to minimize the damage later by only letting ticket holders in line (presumably so Carrie would have fewer people to glitter, I guess), but I don’t know how much that helped.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I had heard of the line problems and that it wasnt all ICCs fault. Especially since Carrie insisted on the glitter ritual, and talking longer than necessary (which is great for people who got in), thats why in the end I gave them a 3/5 instead of 2/5. Thanks for the extra insight! I personally didnt try for Carrie cause I was on a budget, so the extra details are kind of hearsay for me.

      Like

  2. Sounds a lot like my Fandomfest in Louisville experience. (Coincidentally, they have also booked Carrie Fisher this year). I have avoided big conventions because it seems like they all have these same problems. It becomes no fun to attend them.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey Troy!

      Sometimes it can be like that! In the end though ICC was still a very fun experience, and id say the pros out weighed the cons. I am hoping to go for two days next year, and then ill be able to really report the whole experience instead of just one days worth.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Line problems applied to Paige O’Hara’s line as well. By the time I arrived around 11, she was already gone untill after 2, then gone by 3:30 (with the line shut down before that, of course they happily took my money before telling me I couldn’t line up), back after 4:30, and shut down again before 5. I got turned away twice.

    Like

  4. I typically just go to C2E2 and Wizard Chicago, so my expectations weren’t very high with Indy Con being that it’s only in its second year. However, I was pleasantly surprised. Highlight of my day was meeting Jae Lee and getting an 11X17 full body Daredevil piece of original art. The show was a little bigger than I had anticipated which was a nice surprise. The only downside for me was the lack of comic vendors. I love digging through boxes and looking for great deals. There just weren’t very many. Most of the creators and vendors I spoke with were very pleased with the show. Hopefully word will spread and the show will continue to grow.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s