Comic Con

Get Ready for Amazing Las Vegas Comic Con June 17-19

I love Las Vegas, and I love going to cons.  Amazing Las Vegas Comic Con is the sweet spot.  ALVCC was my favorite event of 2015, and this year promises to be bigger and better than ever before!  Don’t believe me?  I have proof—ALVCC has outgrown its home at the South Point and will be taking over the Las Vegas Convention Center June 17-19.

This year’s special guests include Deadpool creator Rob Liefield, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle creator Kevin Eastman, Marvel legend Chris Claremont, and Civil War artist Steve McNiven.  VIP ticket packages range from $150-200 and are on sale now but will sell out quickly.

General admission tickets went on sale today.  The full three-day package is only $60, making it one of the best deals out there.

With great panels, awesome special guests, a huge artist alley and cosplay galore, Amazing Las Vegas Comic Con needs to be on your calendar this June.

For more information, visit http://www.AmazingLasVegasComicCon.com and follow @AmazingComicCon

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New Poll Says San Diegans Would Prefer Keeping SD Comic Con Over Chargers

In a (completely non-scientific) poll by the San Diego Union Tribune, a majority of San Diegans favor keeping San Diego Comic Con over the San Diego Chargers.

Clearly, the public sentiment in San Diego is changing amid clandestine backdoor dealings between the Spanos family and Carson, and special counsel Mark Fabiani stalling talks between the Chargers and the city.  Where there was once a fierce battle cry over the loss of our beloved football team, now there’s a bit of healthy suspicion caused by the team throwing shade to its Bolt Faithful.  If they want to stay so much, why are they doing so  much to leave?

There’s no real way to determine the amount of money the Chargers bring the city, but I’d imagine that the Chargers aren’t exactly a cash cow for the tourism industry in San Diego.  While it’s true that landing another Super Bowl would lead to economic prosperity for the city, hosting duties only come every so often, and our Chargers aren’t exactly Super Bowl contenders.  There aren’t many people who come to San Diego eight times a year to watch the Chargers play.  At this point, we’d be building a stadium to appease the Chargers…and to profit from all of the other non-Chargers events held in it.

SDCC, on the other hand, brings in over a hundred million dollars to local businesses every year, with the annual revenue on a perpetual uptick.  SDCC is a huge cash cow, and the city would be foolish to let it go.  Every bit of the Convention Center expansion would be worth its weight in gold, and not just because of SDCC; the recent Cisco convention, though smaller than SDCC in terms of participants, brings in as much (and possibly more) money to local businesses than SDCC.

As a native San Diegan, avid sports fan and card-carrying nerd, I feel bad about the Chargers, but they’re not exactly helping their cause.  Leaving San Diego seems to be a done deal.  (Remember, they’ve been secretly working on this since 2013)  SDCC was born in the basement of the El Cortez Hotel, and the Powers That Be want it to stay in San Diego.  Unlike the Chargers, SDCC can demonstrate how they impact San Diego’s economy.  San Diego businesses fully support SDCC and [most of them] cater to SDCC because SDCC does so much for them.

If a deal can be made to keep the Chargers, and if it makes sense for the city, then I’m all for it.  However, at this juncture, now that SDCC has committed to staying in San Diego through 2018, I believe that we need to shift our focus to make sure the Convention Center expansion happens soon so that we never have to have the “should I stay or should I go” conversation with SDCC again.

What do you think?

You can read more about the UT poll here.

The Amazing Las Vegas Comic Con June 2015

The Amazing Las Vegas Comic Con (ALVCC) took place June 19-21, and from all appearances it was hugely successful.  Comic and pop culture fans descended upon the South Point Hotel and Casino on the southernmost tip of the Las Vegas Strip for three days of fun in the summer heat.  (Yes, it was over 110 all weekend long, but we were able to stay inside with tons of air conditioning, the way Mother Nature intended…)

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I arrived in Las Vegas on Thursday evening.  My plan was to have a day to relax prior to the convention, and this was a great idea.  It’s important to pace yourself in Sin City.

Friday morning I woke up, got some work done, and had a nice buffet lunch.  Press passes were available at noon, but a very helpful staffer gave me the program guide early so I could study it over lunch.

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By 3pm the South Point was buzzing with comic con fans.  Seeing Elsa from Frozen in the casino surrounded by excited kids on vacation gave me a hint of what was to come.

The ALVCC Exhibit Hall took up the entire South Point convention area, as well as part of the arena concourse.  They also used concourse space for the main panel room, which was very convenient, but not very practical.  (More on this later)  Given the excessive heat outside, you’d think it could be warm inside, but it was actually quite comfortable in the massive Exhibit Hall.  At times it was even chilly in there.  Even at the busiest point on Saturday, the con floor was never unmanageable.  The event organizers did a great job with spacing the booths to allow for easy crowd flow; there was an open perimeter around the outside to allow for ease of access when you needed to go quickly from one end of the room to the other.

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ALVCC boasted over 200 artists in Artist Alley.  There were two rows of spaces that spanned from one end of the Exhibit Hall to the other, and artists were lined up on both sides.  At times it was overwhelming to see so much great art displayed at once because it made choosing what to buy even harder.  In addition to Artist Alley, there were over 150 exhibitors selling must-have toys and collectibles.

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Saturday programming included the highly-publicized panel with Deadpool creator Rob Liefield, as well as a panel with the always charming John Barrowman.  The only downfall was that the big panels were held on the concourse in a curtained off area.  The big panels were standing room only, even though the area could have been expanded.  I think that it would be great to make the area bigger, since the space was available and not limited to the confines of a room.  The noise level was also an issue because there were booths and games directly outside of the curtains.

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The last event of the night on Saturday was the costume contest, where all of the cosplayers came out to display their awesome costumes.  The judges were looking for more than just costumes; they also took into account the craftsmanship of the costumes.  The best in show winner was Oberon Martel, from Game of Thrones.  Oberon was wearing a handmade leather costume that he hand-tooled himself.  It was quite impressive, and it was nice to see that his hard work paid off.

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In my opinion, ALVCC is the perfect comic convention in terms of size, content and exhibitors.   There was enough going on to keep me busy all weekend.  I don’t know the final attendance numbers but I do know that the parking lots were full on Saturday, and yet I didn’t get the claustrophobic feeling in the Exhibit Hall that I’m used to at SDCC.  There was plenty of space for everyone, and having that space made it easier to meet and greet artists and exhibitors.  And having a “self-contained” convention was nice, too.  The South Point has a midnight breakfast special, and there was a huge line of ALVCC people waiting to get in.  It was awesome.  Every elevator, blackjack table, and restaurant was full of costumed fans.  Vegas is fun in and of itself, but add a comic con and it gets even better.  At one point we were out on the Strip late at night and we ran into a trio of Halo cosplayers.  It was great.

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If you haven’t been to Amazing Las Vegas Comic Con, make plans to be there in 2016.  It’s, well…amazing!

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On the Edge of the Desert: The Road to Amazing Las Vegas Comic Con

Well, the ol’ bus is making its way toward Las Vegas.  We’re due to arrive in just over five hours now, and so far I’ve managed to read half of a book.

I’m looking forward to checking in at the South Point and getting a lay of the land before the show opens tomorrow.  I’m also hoping to be able to write two book reviews before I go to sleep tonight…we’ll see…

Amazing Las Vegas Comic Con: Pre-Trip

I’m getting ready to leave for Las Vegas.  This trip to Amazing Comic Con in Las Vegas promises to be absolutely, well, amazing.

Oh, and it’s 110 in Vegas this weekend. The weather app has a burning match to drive that point home, in case the number wasn’t enough…. (I’m sitting in the cool San Diego coastal breeze as I write this, pondering my sanity to undertake such a journey under such extreme conditions, but it’s worth it. I have a press pass!)

This is going to be an epic adventure. I am covering the event for a variety of websites and I’ll be sure to post links here so you can see them. I’ll also have lots of original content here as well.

Oh…and there’s one other thing… I’m really serious about an epic adventure.  I’m taking a Greyhound bus.  This was a much better alternative to driving solo, and the bus has free wi-fi and power outlets, so you can expect full coverage along the seven hour journey.

I mean that. Full. Coverage.

As in Hunter S. Thompson, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas full coverage.

“But our trip was different.  It was a classic affirmation of everything right and true and decent in the national character.  It was a gross, physical salute to the fantastic possibilities of life in this country–but only for those with true grit. And [I am] chock full of that.”

To be continued….

Let the journey begin!