Monday, October 6, 2008

Monstercon 2008

The Comics and Toys Monstercon has come and gone this past weekend, and my feelings were a bit mixed.

First, I'm glad that they moved into a larger venue. This con was spilling out the doors it's inaugural year, and they finally scaled up to space that was more than adequate this year. I'd like to see more comic creators, but the crew that was there was great. Tsunami Studios was well-represented, and I always enjoy speaking with them, though Garry McKee wasn't there (he did an awesome Conan sketch for me at last year's Heroes Convention). Budd Root and Andy Smith were on break when I went by, so *pthhbbt* to them, in a friendly manner. The movie guests were spectacularly friendly, Chuck Williams and Robert Harris in particular . Brian Krause was fairly nice, though smaller than expected (of course he acted alongside short people for years -- it must have made him seem taller), and we got to see him eat from the concession, like us reg'lar folk. The vendors were pretty good, overall, and had some decent swag. As always, we enjoyed the demos from the SCA. Costumes were great, and there was some good cross promotion with Scarowinds. The price to enter was good, especially for pre-registration, and there were some good charity auctions and raffles. Last year, they also tied in some charity, including a blood drive. That's a strong positive, and I think they need to keep that aspect up as time goes on. We didn't get to hit any of the gaming or evening activities, but that's the price you pay for attending with kids.

That last bit relates to the biggest negative; last year, this was probably the kid-friendliest con I'd been to. It had plenty of activities for the smaller folk, and the bouncy castle they had was wonderful -- one parent could watch the kids entertain themselves while the other wandered. This year, not so much. There were a couple of kid events that looked thrown together at the last minute, and that sort of disbanded after a few hours. That was disappointing, both to us and our kids. I was also a bit put off to see two local "paranormal societies" represented. Sure, it's partly a horror con, but most of the people seem aware that monsters aren't, well, real. Maybe I should aim Alison Smith and S.A.P.S. at them

I get the feeling that Monstercon really, really wants to be a horror convention with other elements added in, but I don't think it'd have quite the draw without the diversity from comics, toys, and gaming. As it is, I think they have the right blend to keep growing (especially if they can continue to land decent guests). They just need to remember that kids come to cons, too, and plan accordingly, and I think that success will continue.


Anonymous said...

I was at the con both days, and was also at the con last year in Salisbury. I think your comments pretty well hit the nail on the head. I think the kid stuff was, as you said, not as good as last year, but was a little better than you give them credit for. I spent the entire con saturday directly across from the main children's activities outside the doors in the back (I was the guy running the SCA stuff), and they had girls out there running childrens stuff pretty much most of the day Saturday. Sunday, I'm not so sure about. But you are right it didn't compare to the atmosphere of much of the Con last year. I think last year it was more of a cross between a fair/carnival and a Comic book convention. This year it was much more like a normal scifi/comic con. Oh, and thanks for the good words about us SCA types. I actually got on very well with Brian Krause. Surprisingly enough this was his very 1st con, and he was learning the ropes of cons and fandom. I think it took him a while to warm up to te fans because he had never actully experianced the adoration that clebs often find when attending these things, and that can be a little offputting if you are not expecting it..


Ranson said...


Thanks for the comment. I've never had a bad word for the SCA around here. There wasn't much of one to speak of back in WV, but what interactions I've had in NC have been friendly and fun. My son was enamored with your archery expert and the tourney.

I'm sort of surprised that Brian Krause had never done a con before. I would have figured he'd done Dragon*Con or some such, given his career. I hope we didn't scare him off.