With the exception of their Galveston winter event a couple of years ago, I’ve attended every Space City Comic Con to date. From the excellent first year event at the Galleria to this year’s event at the NRG Center, I’ve seen this convention do wonderful things, fight growing pains, and, most importantly, learn from their mistakes.
This year’s convention had a whole lot of pros and a few cons as well. Let’s start with the pros first and then work our way through the few cons that I happened upon.
First and foremost, this convention has maintained one thing throughout its existence, and that’s the fact that it’s a big event with a small event feel. I’ve heard many attendees refer to something known as the “Space City feel” which is basically that despite having some big name celebs like William Shatner, Karen Gillan, Arthur Darville, Kevin J. Anderson, and most of the cast of Star Trek: Voyager on the guest list, this event is very laid back. Volunteers were friendly, full of information, and quick to make sure that any and all problems were handled as swiftly as possible. NRG Event staff was awesome as well, making sure that the area was clean, safe, and friendly.
Event attendees were friendly as well. There are always a few bad apples in the basket, but pretty much everybody that attended the convention played “Texas Friendly” throughout the duration of the event. This includes celebs, authors, artists, and vendors. In fact, the celebs at this event went out of their way to interact with the fans. Handlers didn’t stop them, either, which is a plus in my opinion. The highlight for me was getting to meet the lovely, friendly, and funny Michele Specht of Star Trek Continues. Not only did she remember me from a tweet that I posted about a week ago, she hung out with me and a few other chemically imbalanced members of the Just Us League! She’s definitely one of the funniest and friendliest celebs that I’ve ever met, and I hope to see her at another event in the future.
Another pro for this event was their programming app. Yes, I’m a more traditional kind of guy when it comes to programming schedules. I prefer to hold a program in my hand and read it instead of flipping through an app to see what’s going on. However, after using the app for a bit, I grew to appreciate its usefulness when it came to updating any last minute changes or cancellations. It still needs a little work, but I believe it will get better as this event continues to grow.
Something else that I enjoyed about Space City Comic Con was the fact that getting into, out of, and around the event was a snap. The check in process flowed quickly and there were almost no hassles to getting inside the convention hall. The size of the crowd was good, but not cramped like it was for Space City’s second event. A few spots had slower traffic than others, but those spots were usually occupied by excellent vendors, artists, cosplayers, or my favorite green ladies, Orion’s Envy. While they didn’t have an official performance at the event this year, they danced all over the convention floor.
There were also tons of cosplayers at the event. While I don’t like to use the term professional cosplayer, there were a few in attendance at this event. All of them were very cordial and seemed to get along quite well with the crowd. Plenty of “regular” cosplayers also attended the event, and they were all very friendly as well. I had a lot of fun interacting with them and taking photos of and with them. There were more Harley Quinns in attendance than you could shake a stick at, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing in my book!
But was the event perfect? Not at all. However, I’ve come to expect a few bumps in the road from an event of this size. My biggest hangup about this event was the poor signage. Without a physical, in-hand program, and an app that shows promise but needs a little work, it wasn’t easy to keep up with the locations and times for everything. I do see this improving in the future, but it should be mentioned in my opinion.
Another con was finding the entrance to the event (but only the first time). I rode with friends this year and despite the GPS getting us to the event, we had to circle a bit before we found the proper gate to go through. After that initial difficulty, though, getting to the event was no problem.
My only other complaint is that this event should have stayed open a tad longer on Saturday evening (or at least dropped the extra cost of getting into the after party). I didn’t attend the after party and from what I heard from folks who did, it wasn’t worth the extra money to attend the event.
So will I attend this event next year? Absolutely! Houston is one of my favorite cities and Space City Comic Con is one of my favorite events. It’s still growing and as long as the show runners keep a happy balance between the “Space City feel” and the quality of its guests, I’ll continue to attend this event until I become one with the Force!
Next up on my convention agenda is Louisiana Comic Con in Lafayette, LA in October. This will be a first year event by an established convention running group, AVC, that has already put on shows in Mississippi and northern Louisiana. They haven’t announced many of their guests yet, but Lafayette is close enough to home and I have a ton of con family and friends that live in the area, so this is going to be a fun ride no matter how good the convention actually turns out.
As always, I want to thank you for reading this post. Be sure to let your friends know and feel free to comment below if you attended Space City or any other convention recently. Thanks!