Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Bat travels to Salt Lake Comic Con 2014

     This past weekend I made the long road trip from Phoenix to Salt Lake City to attend Salt Lake Comic Con 2014 (referred to as SLCC going forward). I took my wife Sarah @geeksterswhimsy and our friend Terry, whom we call the Juggernaut. The drive there is anywhere between 10-12 hours. So that was fun. There were many issues with SLCC, but most are fixable and easy to fix. I'm going to detail below the pros and cons of the....well con, but I am excited to see where this convention goes and we will be back next year.


1. That drive man. Now I know this isn't SLCC's fault, it's more the fault of the TSA, but this was still a massive con. Having three costumers in a car for 10-12 hours is not fun. I'd much rather fly with my costumes, but we can't take that risk of having our costumes ruined, especially since we were entering the masquerade.

2. Thursday. So we left Phoenix at 430 am with the goal of being in Salt Lake City by 4pm. Well we missed our turn and had an hour detour so we didn't get to SL until 5pm. No big though, the vendor hall is open until 8 and we didn't have a ton of money to spend. We get downstairs and there is a line. Now anyone that has been anywhere knows to expect a line, so of course we did. However this line went completely around the building. After standing in line outside for an hour and half (thank goodness there were some food trucks outside because we hadn't eaten yet), we get inside, to find ANOTHER line. There were probably at least a thousand people inside. Some of them only had Thursday passes. We finally got inside the vendor hall at 7:40 pm and were only able to see maybe 20 booths before they turned the lights out. And when I say turned the lights out that's exactly what they did. Gave a quick announcement to get out then shut the lights out.

3. The nightlife. Now maybe being new to the convention, and not really knowing downtown Salt Lake, we found the nightlife to be lackluster. We went back to our hotel room to change out of costumes and by the time we got back downstairs, the streets were empty. Again maybe there was amazing stuff going on, but we didn't see that happening.

4. Beer in the vendor hall. Now, don't get me wrong, I love beer. Access to beer while in costume on the vendor hall?!?!?!? Yes please! Well except it sounds great in concept, but upon further review it's not so great. Beer leads to drunks, which leads to aggressive behavior, and bad coordination. With 100,000 plus people, many of them in costume, taking the risk of ruining someones cosplay, or even worse, someone's booth just isn't worth it in my opinion.

5. The program. Seriously, this was one of my main problems. In the program it has the information for the panels and the guests for said panels, but no information on time or day. There is an app (which I'll get to), but don't make me use my data for something that you can put into the program. They were passing out panel info each day at information booths, but why not include that into the program?
This is a sample of the program description

6. The app. Most cons have an app. It's a great pocket tool to take with you so you don't have to carry around a program the entire day. You already have your phone on you, why not have the program with you?
The app I felt was a huge let down. All times for guests were TBA. Kinda defeats the purpose of the app.
This was the app the Saturday of Con. All times TBA
7. Wrestling in the middle of the vendor hall.........Not like people just fighting, but an actual wrestling ring set up in the middle of the hall. This lead to an insane amount of traffic in one area with a tiny walkway to get past it. I'm all for entertaining your guests but I feel that's what panels are for.

8. No Sunday con. As someone who is used to the Thursday - Sunday con schedule, not having that fourth day for shopping or panels was off. It felt like a day was missing at the con, and it was. Since Thursday was a wash we only got 2 days at the con. >.<

9. Two entrances only one peace bonding area. This was a total bummer. There's an east and a south entrance, but peace bonding was only done at the south entrance. I feel if there are multiple entrances, there should be multiple peace bonding tables.

I know it seems all negative and it wasn't, so lets get to the positives!


1. Salt Lake. This was easy for us. Being from Phoenix we are used to 110+ weather all summer and our con is typically during Memorial Day weekend. While not 110+ at that time, we routinely see temperatures over 100, so for us to be in our costumes, which are HEAVY, in mid 70's lower 80's weather, that was fantastic!!!!

2.The Masquerade. This is one area without a shadow of a doubt that SLCC destroys PCC with. We entered the PCC Masq one year and spent 6 hours in line or in a room. 6 hours! On the busiest day of the con. Completely unacceptable. SLCC made the prejudging simple and not too long of a wait.

3. Artist alley. This by far was my favorite thing aboot SLCC. As a con goer, I spend a great deal of my time and my money at artist alley. Most cons tend to either hide their artists, or have them split up, but SLCC had the artists right in front as soon as you enter the vendor hall. These are the people that really drive your con so to have them front and center was brilliant. PHXCC take note.

4. The Vendor Hall. Seriously there was so much stuff in the vendor hall I don't think I actually saw it all. The kids area was awesome and fun. Bravo on that. Save for a few huh booths (a local insurance company) they really used their space well and had a ton of variety.

5. Vendor Hall part 2. Weta and their wonderful toys. Weta was there guys. WETA!!!!! And they brought some trolls and Gollum and Smaug. Good enough for me.

All in all this is a very enjoyable con and I will be attending again in the future. I look forward to watching this con grow. I know there is a little competition with SDCC to be the biggest and best con, but unless SLCC improves their nightlife and decides to open on Sunday the title is safe with SDCC. However if you want to attend a big con (110,000) people and can't get into SDCC, I recommend SLCC. You can actually buy tickets and the hotels are reasonably priced!

 - Bat

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