In 2014, a group off overly ambitious My Little Pony fans — Bronies, if you will — and Tumblr/Imgur enthusiasts put together DashCon in Schaumburg, Illinois. Its biggest draw was a small ball pit. DashCon became a shining example of what not to do when organizing a fan convention. Recently, Wizard World released the info that it had lost more than $4 million in revenue and had decided to put together a Wizard World Comic Con Cruise, which led some to wonder if rumors and allegations about what was really going on behind the scenes with the fan convention producer were true.
Then, in May of 2016, Space City Comic Con, held on Memorial Day weekend at the NRG Center in Houston, suffered a storm of controversy, with allegations being made that everyone involved, from the celebrity guests to the fans in attendance, was defrauded and scammed in various ways. The aftermath of this con controversy resulted in a social media bloodbath, with talks of FBI intervention.
After all the bad that seems to be associated with cons, one might wonder if it's worth it to attend. The whole thing seems a little scary, no?
Well, fear not, true believer. Comic cons are still awesome, and terrific things can happen or come about from your participation. Here are a few of them.
The 501st Legion
This is worldwide Star Wars costuming organization that constructs its own outfits based on the Star Wars bad guys. The group has raised money for various charities, particularly those that provide for children.
The 1701st Fleet
A Star Trek costuming group that has raised money for several charities including the United Service Organizations, a nonprofit that provides services and entertainment for military servicepeople and their families.
Battle It Out With Your Favorite Performer
Comic cons are also great places to be part of the spectacle. There are fandom unique events, such as Comicpalooza's popular laser tag, in which celebrities take on the fans.
While visiting your next comic con, you can also support your local comic book artist, the unique small business with an artistic flair. Visit these visionaries at their booths and check out what it is they do. It gives you a chance to purchase art directly from the source and is a great way to contribute to your local small press company and artists.
Houston's Comicpalooza has even begun to include designated areas for kids to play and discover cool stuff, offering a welcome respite for their enthusiast parents.
Up Close And Personal
Meet some of your favorite celebrities up close and personal, whether you attend a panel and ask a question, or line up for an autograph and a photo.
Wayne Kelly of Baytown, Texas had this story to tell about meeting Adam Baldwin at a Wizard World Con:
My first con was WW New Orleans in 2011. Things were great as I reeked out for a couple of days. On the last day, I decided I would try to look at some of the celebrities. Well, [Lou] Ferrigno seemed okay, but the coolest guy to me was Adam Baldwin. I talked to him for a bit, and told him as much as I loved him on 'Chuck' and in 'Firefly' among others, my favorite part he had played was in 'My Bodyguard.' He laughed for a bit and told me that he loved that role. Pulled out a "Will you be my bodyguard?" photo and signed in. He is really cool. I will forever remember that convention because of this regular guy . I hope he plays Cable in 'Deadpool.'
So now you know cons can be a fun, positive place, why not plan your next adventure to fandom? To attend Comicpalooza in Houston, click here. To find a con near you and join in the fun, click here. And remember, knowing is half the battle.