This is my annual Philadelphia Comic Con report. The name is somewhat misleading. It is about more than comics – all manner of science fiction and fantasy is represented, from old school Star Trek, to current series (books, television, graphic novels) like Game of Thrones.
I can’t remember if I’ve been going three years or four; let say it’s four. It feels like four. This year for the first time I bought tickets in advance. It is actually more expensive to do so, but only by a couple of dollars per ticket and it does save time. This year, also for the first time, I bought a photo op. Actually that wasn’t for me but it was on my credit card, so, close enough.
The photo ops are very expensive, and the price for a photo with more than one actor in a show is more than doubled. Additional prints or a digital download were available for $15.00 each. Someone was selling plastic protective sleeves for $5.00. At this point I started humming “Master of the House” from Les Miz. And yet, it was a once in a lifetime opportunity so we ponied up for a dual photo op. Some birthday and Christmas money was involved there.
Even with advance tickets getting in to the event is time consuming. One problem is that we arrived just as it was opening. For future reference, it would be better to arrive after the initial rush. As with previous years I was impressed with the overall tenor of the convention. People are just well-behaved. They wait in line quietly and are able to patiently follow the lanes marked on the floor in colored tape. It still felt like a cattle chute.
There are events and programs in smaller rooms. One I noticed this year was a panel discussion of the regional game development industry. The abstract in the program booklet said there were 35 such companies in the Philadelphia area. There was a session on women in comics but it looked like all the panelists were men (or had male sounding names).
The vendor area took up one of the large exhibit halls. The acoustics are terrible so phone calls are nearly impossible. I enjoyed wandering around looking at t-shirts, shoulder perching dragon puppets, kimonos, posters, lanyards, jewelry, comics, miscellaneous tchotchkes, and household goods. A number of those attending dress in costume and are willing to pose for photographs. There are other photo opportunities around the exhibit hall, either lifesize cardboard pictures of characters, or backdrops, or vehicles that were features in films or television. For example, there were backdrops of the transporter room of the Starship Enterprise that people could photographic themselves in front of or people could sit in the DeLorean from the Back to the Future films. There was a zombie shooting range, and an artist’s area. A new item that caught my eye is a series of t-shirts with words spelled out in periodic table abbreviations, similar to the Breaking Bad logo. One shirt said Brainy Chick, another said Wiseass. Very cool.
People at the convention are very well-behaved, no line jumping, no shoving, The area to pick up pictures was especially chaotic. The pictures are set out for the taking. No one takes anyone else’s picture. There are definitely crowds but no pushing or shoving.
I tweeted half a dozen photos I took of costumed women. Press reports and convention publicity tends to focus on women who wear skimpy costumes. I saw a number of women in costumes that did not display a lot of skin or were not skin tight. There was a female Dr. Who, Indiana Jones, Thor, and Capt. America. They looked great, and ready and able to take on all foes. Some women created costumes that weren’t based on characters, others came as characters from a variety of media formats. Interestingly there were more men in form fitting costumes this year than in past years. Spandex, generally speaking, is equally (un)flattering to men and women.
This is a good convention. I think it was more crowded this year than past years. A few vendors I asked said they thought attendance was up but they weren’t certain. I enjoyed it but may not revisit the paid photo ops. They are expensive and the pick up area needs some rethinking. I’ll probably be back next year.