I gotta be honest with you. I think this show is just running out of steam.
Last year I was a bit more optimistic. I figured, they’ve just shrunk down to a manageable size, getting ready to reboot and grow in the future. I’m not so sure now. Cleveland comic con is mostly a vendor show. There is an artist alley, and they still make a slight effort to bring in media guests, but it’s all people who have been out this way already. It’s all been done before.
It’s also noteworthy to observe the lack of cosplay guests. Not that this is a big deal per se, but last year they had them advertised. They didn’t follow through, and there were none actually in attendance. This year they didn’t even bother. That’s shrinkage, not growth. Speaking of shrinkage, I couldn’t help but notice sparse crowds. I can’t tell if that’s con fatigue or confusion. There were two other events going on at the same time in different buildings and I personally had a hard time figuring out where to go to get into the comic con.
Still there were friends there to hang out with and a costume contest to play in. Josh and Steph showed up and we wandered the halls as a deadpool group. I found a handful of comics in the dollar bins – nothing discounted any deeper than that. The guys at the lego booth waved me over and took photos before presenting me with a Lego Deadpool figure – the one my costume was based off of.
I’m not sure what to think at this point. I decided to come out this year because I hadn’t secured a Sunday pass for Cinema Wasteland and Sundays are usually a drag there anyhow, with the hotel emptying out and people leaving. The problem is, I’m getting that same vibe here. It’s just one step up from the Harper flea market type shows. Not even panels anymore (though the strange NES gameshow they were doing was fun to watch….at least for a few minuets). I’m not sure how much longer this show survives.
We’ll have fun while it lasts.
It’s very strange, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a convention shrink in the way Cleveland Comic Con has. Still, it may have been just what it needed – a new tweak to the formula that finally makes this convention work.
Cleveland Comic con has had a bumpy road – with growing pains exacerbated by disorganisation and a grander scope then they can facilitate. I think they tried too much too soon and it has constantly dogged the quality of this convention and kept me away quite a bit. This year was different, everything moved smoothly. It feels like the convention dialed back some of that scope and is able to better accommodate the type of crowd it receives. That doesn’t preclude growing in the future, but they’re not ready yet – and the smaller two building-one stage set up they had running here suits them very nicely.
They gone out of their way to bring in some interesting guests as well – Sam Jones was there, overcharging for his Flash Gordon autograph. They brought in some minor characters from the Walking Dead as well. Vincent Ward and Santiago Cirillo are both actors I’ve already got on my walking dead poster… Santiago did Concoction a year ago and was just as much fun this time around – even with a lot of the same stories… I wandered into his panel, and he stopped dead pointed at me and yelled “yes! Slime me!”
That’s right, Cleveland comic con was finally the big reveal for my slimer costume.
Slimer was actually a big hit with everybody – freaking out some of the venders and drawing laughter and applause from Jones over at his Flash Gordon table.One young man stopped by me and asked “is it worth it? . I admit, it was hotter than expected, but absolutely. He is a remarkably fun character and you can get really silly with the body language – the people at the ghostbusters booth lost their minds over me!
I actually really dig the way they handled this costume contest – with prejudging around one, and everybody lined up for that. It would’ve been nicer however, if they had made the instructions about this clearer – I honestly just stumbled into the correct line and had I arrived much later I would’ve been excluded.
But all in all, I like prejudging – they give you a chance to really connect with the judges and explain what you have done and how you’ve done it without being under the pressure or time crunch of a costume parade. A couple hours later we are all lined up and doing our thing on stage which once again, a great deal of fun… It didn’t occur to them to let me speak or take a microphone, so everything was non-verbal – everything was expression and body language in this suit. It’s an interesting challenge, and I think I like it.
I finally got around to replacing my copy of Diane Carey’s Final Frontier – the one that I gave to my best friends ex-girlfriend. I always figured I just grab another one off the shelf of the local used bookstore, and hadn’t come across one since! Next to it in the paperback bin was an interesting looking copy of the Exorcist. I topped off my bag with a copy of the Art of Atari. I’ve been jonesing for this book since they announced it, and gem city had its usual excellent prices!
I’m really happy about what Cleveland comic con has become. It’s actually morphed into exactly the sort of show that I really enjoy – and I think now, it’ll have a better chance at growing organically… and that is something I deafinately want to see!
However, I’ve been running into the promoter at events all year and he’s been constantly inviting me to come check it out. Finally, my attitude had been one of wait and see. If I was available I might go. It turns out that the day of the con, I was free in the morning and mid afternoon, but would have to leave before the costume contest. I was still on the fence, thinking it might be best to relax during the day seeing as I was going to be working as a makeup artist for a zombie themed event with the Boy Scouts that night, but it seemed like tons of my friends were going and they finally convinced me to head out to the Berea Fairgrounds.
I think Cleveland Comic Con has it’s heart in the right place, but they think bigger than what their show actually is. The con takes up two small buildings at the fairgrounds (while the local haunted house takes up several more behind it) dividing the show between the artist’s alley/event room and the dealer’s room/cosplay stage. I was genuinely surprised at how small that dealers room was. If you’re coming out to shop, you’re going to be a bit dissapointed. I think Lake Effect has a similar number of vendors, possibly a few more in a far more enclosed space. I certainly was able to find better deals at Lake effect anyhow. No quarter bins, not even true fifty cent bins- one table advertising half off the dollar bins (and I missed them the first three times I went around).
But if you’re not here for shopping, then what else is there? The promoter here is a regular at Cinema Wasteland and obviously knows the importance of programming. There’s at least two if not three things going on at all times. There’s some good panels here too, see for yourself;
The problem is that this is all happening in one building (all but the cosplay). It’s an open space that they have separated with dividers and curtains. This does nothing to hinder sound. While I was attending Knightmage’s panel I couldn’t hear half of the time because of the muddled sounds coming from the other event areas in the building. This is a serious problem for a con that want’s to showcase it’s programming.
The kids costume contest was well run and fun, though I was surprised that there weren’t more children there. Cleveland Comic Con is a BIG cosplay event, boasting far more than the average cosplayer attendance (I notice Frankenberry put in a last minuet appearance with his dragon rider). Considering the wider spaces there (even in the smaller buildings) it’s a good place for it. Walking around in my Mr. Freeze costume, I never once felt crowded or like I was about to bump into someone.
With all the adults surrounding us in costume it seemed a little strange to me that there weren’t more kids. On the other hand, we saw more than a few running around and I noticed Baconpool running to take photos with every little Deadpool he saw, declaring “I can’t afford any more child support!”
In the end, I found this to be a fairly average con. It’s not the nightmare it’s been reported to be in the past, but still experiencing some growing pains and bumps in the road. At three years, the logistical problems should have been ironed out by now and I think a show this size would still be better served in a hotel rather than the fairgrounds. Wait to grow a bit guys.
Not sure if I’ll be back next year or not. I’m trying to reduce my number of convention appearances and this one might not make the cut – then again, if I do some crazy big costume, this just might be the ideal venue to premier it. We’ll see.
You just know this isn’t going to end well. I love the gender bent Cap and Winter soldier. Cap especially really knows how to work that costume – this was a great idea. A marvelous Wonder Woman costume and one of our cosplay judges.The shield in particular fascinated me. I’ve never played with worbola myself, but I like the muted colors and really need to do a black wash like this on some of my armors. Supernatural fans, take note. THIS is how you gender bend a Winchester. You know Supergirl is vulnerable to magic right? The goggles start to get a little sore sometimes. I think it may actually look better with them pushed up like this… Someone had to explain this was a creature from Five Nights at Freddy’s. I think I saw one at Tricon too, but didn’t realize what it was. I’m honestly wondering if this is the same Q that I used to see at Star Trek cons back in the 90’s…. Really is one of my favorite Doctors. maybe I should have taken the helmet off for this picture? I was really stoked to see this Gambit. For some reason, this character can really work with a gender bend. I love the take on the top, the patterns in the blue and the quilted look of the pink. The shiny Americian Dream costume really stood out no matter where this group went. The look on Robin’s face just SCREAMS “I am in SO much trouble.”. Condensation. Cool day, but I kept getting a little warm…. Chill….