Alamo City Comic Con Experience 2014
Story by: David A. De La Rosa
Photographs by: Joseph Martinez
Alamo City Comic Con Experience 2014
I went to last year’s inaugural Alamo City Comic Con, and left that experience very impressed. I walked into this second annual convention wondering if the organizers of this event could top off the previous convention. My expectations were high, I’m happy to report that I was not disappointed with this 2014 convention. This event had everything you would want from a comic con family fun, costumes, art work, toys, comic books, and special celebrity guests.
First let me state the differences between this year’s con from the previous one. Last year I had interviewed a few vendors they told me that they had not anticipated the huge turnout, and something had to be done for next year’s con in regards to the convention space. I knew what the vendors were talking about the space was kind of limited, and people walked the isles like cattle with no room to breathe much less peruse the merchandise. Only one exposition hall had been used last year.
Social media stated that this year the entire convention center would be utilized. I walked into the Henry B. Gonzales Convention Center the first day of the con, and saw that all of the exposition halls had been used. This space was easily three to four times the amount from last year. The expanded square footage in convention space translated into an increased number of artists selling their prints, I didn’t remember there being this many artists last year. The increase in convention space also helped with the autograph sections in which lines for these can get long and seem not to move at all. This year was great for those seeking autographs because it seemed to go without a hitch.
People in these lines waited for autographs from the likes of Stan Lee (creator of Spiderman, Fantastic Four, and the Hulk, to name a few comic book heroes) there was also crew members from the starship Enterprise, Nichelle Nichols, George Takei, and Walter Koenig. I wanted to see Freddy Krueger himself Robert Englund and he was there signing (for a complete list of special guests www.alamocitycomiccon.com/guests ).
There was also a ball room set up for photo op’s with these celebrities. The extra space was a major improvement from last year. The vendors got their convention space increased; also the isles were widened so more free flowing foot traffic helped convention goers shop from vendor booth to booth. I have to tell you I really appreciated that because last year people kept on bumping into me when I was looking through stacks of comics.
The increase in space also helped another aspect of the convention experience which is attending the Q&A panels. There were three or four panels going on at the same time every hour. That to me was great also the people running the event also tried very hard to have these panels on schedule. Last year the schedule for some of these panels were out of control. This year’s event was better organized the lines to get into the convention center that wrapped outside around the block were done away with. There were lines inside the convention center that directed attendees to attain their passes and exclusive con premiums. This was great because this year there was a little bit of rain, and I would have hated to see a bunch of people in wet costumes.
My personal experience attending the convention was great I didn’t spend all of my time analyzing and critiquing everything I had fun too. I like attending the panels I went to five of them the Nightmare on Elm St. panel, the horror panel, and the Stan Lee panel. I was thoroughly entertained by them all they were very informative and it was great to see people like Robert Englund, Linda Blair, and the national treasure himself Stan Lee. One of the main draws to this convention was The Walking Dead actors in attendance. Their panel was great, and the actor’s insight with regards to the characters they portray on the show very informative. Everyone in the audience could tell that the panelist wanted to be there. Each actor was very friendly, and open to answering the audiences questions. There was mutual admiration between the panel and the audience.
Another panel I attended and enjoyed was the Weird Science panel. I was a preteen when I first saw this movie, and I laughed my head off at the theater. Both of the stars of this film were there Anthony Michael Hall, and Ilan Mitchell-Smith. They both spoke about their careers and the film. It felt great to see them at the con, but it also made me think the movie came out almost 30 years ago. I’m getting old.
I like the fact that I could walk around in an event such as this, and ask convention goers in costume to pose for photographs. There is always great homemade costumes that make you say wow. Where else can someone go see their favorite heroes or villains in the flesh other than a comic con? Some families came all dressed up, seeing mom and dad get into the act is fun.
I also attended a costume contest on Saturday, and I was very moved when time was taken to celebrate the life of Aquaman San Antonio, Jonathan Vela. For those of you who do not know he was a gentleman who dressed up as Aquaman who would go to hospitals to entertain sick children and brought awareness to various children’s causes. The Vela family was on hand for this tribute, and received a humanitarian award called the Trident posthumously for Jonathan. Its events like this small tribute that makes this comic con a community festival, one more thing to be proud of our beautiful city. It makes me think that this whole event is not solely motivated by money. There is a sense of community and family woven in the fabric of this comic con.
I went to the Stan Lee panel; a gentleman stated he and his family came all the way down from North Carolina to meet Mr. Lee. I was surprised by how far people were willing to come to our city for this event. This comic con has grown a lot for its two years in existence, and believe it will continue to grow maybe one day become this biggest in the country.
You know things are always bigger in Texas.
See Ya Next year!! River City Attractions