Silicon Valley Comic Con returned to San Jose this past weekend for its third annual show. The brain child of Steve Wozniak and Trip Hunter, SVCC focuses on pop culture and technology and was once again held in the McEnery Convention Center. Did it deliver the goods like it did the past two previous years or did it take a step backwards? Keep reading to find out my impressions.
The first thing I noticed this year was a lack of a central theme. The first year in 2016 was advertised as a Back to the Future reunion with major guests like Michael J. Fox, Lea Thompson, and Christopher Lloyd. Last year there was a major focus on Star Trek with several stars from the franchise such as William Shatner, Jonathan Frakes, and Gates McFadden in attendance. This year however, there was no one fandom that was placed in the proverbial spot light. I never thought I would miss something so seemingly meaningless, but yet I did. Having a theme gave SVCC a somewhat unique niche and I hope a theme (Ahem, Star Wars) returns next year.
Some of this years more popular guests included David Tennant (Dr. Who), Mads Mikkelsen (Galen Erso, Hannibal), Sean Astin (LOTR, Stranger Things), Stan Lee (Marvel creator), Christina Rick, (Adams Family) Daniel Logan (young Boba Fett), Temuera Morrison (Jango Fett), Ian McDiarmid (The Emperor), Katee Sackhoff (Starbuck), Ray Park (Darthmaul) and Krysten Ritter (Jessica Jones). This is a good group of actors, but the previous two years had a stronger line up in my humble opinion.
I attended all three days for the first time and I have to be honest when I say that attendance seemed to be lower than previous years. According to SVCC officials attendance increased to upwards of 70,000 this year but I personally feel the crowds were larger last year. Maybe that was due to events being spread out to more areas this year. The autograph area was definitely less crowded this year than in the past. I personally saw who I would consider a headliner of the show just sitting there with not a single person in line. I also know of one major star that got up and left an hour early because there were so few people seeking his or her autograph. Even Saturday, which is historically the busiest day of any given convention, seemed slow in the autograph area compared to previous conventions that I have attended.
I did have the pleasure of attending two panels that I thoroughly enjoyed. First up was a Star Wars panel that included Mads Mikkelsen, Daniel Logan, Temuera Morrison, and Ray Park. All the guests had some great behind the scene Star Wars stories which I really enjoyed hearing. Daniel Logan stood out the most and had the entire room bursting in laughter. The second panel I attended was with Krysten Ritter and David Tennant both from the hit Netflix show Jessica Jones. Again, both actors had great stories and David Tennant really played to the crowd. I have to say that these two panels were probably the highlight of SVCC for me. I was also fortunate to attend a screening of the upcoming David Tennant movie Bad Samaritan. Tennant showed up briefly and spoke to the audience before the movie and director Dean Devlin held a Q and A session after the movie. You can check out my review of this very good movie Here.
My biggest complaint of the show would have to be the pricing of the autographs. Sean Astin for example was charging $50 on Friday, but on Saturday that same autograph would cost you $75! I’m not singling out Sean, most if not all the autograph prices seemed to jump an additional $25. I’ve never seen such price jumps in the middle of a show and I pray this is not a future trend. It was almost as if they knew attendance was down and they had to make up for it by increasing their prices. Hmmm. To further add to the confusion, the price on the SVCC app had the original price listed in one area, and the more expensive price listed in another area?! When this was brought to SVCC attention they only shook theirs heads and shrugged their shoulders. No one could explain how or why this price increase had occurred. Sure you could have bought some autograph tickets in advance but then you would be paying an additional convenience charge thanks to Growtix, the company that was selling the tickets. Overall the autograph ticket pricing was a big disappointment. Shout out to Katee Sackhoff for keeping her autograph price at an affordable $40 through the weekend.
Overall I had a great time at this years SVCC. Did I have as much fun as the two previous years? I would honestly have to say no, but that is coming from my own personal perspective. A dedicated theme, consistent pricing and better overall organization would have gone a long way in me having an even more positive experience. Nothing was so terrible that I would not attend again next year. As a matter of fact, I can’t wait to see what SVCC has to offer in 2019.
Thanks to my road dog @TimD249 for the use of some pictures
You can follow me at @Darthmaul1309