Hello fellow comic lovers and adult beverage enthusiasts!
It has been a little over a week since the ever-growing Grand Rapids Comic Con. Yes! We were there! Normally after a con we present you with a special edition podcast with all the fabulous interviews we got at the con.
This time will be a little different. Thanks to differing schedules (and that super annoying football game that was on), our hosts could not find time to get together and do interviews.
Please let me assure you that this had nothing to do with the quality of the con and the guests that were there. Grand Rapids Comic Con has grown exponentially in the last three years. Every year the venue has gotten bigger in order to house the masses that come to see the artists, media guests and cos-play. The first year of GRCC was held in a small building known as the Home School Building. The con sold out much faster than expected, which led the organizers to move the con to The Deltaplex Arena in it’s second year. A much bigger venue, this allowed the con to attract bigger named guests and artists as well as more people. The Saturday of the con sold out and it certainly felt like it was busting at its seams, even with the larger space.
Then came year three and DeVos Place. This venue was made for a con. GRCC filled this venue up with plenty of vendors while still giving ample space for Artist Alley and the featured guests. The media guests area was set up nicely, giving plenty of space between them and the con goers. The featured artists were located right next to Artist Alley, but set up so that their area could hold the lines of fans who were looking for autographs, commissions and prints. There was a great variety of featured artists from current Marvel powerhouse Ryan Stegman to Golden Age artist Allen Bellman (and his gorgeous wife!), road warrior and master of horror Dirk Manning to the very approachable Katie Cook of My Little Pony fame (who had the longest line for signatures I saw that weekend). There really was something for everyone. This also held true for Artist Alley. There were artists selling all ages books and art right around the corner from those offering a more supernatural, horror or mature point of view. If you ask me, and you are not but I will say it anyway, if you really want to have a successful comic Ccon that draws in a large crowd, diversity in this area is what you need. Every con will have a media guest or two that will bring people in, and cos-play is definitely increasing the numbers, but if you want a successful “comic” con, you have to offer comics and art that appeal to a variety of interests.
Media guests….don’t think I forgot about those. The guests that GRCC was able to book this year were pretty fantastic. Seriously, Caroll Spinney??? I can’t even. When is the last time you were given the chance to meet an icon that was present in almost every person’s childhood? If you are asking yourself “Who is Caroll Spinney?”, let me just say this – Big Bird. Got it? Good. Other media guests included Katrina Law, who has played some pretty bad ass women on the small screen including Mira from Showtime’s “Spartacus” and Nyssa Al Ghul in The CW’s “Arrow” and Anthony Carrigan, who plays Victor Zsasz on Fox’s “Gotham”. Oh! And let’s not forget Marina Sirtis from Star Trek: TNG. She was breath taking and reminded me of my childhood (thanks Dad!). I could go on and on about the guests that GRCC secured this year, but lets just say that they are setting a high bar for themselves for next year.
I do want to mention the cos-play scene at the con. I know that there are a variety of opinions on cos-play’s place at comic cons. Like it or not, this part of the con (which has been an important part of comic cons since way back) is here to stay. Having dabbled in cos-play myself, I know how much work some of these people spend on their costumes, and this was definitely evident at Grand Rapids Comic Con. There were an abundance of cos-players in costumes that ranged in genre from anime to superheroes and everything in between. The best part about this venue in terms of cos-play was the atrium in which you entered the con. This offered a large area for cos-players to hang out and show off their costumes and get pictures taken without jamming up the vendor and artist alley aisles.
Honestly, I could go on. There were great panels, the layout was well organized, getting in and out of the con was easy and there was more than enough to see. And this is coming from a girl who has a serious case of con fatigue. Having a con in your town does make it a little more special though.
According to Grand Rapids Comic Con’s Facebook, the con had 17,380 unique visitors over the three day period, so clearly I am not the only one who thinks that
Kudos to the organizers of Grand Rapids Comic Con (Mark Hodges and team) for choosing a location that allowed for more space inside for the over 17,000 visitors to the con (according to GRCC’s Facebook page) and greater access to all the attractions that downtown Grand Rapids has to offer. It’s great to see how this new con is still growing and building, and I can not wait to see what next year brings.
Next year being October 21st-23rd, 2016. I will be there. Will you?
Yours in nerdom,
*Special thanks to our con family who were with us that weekend! You know who you are. We can’t wait to see you again (and rock out some mean karaoke).