Monday, May 20, 2013

Big Wow! ComicFest 2013

This was an ambitious year for Big Wow! ComicFest. Right off the bat, it was reaching out to several new industry and fan guests in order to draw a crowd and create the best con possible. This includes, to everyone's delight, the legendary Stan Lee himself, making it a con that is not to be missed.

I had originally intended to attend for both days, but an outside situation required me to go for Sunday only. That said, the day I was there was filled with hanging out with friends, meeting great guests, and generally having a good time.

Big Wow is held in the San Jose Convention Center, where Fanime will be in a few short days from now. While the center is still undergoing renovations, the rooms Big Wow used were not affected, so the only difficulties came from the hallways. This was also at the same time as a Bitcoin expo was underway, but none of the guests from one bothered those from the other in any way; in fact, it's likely that many from one also had a passing interest in the other.

I arrived in the morning and saw the line for those who had pre-registered. When I asked where to purchase tickets at-con, the people there seemed rather confused; apparently they thought I was asking about getting tickets for a convention called "At Con." Once I explained what "at-con registration" meant, they pointed me in the right direction, and I got in line.

The line for press passes had merged with the line to pick up tickets for a photograph with Stan Lee. Fortunately, as I was in need of both, I managed to kill two proverbial birds with one stone, and was soon on my way. While I was unsure of whether or not I was on the press list, there was no hassle in getting it.

On the note of the Stan Lee tickets, when I inquired where the line was to start, I was told it would be across from a panel room. I was later informed, however, that the line was to start downstairs, and we would be allowed to line up according to ticket number. That was actually a useful way of keeping the line moving without having to camp there hours ahead of time, so I must give them compliments for that. For other conventions that are known for becoming "LineCons" (I'm looking at you, Sac Anime), this is a method they might want to consider.

While waiting for my ticket group to line up, I wandered the hall to see booths and people. I was cosplaying as Shiro Shinobi, the Pro Bending Announcer from "Legend of Korra," although the only other Avatar cosplayer there (The Last Airbender or Legend of Korra) was my girlfriend, who was cosplaying as Jinora. We were still recognized by a fair amount of people, and I must note that almost all the cosplayers I met there were incredibly friendly.

That note extends to the cosplayer guests who I met as well. I've often heard reports or concerns of the Internet-famous cosplayers getting a large ego or acting standoffish, but that was not an issue I encountered with any of the ones I saw there. I cannot think of a single cosplayer, invited guest or otherwise, who was not friendly and agreeable when I spoke with them, even the ones I thought I knew and gave a mistakenly casual greeting to.

Mr. Mxyzptlk
Iron Man

A Scout Trooper lost in the forest moon of Endor
While I was checking out the booths, I managed to find some nice comics. I purchased a volume of "52," a comic I highly recommend (not to be mistaken for DC's "New 52" universal reboot) for only five dollars, and found a mint set of old school "Tropical Jungle" Pokemon cards. There was also a wide array of artists, selling their work and taking commissions, who had some excellent pieces on display. One of them was even drawing the cosplayers who went by for free.

Also of note was a booth with several science fiction robots on display, including a life-sized Dalek from Doctor Who, Bender from Futurama, and R2-D2 from Star Wars. All of them were absolutely outstanding, so I often found myself heading back by that booth just to see them again.

A Dalek on the lookout for any Doctors to Exterminate

I am not ashamed to say that I hugged R2-D2
When my ticket group was finally up (301-400), I made my way downstairs and got in the massive line to get a picture with Stan Lee. For a line that stretched through multiple hallways, downstairs, and through two rooms, it moved at a surprisingly brisk pace, and I found myself getting through it more quickly than I had imagined, especially given my place in the line. When it was finally my turn, there was just under 30 seconds for us to stand by him, smile at the camera, and move on, but I had time to shake his hand and tell him what an inspiration he is. That half a minute of meeting Stan Lee was the most epic half a minute of my life.

Once that was over with, and lunch was taken care of, I resumed wandering and meeting friends. There were plenty of people I knew there (I admit, I have a tendency to know a lot of convention-goers, so that's rarely not the case), so there was no short supply of friends to talk to, and all of them seemed to be enjoying the convention greatly.

Another new addition from the last time I was there was a stage for Rock Band. I opted not to sign up to play, but it was amusing to walk by and see other attendees playing away and singing; next time I'll definitely jump in for a round.

As the con neared its end, I managed to pick up the picture from meeting Stan Lee. It cost 50 dollars (and getting an autograph with him would be an extra 50), but it's a professional photograph that will forever commemorate the meeting. It's now framed and sitting proudly at my desk. Following that, I made my rounds and said goodbye to my friends before I hit the road.

Harley's Joker was one of the many cosplayer guests at the con

Roxanna Meta is a Wonder Woman without a doubt

Would you kindly acknowledge that these Bioshock cosplayers are awesome?
So, what did I think of Big Wow this year? It's no longer the warmup to Fanime it once was, but now stands as a fine convention all on its own. The atmosphere was great, the guests were outstanding, and everyone I spoke to was happy and agreeable. I can only take issue with the confusion I encountered at the beginning of the day, but once that was dealt with, everything went smoothly. If not for the fact that the con is the weekend before Fanime, I doubt anyone would be comparing the two.

Best of all, I do not believe I encountered any drama whatsoever! It sometimes seems that it's difficult to go through a convention without encountering any "Con Drama," but Big Wow somehow managed. There was nothing worse than a few awkward moments here and there, making this one of the most chill conventions I've ever been to.

With all that said, it was a most enjoyable convention, so I came back from it feeling like it was a day well spent. A tiring, epic, and eventful day well spent indeed.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much for your positive feedback! Great article :-)


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