It was pointed out to me a few months ago that I rarely show my face at any of the conventions that would be considered local to me. As someone who so strongly supports the Indie community, this had me pausing and evaluating my own show appearances. In the end, I decided that the person was right and that I needed to get my butt in gear and start checking out my own local comic scene! It just so happened, that Mark Hodges, the man behind Grand Rapids Comic-Con had asked me to come out in the past, but it had always fallen on the wrong weekend. Not this year! So, sit back, relax, and find out what I thought of Grand Rapids Comic-Con 2015.
- Location – DeVos Place is fantastically easy to access and has a great layout for this sort of event. It was clean, well maintained, and ready to go.
- Parking – Hallelujah for easy parking! I parked in the lot right under the building both days and had no problem finding a spot or getting in or out.
- Variety in Vending – So much to choose from! Seriously, if you attended and couldn’t find something you wanted, I’m not sure what you were looking for. I found everything that I’d hoped to find and so much more. I needed a lottery win to get it all!
- Atmosphere – Everywhere I looked, people were smiling and having a good time. This included the staff, the guests, and everyone I came into contact with.
- Artists Alley – This is the one thing that made me sad. As someone who loves comics, it’s the comic folk that I come out to see. They’re the first group that I make a beeline towards and at this show, they were just plain hard to find. I even asked at the door before I went in and nobody knew the answer to “Where are the artists located? The comic book folk?” I did find them…by going in the doors, walking past all of the vendors and discovering the back wall of the room.
That’s right. The comic folk at Grand Rapids Comic-Con were hidden by the back wall. To me, this is just unacceptable. A comic-con should be about the comics and the people who work hard making them, not about the travel companies, vendors, or anyone else. These are the people that should be front and center, not squeezed into an odd little block formation in the back of the room. Yes, I feel passionately about this and I know those folk stuck against the wall did too. There were many conversations about it and about how it could be improved. My suggestion? Start AA against one of the side walls and then wrap it around, allowing both vendors and artists/comic folk to be front and center. Is it the best idea? I have no idea, but at least it’s one that makes sense. It made me incredibly sad to see people who work so hard for their craft to be almost shunned. The large aisle that ran in front of their little section made them seemed almost shunned and not as many people crossed over that line as they should have. Really their loss because there was some amazing back there.
Now, let me step down off of my soapbox…hopefully without tripping so I can bring you…
This is a great show that for only being in its third year really did impress. I look forward to attending again next year to see what changes they make. There’s a ton of potential there and I hope to see increased programming, an improved website, and perhaps even some larger indie publishers there! I have a feeling that this show has nothing but room to grow and it’s just going to keep on improving. I, for one, am looking forward to watching that progress and continuing to share it with all of you!