Sunday Roundtable: Lets Talk Comic Conventions!

New York Comic COnSundays are known for folks gathering around tables on television and pontificating about some of the hottest topics out there, offering their expertise. We bring that tradition to Graphic Policy as the team gathers to debate in our Sunday Roundtable.

On tap this week?

Convention season is kicking off. How many of you go to conventions? If you don’t why not? If you do go, what do you enjoy?

Mr. H: I thoroughly enjoy meeting and interviewing the guests and talent. It’s a place to interact with my heroes on an uncommon basis. I have lots of cons lined up this season. Bring it on..

Daphne: My sister and I are making it a tradition to attend Rose City Comic Con every year, in cosplay. Last year I was a magical girl version of Harley Quinn (it was nice being unique amidst a bunch of other Harlies!) and she was Sam Carter, from Stargate SG-1.
I love attending panels and seeing all the really creative costumes people make, as well as taking pictures with/of as many people as possible…and I also love getting free stuff and buying things I can’t easily find anywhere else. I think I came home with five new Funko pop vinyls and about as many prints for my wall last year. The whole atmosphere is really fun, and we really love cosplaying. I think that might be my favorite part overall.

Daphne: I will say the one thing I don’t like about conventions is panels that get too…self-congratulatory, or when all the questions from fans are the same. Carroll Spinney (Big Bird/Oscar the Grouch) was at RCCC last year and so many grown adults were pushing to get in front of kids to tell him identical stories about the episode of Sesame Street where Mr. Hooper dies, which…is important and meaningful but there’s kids there too who want to interact with him and ask questions. If he was that influential in your formative years, maybe you should let some kids who are IN their formative years have a shot at him first, you know? That’s the one thing about cons that I would like to see change – some polite but firm rule that panel questions have to skip the “I love you so much” bit and go onto something more interesting to the celebrity and the attendees.

Brett: Do you regularly go to panels? It’s so rare for me to, I can probably count the number of panels I’ve sat through on one hand.

Daphne: Depends on the convention and the panels on offer. Last year all I did was go to Robert Englund’s panel, Carroll Spinney’s panel, and the Kaijucast podcast’s screening of the Godzilla documentary their host filmed. I have to be really, really ridiculously into something to go to the panel for it…or just need an excuse to sit down for an hour. Sorry, Rob.

flamecon featuredSteven: I really enjoying meeting the artists as well as seeing all the cool collectibles and toys and figures. Cosplay is always awesome to look at. A lot of these guys and girls are so creative and are always trying to find new takes on classic characters. I eventually wish to be able to meet actual celebrity guests and someday be able to interview them as well

Steven: Last year I was lucky enough to meet Stan Lee and Get his autograph and this year I am really hoping to meet William Shatner.

Brett: So jealous of Lee. He’s one I really want to meet.

Steven: Madison you are right, it all depends on the Con. Boston had more current celebrity guests or bigger ones i should say as their budget allows for it whereas RI Comic Con has more celebrity guests who are still sort of relevant but just barely wh…See More

Mr. H: A friend of mine and I interviewed Carroll Spinney. What an interesting man. We asked him about how Sesame Street has evolved over the years and even the controversy it’s been through. He was very candid. I of course have been a comic fan since the womb but to my buddy this was a big deal.

Madison: I’ve really enjoyed the conventions I’ve gone to the past couple of years. I’m fairly new to the whole comic scene but I think it depends on the con as to what I’ve liked about them. NYCC is incredible just for the sheer mass of it…there’s an unbelievable amount of stuff to see and do, between the artists’ alley and the show floor alone. I also went to Dragon*Con last year, and I enjoyed that as well, but I definitely attended more panels at that one. At NYCC, it’s easy to get caught up in waiting for panels, but at Dragon*Con they limit the amount of time you can wait in line and clear the rooms before almost every panel, which is nice. I also really enjoyed the academic aspect of Dragon*Con. This has pretty much been a roundabout way of saying that each con has something that makes it unique, so that kind of dictates what I’ve enjoyed about them.

San_Diego_Comic-Con_International_logo.svgBrett: I’ve always wanted to go to Dragon*Con.

Madison: I actually think I liked it better than NYCC–it’s more spread out and I loved the academic aspect of it.

Brett: One day I’ll go. I’ve heard good things.

Madison: My advice is don’t go to Harry Potter World and Magic Kingdom in the two days before and then drive from Orlando to Atlanta. Other than that, everything came up roses.

Brett: Good to know. Though I am known to do crazier.

Madison: It’s doable. Maybe not smart, but doable, haha

Ashley: Dragon Con is fun (ten year vet here), but oh man, it is a LOT. I’d still pick it over NYCC, especially the comics track.

Madison: Maybe I’ll see you there this year! Maybe I saw you there last year and didn’t know!

Ashley: Potentially! Me and Tini Howard realized a couple of weeks ago that we had done the Dawn Look-a-Like contest at the same times, but we didn’t officially meet until last year.

Madison: If you went to Tini’s morning panel this past year (I cannot for the life of me remember what the overall topic was), we were definitely in the same room.

Ashley: Oh god, I don’t think I made it to any morning panels this past year between late nights, drinking and terrible roommates.

Madison: I think it was morning-ish. I was so exhausted by the time the whole thing was over. I had no idea what to expect and it was much more of a party atmosphere than I would ever have guessed.

Ashley: Well like… Day Dragon Con and Night Dragon Con are two different Dragon Cons.

Madison: I…definitely learned that.

Elana: You guys a cracking me up! That con sounds amazing. Shame in super far from me. The only con far away I’ve considered is that geek women con in Seattle. Anyone visit that one?

Javier: I’ve gone to the NYCC a few times. Good show but it gets so crowded nowadays; it’s more like a trip to an amusement park. Lately I’ve been going to local smaller cons if they have someone I want to meet lined up. I might hit this weekend’s Apple con to meet Neal Adams.

Ashley: I love cons! I’ve been going to conventions for well over a decade and they’re always some of my favorite things to do. I especially like to go off the beaten path a little and find panels and stuff that people wouldn’t especially focus on. Like I’ve spent the past couple of Dragon Cons down in the basement of the Hyatt on the comics track or that time I tried my best to go to all the non-Sherlock panels at 221B Con.

Elana: I like your approach

Ashley: Elana Probably because I’m a nerd and I like panels. I remember that was brought up as one of my positive attributes at an outlet I used to write for because a lot of the con coverage posts I didn’t write were more industry focused and I went to a lot more fan run cons than the editorial staff.

wizard worldElana: I love panels! I know I’ve broken news there.

Ashley: I still have one seeeeekrit I’ve been holding in since last Dragon Con at one panel that I hope is still in the works.

Elana: Flame Con is the new LGBTQ geek con and it’s the best con ever. It’s actually the only truly inclusive LGBTQ space I’ve been in as an adult.

There is a community feeling that’s unmistakable. The panels were intelligent: topics like how do you develop a great superhero costume, transgender narratives, “No More Mister Nice Gay” about violent and non-idealized characters (it’s where I met the creators of Bash Back).

Lots of great artists selling their comics and hand made merch you won’t find anywhere else.

I finally got my Kevin Wada commission there! Top rate, major league talent was there!

Honestly I cannot say enough about Flame Con.

I still enjoy NYCC and thank god for the press passes– if nothing else it gives me an opportunity to ask questions to Cartoon Network show runners in a roundtable (“go team Venture!”) But every year is a harder and harder fight to get into the panels I want. And I’m not even talking about getting into the panels that are DC comics talking about how cool DC is. Or some big headliner panel. I’m just trying to get into the women in comics panels, the diversity panels. The lines to get into those are around the block. They need to make video games a separate con to open up more space for us. They need to put my women and diversify panels in the BIG rooms. New York needs a bigger convention center.

I enjoyed NYCCs Special Edition con this summer. It was a con just focused on comics. But I hate being indoors on a beautiful day.

Ashley: I’m heavily considering going to Flame Con this summer over NYCC. Partially because it would be the same weekend as NXT Takeover Brooklyn, but also because of all the great stuff I heard about it from last year.

Elana: Come to Flame Con! Seriously! It’s like nothing else.

Elana: Oh and don’t care who you are or where you are but if you don’t go to artist alley to shake hands with the talent then you are doing it wrong.

Even if you don’t have money to buy anything. Artists still truly appreciate having their fans tell them how much they appreciate their art.

You can buy things for a lot less money than you think you can. Even if it’s just an awesome sticker that’s still money directly going in to the hands of the talent.

Ashley: This is probably why I love HeroesCon so much as a convention. Most of the con IS that artist alley experience.

Elana: Anyone know what con I might have been to in the Richmond VA (maybe?) area in like 97? It was my first convention. I went with my friends and I had done literally no preparations. 4 teens in 1 hotel room. I had a great time. I got to see the premiere of Tromeo and Juliette. I met James Gunn before he was famous. I remember his suit was too big.

If I recall the con was light on comics, heavy on the fantasy stuff.

Christopher: I usually go to the one small local one, since it is more about the comics than trying to sell Hollywood. Which honestly is nice since you don’t have fight through a massive crowd to walk around. That was one of the things I didn’t like about going some of the larger cons. You try to move, and you end up just colliding with people which makes you seem rude.

Alex: I’ve…. never actually been to a con.

Living in the UK when I was younger, I never really knew of any cons in my area (down in Deepest Darkest Devon – I almost sound like Stephen Merchant when I talk at times), and where I live now there’s only a couple cons in easy travel distance.

Both are relatively new within the past five years or so, and I’ve never been able to make it for various non-con related travel reasons (apparently I need to go back to England every now and then).

Daphne: So when are we having GPCon?

Alex: September 13th 2019

Daphne: Good, I need to schedule my panel on why Godzilla can defeat any other fictional character.

Brett: I’ve contemplated how a virtual convention would work. It could be fun.

Alex: I’m genuinely curious now as to what you’ve thought about.

Brett: Alex How it’d work mostly. What it might involve.

Alex: I think that’d be a really cool idea to do.

Mr. H: Woah is this a site comic con?

Brett: Very long time far down the road. One of many things I’m sure will never happen.

Patrick: Growing up in San Diego, I have only ever been to the San Diego Comic Con. I started going almost 25 years ago, back when it was tiny and you got in for free if you dressed up. My mom used to go with me from vendor to vendor and make lists of what i wanted to buy. Then at lunch I would figure out how much money I had and decide which comics I really wanted. I miss the old Con, when Preview night was just getting in an hour early on Thursday, when you could precisely register as soon as you got there. This is the first year I wasn’t able to get tickets.