This past weekend, I attended the Anaheim Comic Con. Sponsored by Wizard World, this was their 2nd annual comic book convention in Anaheim across the street from Disneyland. Overall it was a fine experience- here are my pros and cons breakdown:
ACC seemed to be an improvement from their pilot year. The floor was larger and better organized. Last year, it was primarily half celebrity autographs and half generic toy vendors. This year there was more variety of booths with specialty items, demonstrations, and more unique collectibles. Saturday was pretty crowded and the media boasted 20-25k in attendance.
There was an actual FOOD COURT in the showroom floor with a decent variety of cuisines. Granted, it’s still ‘con food’ but at least it’s not 3 day old hotdogs and cardboard pretzels that you get at SDCC. Why San Diego doesn’t bring in nicer food is beyond me.
Even though I am not a drinker, I was impressed with the mixed drink bar available on the floor. I guess it was something to take the edge off while shuffling through the crowds. i’m sure mixing alcohol and rabid fans at San Diego would only end disastrously but at a smaller con it seems to work.
The convention center has a lot of potential and I could see why Anaheim was lobbying to get SDCC here. While it doesn’t have the iconic profile as the SD Con Center, it does have huge growth potential. Since this Hall was one of 5 halls of the same size, there is plenty of room to house an ever growing SDCC. However, the traffic and the surrounding area would be a complete mess and the lack of the Gaslamp nightlife was evident.
- While the floor was descent sized, it still is lacking the creative presence of the major studios and companies. Even though some of the biggest movies in geekdom are opening like Thor, Green Lantern, and Captain America, you would never know it with the lack of promotion. There is nothing unique or superior to the SDCC experience at this Con. My suggestion would be for the organizers to offer something that can’t be found anywhere else. Otherwise this convention experience is just a very watered down version of the larger cons. If you’ve not been to other cons then you might enjoy this. Con veterans might find this sophomoric.
- While the Autograph section was huge, the level of actors were ‘C’ list at best. Tricia Helfer was the only actress of any recent success and the rest were hard to recognize without their ‘claim to fame’ head shots. These were bottom of the barrel celebs barely worth a walk thru. You know it’s bad when Lou Ferrigno and Richard Hatch are not in attendance.
- The panels were sparse and uninspired. There wasn’t a single one that I felt remotely interested in attending. I’m sure they were meaningful to someone but I decided to use my time more productively.
- I think it is way over priced. At $35 a day, the experience was more like $15. Fortunately, my press pass gained me free access or I would have been pretty bummed.
Magnum PI’s Ferrari? Really???
Boys there is plenty of swag to go around
So while the Anaheim Comic Con has a long way to go, it’s still an enjoyable distraction for a weekend experience as long as you go with low expectations.