Once again, Devos Hall played host to Grand Rapids Comic Con this year and once again, I was impressed. The weather was a bit ewww, but that didn’t stop people from coming out and enjoying all of the fun that the show had to offer. Let’s break it down:
The show has continued to expand and while things weren’t always quite where I expected them to be, the staff (some wearing superhero capes!) that I spoke to were all friendly and willing to point me in the right direction. Everyone seemed relaxed and happy to help, which, from experience, I can tell you isn’t always the case. I also appreciated most of the layout of the vendor floor. I’ll talk about what I think could have been better below, but, for the most part, the floor was well laid out with larger items, like photo ops on the outside walls so that they didn’t clog up the walkways. When legs got tired, there was ample seating in the next space over – the Lego space/main panel area. For those of who don’t get around as well as we used to, this is especially appreciated. Once my legs got some power back, I decided to head upstairs to check out a panel. Each of the panel rooms had large signs that had their schedules on them. For someone who doesn’t have a program or who doesn’t want to keep digging it out, this is great.
Most of the things that I’m going to mention are things that come with time and experience for any show. In no way did they seriously detract from my enjoyment of the show, but I do want to talk about them.
Above I said that I appreciated most of the layout of the vendor floor. There were a couple of areas that just didn’t work well for me. The first was row 100..there was an incredibly popular group at one end of it which made it near impossible to get down that way. I feel as if they should have been placed into the celebrity area to help alleviate that or that aisle needed to be widened. Speaking of groups in perhaps the wrong place, I didn’t love the location of the authors this year. They had their own little area, but when I went by there, my impression was that it was almost like a celebrity signing area and it didn’t feel open to the casual con goer. I would have preferred if they had been given one row of artist alley so that they would have felt more accessible to people. My other problem with artist alley may seem an odd one, but it was mostly artists or crafters. I live in artist alley because I love meeting and working with indie creators. I didn’t find many of them this year.
I really wanted to check out the gaming area, but I didn’t see any indicators of where it was. I later heard that it was only accessible if you went up the escalators. As someone with a near phobia of escalators, that may be why I missed it. Next year, I’ll try to be braver and check it out. If you were there and did hang out there, please let us know what it was like and we can add that in here!
For a fairly young show, they are doing a fantastic job. It’s not a huge show but don’t let that stop you. Sometimes those are the best shows! You get to get up close and personal with creators, see a ton of fantastic cosplay and really enjoy the con experience. If you haven’t checked them out yet, plan on being there next year. I’m already putting them on my calendar so I don’t double book that weekend. Be warned though that the parking under the convention center fills up fast so be sure you get there early. Fingers crossed that they have an authors/writers track next year for panels! Who knows…maybe you’ll even see me on one in the future!