Thursday, May 22, 2014

Big Wow! ComicFest 2014

Twas the week before Fanime, and throughout San Jose
People were preparing for the con days away.
But there was one con held there before all the rest,
For the center was home to Big Wow! ComicFest.

Okay, I'm going to stop the rhyming now and just deliver a normal report. So, Big Wow! ComicFest is still in its early years, but last year managed to impress me with its quality. This year's convention promised to be even bigger, so I went again for a day to check it out.

The convention has grown, taking up more halls than in previous years, although the setup was mostly unchanged; it was focused in one large room, which was separated into sections for vendors, artists, and guests, with some room outside where people could rest their feet and play some Rock Band. One addition of note was a section dedicated to Batman memorabilia, including a Batmobile from the classic TV show.

There were quite a few guests in attendance, including many comic artists, actors from old movies and new alike, and quite a lot of cosplay guests. Maybe too many, it seemed, although most did seem to draw a crowd. Now, I have a simple philosophy about cosplay "celebrity" guests: I'm fine with it as long as they give back to the con in some way. If they host a panel, judge the masquerade, help organize things, or in some way to anything more than sit at a table and sell prints, then I am all for it. There were quite a few cosplay guests who did just that, but looking over the lists of those in attendance, there were still quite a few who did not seem to be contributing to anything. Of course, that's just my opinion, and you're more than welcome to disagree.

Although I was unable to make it to the convention on Saturday, I arrived on Sunday bright and early. I was trying out my Mo-Larr, Eternian Dentist (from Robot Chicken) cosplay, though I changed later on into the Riddler, which was more appropriate, considering the amount of Batman cosplayers there.

Once inside the convention, I began to wander to see who I could run into. There were, of course, a fair amount of friends I knew, some who were there for the full weekend, others who were just stopping by for the day. I was also lucky enough to meet some wonderful cosplayers who I had not known before, but am now friends with, and that is one of the best things about going to a convention (in my opinion).

Big Wow is to be commended on its selection of panels, which covered a variety of subjects. It had panels on monster movies, on the comics industry, and even topics such as cultural diversity in comics. The aforementioned cosplay guests who did host panels covered some important topics, such as why everyone can cosplay if they want to, and preventing cosplay bullying. On the other hand, there were also panels on the "Heroes of Cosplay" show, which I personally do not care for. But again, that's just me.

While checking out the con, I stopped by the booths selling a very nice selection of comics. Bang Zoom even had a booth of its own, where artists would take requests to draw on blank comic covers they sold (at a price, of course, but one well worth it for an original piece), and Top Cow had a table of its own as well. Though I couldn't purchase much with Fanime approaching, there was still quite a lot I was interested in.

Last year's Big Wow managed to stand out well on its own in spite of its proximity to Fanime. This year's felt a little more like a step back towards a Fanime warmup. It was still a good convention, of course, and one that I look forward to seeing improve further in future years.

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