This past weekend, the Chicago Comic Con and Fangoria's Weekend of Horrors were both in town. As I could only attend one event, the choice became obvious after comparing the guest list; I would be attending the Chicago Comic Con.
The last con I attended was the 2009 Star Trek Convention in Las Vegas, so I guess I had some unrealistic expectations for this show. I knew the actors would be in the vendor's room so I was prepared for the inevitable long lines. What I wasn't prepared for was the confusion on the part of the people running the show and the complete debacle of the guest panels. At all the other shows that I've been to, the guest panels have always been handled the same way. There was assigned seating up front for those who chose to purchase it and then, everything else was general admission. The room was open and you could come and go as you please. This was not the case here.
I had everything planned out before I arrived at the show. I knew which panels I would go and see and which autographs I would get. The first panel I wanted to attend was Julie Benz at Noon, however I was still waiting in the autograph line when it started, so I missed out on that one. No big deal, at least I would get my movie poster signed. After getting the autographs I came to the show for, I decided to beat the rush and head upstairs to get an early seat to see Sir Patrick Stewart. I went up at 1:15 for the 2:00 start and here is where the trouble began.
|The DeLorean Time Machine|
You see, the powers that be decided to clear the auditorium after each panel. At this time, the line for Patrick Stewart was already wrapped around the entire floor... twice. Now, there were multiple lines for multiple events and very few Comic Con Employees who knew which line was which and were it went - not many people in line knew the answer to those questions either. Needless to say, Patrick Stewart's panel started about fifteen minutes late, which made it run fifteen minutes longer, which left no time to find the second room to see LeVar Burton. They put him in a room about one fifth the size of the main auditorium. It was a sight to see everyone try to squeeze into this smaller room which was already full to begin with.
After this panel concluded with news of a new Reading Rainbow being produced, it was time to find the line for Christopher Lloyd back in the main room. At this time, the line to see Bruce Campbell, which was immediately after the Christopher Lloyd panel, appeared to be just as long as Patrick Stewart's line was, and this was over an hour in advance. The panel started late, which was expected due to the mismanagement, but what wasn't expected was that they decided to cut Christopher Lloyd's panel short because they were so far behind schedule. At this time, they kicked us all out of the room once again and there looked to be little hope at getting back in to see Bruce Campbell, so I didn't even try. I just checked out the DeLorean, looked around the vendor's room and decided to call it a day.
But what I found to be most disappointing with whole event, wasn't all the waiting in lines or all the mismanagement. It was the "feel" of the whole show. I don't really know how to express this. The Star Trek show in Vegas had this unique feel, it was a type of camaraderie and good will that was nowhere to be found at the Comic Con. It was like we were all there for the same reason and we all were having a great time (I guess it didn't hurt that I was there for the whole four day event and it was a non-stop party). This feeling wasn't present at Comic Con. It was just hurry up and stand in line and then stand in the next line. I don't know, I probably wasn't able to get this down right; and I probably had unrealistic expectations. At least I got that movie poster signed...