Last weekend, I went to Indiana’s first ever Comic Con! Held at the Indianapolis Convention Center (where Gen Con is held), Indy Comic Con promised to be a fun little convention. As it was in its first year, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but I planned on having a fun time anyway – after all, how can you not have fun dressed up as Pinkie Pie?
A friend of mine (Ross, whom I met at Gen Con and became friends with thanks to the magic of the internet) and I planned on going all three days, and Mr. Crafty Nerd and another friend made plans to join us on Saturday and possibly Sunday. And come Friday afternoon, Ross and I ventured to the Convention Center to see what Comic Con would be like.
The first thing we ended up doing was waiting in line – despite having bought our tickets online. Comic Con used Ticketmaster to handle the registration process (which made paying for our tickets painful, what with all the fees), and sent us a strip of tickets like we were going to a concert. (Tickets don’t fit terribly well into badge holders.) Once we got to the convention, there were a number of lines you could enter to get into the convention, all snaking around together – we ended up going through the will-call line, despite having our tickets already, and then got funneled out when getting to the part where we’d need to pay for tickets. It wasn’t a long process, as we got there maybe an hour after the convention started, but it was still somewhat confusing and tedious. We had our tickets checked, and then received three wristbands – one for each day of the convention.
The section of the convention center that Comic Con was being held in was one of the exhibition halls (D and E, for those familiar with the convention center), and that was all. One part of the hall was sectioned off for the theater (where panels and the costume contest were held), another was sectioned off for the entry lines and ticket purchasing, and the rest was exhibitor booths and artist tables. All in all, it was… small. I made one circuit around the exhibitor area, bought a handful of things, and decided I was done with the booths. After a few hours at Comic Con on Friday, Ross and I decided we’d save our energy for Saturday and went home.
We got to the convention center around 10 or 11 am, and as we ambled our way over to where Comic Con was being held, we noticed there were way more people there than on Friday. I mean, the con was practically a ghost town, compared to what I’m used to with Gen Con and I-CON and such, and then Saturday? BOOM. Everyone wanted to be there Saturday. Ross and I made one circuit through the main room where the convention was being held, pushed along by the insane stream of people surging through the aisles, made a quick stop at the costume contest registration booth, and then didn’t spend much time inside the main area for the rest of the con. We weren’t at the convention for more than an hour when we heard that they were turning people away at the doors, and the convention was at capacity. Apparently the organizers didn’t realize that 10,000 people wanted to attend Indiana’s first Comic Con. (They also picked a pretty poor weekend to host it, as the majority of the convention center was host to a public librarian conference that weekend.) Bryan, Ross, Gina, and I ended up spending the majority of our time roaming the halls and taking pictures and talking with people about how crazy things were, how the convention could have been planned better, and so on. After lunch, and more wandering around the convention center, Ross and I figured we should go wait in line for costume contest pre-judging.
The line was INSANE. I think over half the people in line hadn’t actually registered for the contest, and about 15 minutes into when pre-judging was supposed to start, rumors floated down the line that pre-judging was canceled, they were just going to send a judge down the line to check everyone out, and that anyone who didn’t have a number wasn’t getting in. After the abbreviated pre-judging process (where a judge came by and asked us about our costumes, what our inspiration was, did we make them ourselves), we all filed into the theater (which was packed! apparently everyone wanted to see the costume contest), all nearly one hundred and thirty of us. They didn’t realize so many people were interested in participating! Everyone in the contest had amazing costumes (I was in line next to a girl dressed as Toothless who made her costume in A WEEK holy crap), and it was fun getting to prance across the stage with Ross as Rainbow Factory Dash. However, the costume contest could also have been handled a little better… By the end of Saturday, the four of us were exhausted, and decided it’d probably be better not to go on Sunday.
All in all? For the inaugural year of Indiana Comic Con, while it had its issues – mostly organization related – I had a lot of fun. I got to see lots of cool costumes, and being part of the first year of what promises to be a big convention was pretty exciting as well. I got to meet one of the writers/artists for the My Little Pony comic, I got to see lots of fun art and cool toys, and I had loads of fun (as always) dressing as Pinkie Pie. I think I will go back next year – here’s hoping they take up more of the convention center, though. The rough start for Indiana Comic Con makes me a little leery of going to Indy Pop Con at the end of May, even though there’ll be many big names there (like Sylvester McCoy and Nicholas Brendon! XANDER OMG) – instead of three days, I’m going to stick to Saturday – and definitely register ahead of time, in hopes it holds my spot. I do believe they’re taking up more of the convention center, which will be a good thing – I anticipate Pop Con being very popular.
Alright, enough rambling about the convention – on to the pictures!