Review by: Josh Gillam
The Cincinnati Comic Expo opened it’s doors on a Friday afternoon and kicked off it’s 5th annual show. The weekend saw the convention center filled with fans and cosplayers as they searched for that hard to find comic, collectible toys, their favorite celebrity’s autograph, and the perfect piece of artwork for their wall. CCE had all that to offer, and plenty more. Boasting an entire area dedicated to Legos, a nerf gun shooting range, a cash bar, a blood drive, sci-fi speed dating, and grilled cheese sandwiches, Cincinnati Comic Expo had something to everyone.
There was no shortage of activities and entertainment for children throughout the weekend at this expo. A kid zone was set up that offered balloons, games, and a face painting booth. They had a nerf gun shooting range set up, which was one of the most genius ideas I’ve seen for kid’s entertainment. They also had a special panel area set up where they had multiple panels throughout the day on how to draw. These panels were geared specifically towards kids and had great speakers. I met several young aspiring artists over the weekend, and they all mentioned how much they enjoyed the “how to draw” panels. The kid zone at CCE gave families a variety of activities to enjoy which was a great step in making the expo family friendly.
Kids and adults alike were able to enjoy the Bricks by the Banks area of the show, which hosted a variety of Lego sculptures and displays. They also had build tables set up where you could have some fun and free build with Legos. There were two events held throughout the day as well, blind building and speed building. Bricks by the Banks was a big draw at the show, because who doesn’t love Legos?
There were plenty of other activities for guests to enjoy throughout the weekend, such as the Rebel Hunt. You could place a bounty on someone at the expo and Stormtroopers would track them down and put them in a Star Wars cell. It was fun and all the proceeds went to charity. There was also sci-fi speed dating, a gaming area, and a full schedule of panels throughout the day.
Cincinnati Comic Expo gave fans 200,000 square feet of space filled with exhibitors. From comics to toys to games, you could find about anything you wanted there. CCE had brought in some great vendors and gave you a large variety of geeky and nerdy things to look through. The layout for the vendors was well planned out and the aisles were wide enough that people in wheelchairs could easily access everything. My experience with the vendors at this expo was quite pleasant.
No con or expo would be complete without an artist alley and CCE brought in some amazing talent. There was a great amount of artwork and indy comics for fans to pick up, and for a lot of the people I talked to, it was their favorite part of the expo. The layout for artist alley was done as well as the vendors, where it was easily accessible by wheelchair.
CCE brought in several comic legends and media guests that proved to be a big draw for fans. The comic guests, such as George Perez and Mark Bagley, were stationed by artist alley where they were signing autographs. The media guests, such as Lou Ferrigno and John Rys-Davies, were at the opposite end of the room where they were signing autographs and taking photographs. I spoke to a couple of them and they all seemed to be enjoying their time at CCE and their time with all their fans.
One thing fans might not have expected to see at the show was the blood draw. There was a blood donation area set up in the convention where people could donate blood, and those who donated were given some freebies from the expo as a thank you. This is such a great idea and I tip my hat to CCE for setting something like this up.
Cincinnati Comic Expo is a great show that aims to be family friendly and an all around fun event. They try to do better every year so they can bring the fans a good show, and they have been doing a great job of reaching that goal. When next year comes around, they will no doubt have worked to improve upon everything they can think of from this year, so keep an eye out in 2015. You don’t want to miss this show!
Josh is a contributing writer for Drunk On Comics. You can follow him on Twitter at @CynicalStew.