The second annual Silicon Valley Comic Convention was held this past weekend in San Jose. Steve Wozniak (Woz) continued his tech, comic, and nerd showcase that he and Stan Lee started last year at the McEnery Convention Center. Fans and nerds alike had the opportunity to meet some of their favorite stars, see some cool tech, and attend a panel that matched their particular interest. I personally had a great time but had one major disappointment that I will discuss later. Unfortunately due to a scheduling conflict I was only able to attend for one day this year so I undoubtedly missed out on some of the cool stuff.
I attended on Saturday which is typically the busiest day of any comic convention. The crowd, while robust, was very manageable to navigate. One of the major changes this year was the fact they moved most of the celebrity signings off of the main floor into a separate adjoining area. This helped to alleviate some of the traffic on the main sales floor as well as add additional vendors and artists. There were noticeably more celebrities in attendance this year. Some of the more popular celebrities that you could meet and greet were astronaut Buzz Aldrin, Steven Yuen (Glenn from The Walking Dead), Robert Englund (Freddy Krueger), Tom Felton (Draco Malfoy), Adam West/Burt Ward (1960’s Batman and Robin), several Star Trek Next Generation actors/actresses and semi-regular con attendee William Shatner (Captain Kirk). Carrie Fisher was scheduled to attend this show but unfortunately we all know what happened just a few months ago. For what it was worth her dog, Gary, was in attendance. I don’t quite know how I feel about it, but you could pay to have your picture taken with Gary Fisher if you so wished. Other photo ops with several of the attending celebrities were also available for purchase.
I personally like meeting and greeting stars from my favorite shows and obtaining their autographs on various memorabilia (mainly Funko Pops) so I spent a majority of my time in autograph lines. I was especially excited to meet Adam West/Burt Ward and have them sign their respective Pop figures for me. They were number one on my priority list which brings me to the disappointing part of my SVCC experience. Since they were number one on my list, I immediately lined up and was third in line. Adam West was charging $80 and Burt Ward was charging $60 but here’s the catch: If you brought your own “premium item” to be signed instead of the stock pictures that they were offering, you would be charged an additional $40 per item. Holy surcharges Batman!! To their credit the program guide did state there could be a possible charge for premium items, but what makes an item premium vs non premium? As much as I tried to justify the purchase, I just couldn’t bring myself to pay an additional $80 on top of what they were already charging so I got out of line. I have been attending various conventions since 1994 and I have never heard of such a surcharge. Maybe in the sports world, but not comic conventions. To my knowledge no other celebrities were charging extra for an item that you already owned and wanted to get signed. I want to be clear when I say this had absolutely nothing to do with SVCC policies. All celebrities have the right to charge us fans whatever they want. I only hope that this is not going to become the norm when it comes to celebrity signatures.
After the sting of not getting two of the autographs that I really wanted (which I now regret not doing to some extent) I moved on to have a great con. I obtained all of the other signatures that I wanted, saw some very cool cosplay and met some new nerd friends along the way. The autograph lines were never too long and the staff and volunteers were very knowledgeable and helpful with scheduling questions. This year they even had small food carts just outside of the venue. This had been one of the major complaints of last year that was thankfully addressed.
This con was a great warm up for the fast approaching San Diego Comic Con. SVCC still had the feel of a smaller convention, but it seems to be growing in popularity. According to SVCC officials attendance grew to over 65,000 this year. Last year’s theme was Back to the Future and this year’s theme was “The Future of Humanity: Where will be be in 2075?” This theme went well with the featured Space village, NASA panels, and virtual reality to name a few of the the actor actions. There definitely was a plethora of activities to keep your nerd self busy. With more celebrities, vendors, cosplayers and artists showing up this year, I can’t wait to see what they have in store for us next year. Can I please suggest a Star Wars theme? Come on Woz, make it happen.
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