Lake Effect isn’t what it used to be. This was one of my favorite shows for awhile, because of the charm of having a free comic con at a movie theater, as well as the vast array of deals all over the place and marvelous programming. I’m glad the show has grown, and really needed to move – but since heading over to the hotel and transitioning into that sort of con, it’s identity has changed a great deal.
Gone are the amazing deals and cheap finds. As emphasis has moved off of programming, panels and screenings have vanished more and more until the event really has begun to resemble a Jeff Harper show… that is to say, a giant swap meet that you pay admission for.
There’s still a fun vibe here, it attracts cosplayers because of the costume contest and there’s friends to meet. My buddy Rhonda and I hung out with Dirk Manning a little bit, and chatted up several other folks we saw wondering around. Free stuff was in abundance this year too, at every door there seemed to be a person stationed with a bag of pins to handout (poor Rhonda spent all day adding buttons to my Comicon backpack) and on the flyer table full of freebies there were Green Lantern batteries for Heroclix! I was so excited to finally grab one of these! One person walked up to me and handed over a button with Barry Allen’s lightning bolt insignia on it, and informed me I’d been Flashed.
To my great delight, my buddy Jim won the costume contest for his Dr Forster (from mystery science theatre 3000) costume. There were a lot of great outfits this year and it seems like the convention is starting to fill up again. Attendance was down last couple of years but this time around there seemed to be more people walking around and that’s good… I wasn’t sure how that would pan out considering there are a lot of folks pissed about the entrance fee increasing this year to 8 dollars for such a small show.
I’ve got a lot of affection for Lake Effect, but I may be skipping it next year. There’s still fun to be had here, but I’m not a big fan of what it’s becoming. We’ll see what happens in 2019.
I mentioned yesterday that my Ock suit has grown so cumbersome that I required a handler. You may have seen Rhonny Reaper around the net at Dollar Bin Horror or haunting the depths of Cinema Wasteland, but Sunday was her very first time out to Lake Effect Comic Con – and I thought it would be interesting to get a fresh perspective one it. Here’s her review.
This year was my first year attending Lake Effect Comic Con and it was a blast. Matthew told me that in past years it had been held at a movie theater, but now the Holiday Inn in Mentor is its home. I’m kind of sad I missed it before because I think the theater sounds like a lovely spot for a con, but this was nice as well. It seemed smaller than I imagined. The show was not crowded, but we did get there late so I’m assuming the early birds had already dispersed.
I myself had a fantastic time! I went with Matthew acting as his “hands” so he could be Doc Ock. EVERYONE wanted pictures with Matt when we first got there, so it took us a minute to get into the show room. I’ve always loved horror but just recently started working on a horror comic selection, so this was the first time I knew what I was looking for…and I found it in abundance! So many wonderful golden age horror comics for $1 and $2 each! I also found a copy of My Friend Dahmer at the Comics Are Go table, thanks to Matt’s keen eyes. Eric over there gave me the sweetest deal on the book!
Towards the end, they held a costume contest for all the cosplayers, and everyone looked fantastic!!! From the little Wonder Woman to the Sailor Moon, everyone came out in style! I myself came as Lydia Deetz (from Beetlejuice), which I thought was more on the simple side of cosplay…which is why I was shocked the judges picked me for female adult! I’m still in shock…but happy as ever about the killer Deadpool mask I received as the prize (I’m more into horror comics than classic super heroes…but I mean who doesn’t LOVE some Deadpool?)! They also gave a special prize to the Yip Yip alien costume from Sesame Street (which really gave Matt a run for his money) because it was GLORIUOS! You just had to! All in all, this con was a blast and gave me my best haul ever! Can’t wait till the next one!!!
I almost didn’t make it. It seemed like everything was working against us. First thing in the morning my bald cap went missing (How does that even happen? I deliberately dug it up and put in the helmet the night before!). Church went long, and I had to help tear down for next week. We had to stop at a costume shop to replace my bald cap We had to stop for a potty brake for Maddie, one of my boots cracked down the side (the wife went above and beyond the call of duty by running me out some wooden skewers to pull it together), and finally, the GPS took ups to the old address (Change you facebook location guys!), we added an extra five minuets to find Lake Effect’s new home at the Mentor Holiday in.
We arrived about 45 minuets later than I intended, but I’m so glad we made it in.
Lake Effect has become a tradition for us, and it’s still a good show. They continue to try hard to be more than just a bazaar and junk show. Despite the move from the theater they’ve been holding the show at, there were still panals and movie screenings. I’ll admit, I’d love to see a dedicated movie room though – they had a clever set up in an alcove with a table and chairs, but it lacks the proper screening room feel. That’s something I’m going to miss about the old theater location.
Their dealers room setup however, is something else. Most conventions will grab a large open space, with rows of dealer tables lined up side by side (sometimes spilling out into the hallways), creating a maze of retailers, a labyrinth of con swag you can lose yourself in. Lake Effect occupies three medium size ballrooms, each leading into the next like russian nesting dolls. It contributes to a feeling of discovery, like exploring one of those odd shops where something new and interesting is laying around every corner I really like this set up — it makes the con feel bigger than it is, while still maintaining the intimate feel we’ve come to expect from Lake Effect.
The one thing I was worried about though – deals. There are still some to be found, but with the move to the hotel, Lake Effect does not feel like the bargain mecca it used to be. I found a very good price on a Doctor Who trade as well as a better number (than amazon) on the Art of He-Man book that I accidentally passed up last year. But nothing mind blowing like that Teela or Frosta I’ve discovered there before. No Quarter or Fifty Cent bins. A lot of familiar vendors, and some new ones, but they’re bringing a higher priced selection these days.
We wandered around looking for Marvel Zombies for Maddie, but no luck. Nevertheless, she did find a darling Flamingo charm as well as picking up a flower one for her sister with her own convention allowance ( I was extrememly proud of her for doing that). She also spied a Minecraft gravity feed and absolutely had to go after one of those.
She also stopped by Artist Dan Gorman’s table and picked up a beautiful Supergirl print. I love when the kids buy art. This is one of the great things to see them learning about at cons. They’ve grown to expect it – they look for it. And a great shout out to artists like Gorman and RAK! who create economical prints – even trading card size ones that kids can totally afford.
Another familiar face this time around was Pixel Bits. The kids are fascinated with this vendor – Lydia’s bought from them in the past. This time around, it was the Nintendo piece with a Pikachu in it that caught Maddie’s eye. They’ve added soaps and other oddities to thier booth and I think I really need to start dropping some more cash there- I expect I’ll see them again over at All-AmeriCON in a month or so.
Even in the new location, Lake Effect still managed to pack the crowds in. I think that the show has been around long enough that it’s really become trusted and well known, particularly in the East Cleveland area. What’s been really wonderful to see is how this show has and continues to grow. Not just in size but also in programing…and in cosplay.
Every year I see the Cosplayers come out in greater and greater force. More and more, you really see people bringing their A game and it’s really becoming a serious show as far as it costume contest goes. They’ve upped their game with the prizes as well, and it really just impresses me all around how this show just gets better every year. What started out as a small, local show for dealers to dump excess wares has really blossomed into a full fledged convention and has nowhere to go but up. We can’t wait until next year.
By the way, don’t just take my word for it – Maddie herself has a lot to say about this particular show!