Man, it’s tough attending a big convention when you’re sick as a dog! But the motto for Megacon 2015 was “It’s Fun Time!” and so I soldiered through this high-octane event and still enjoyed what I could!

Held at the Orange County Convention Center in the Orlando, Florida, area from Friday, April 10, through Sunday, April 12, Megacon is the biggest media and comic convention in the Central Florida area. As with other cons that don’t include “comic” in their names, I appreciate the title of this event because there were a lot of media guests, and every indication is that they drew the most ticket-buyers. That’s not to say the comics guests didn’t have their fans in droves – they did! But the lines to talk with the TV and movie stars were much longer than those for comics creators.

Friday was a VERY big day, nearly as large as Saturday, with Sunday being the least-attended of the three.

SPEAKING OF THE GUESTS

HawkgirlTwo big names headlined the guest list, and those were Stan Lee and Hulk Hogan. Wherever he attends, Mr. Lee has long lines waiting to meet him, and that was true again here.

Other media guests included Adam Baldwin and Alan Tudyk from Firefly, Doctor Who’s Alex Kingston, Karen Gillan and Tony Curran, Arrow’s David Ramsey and Summer Glau, Robbie Amell from The Flash, Norman Reedus and Michael Rooker from The Walking Dead, Milo Ventimiglia from Heroes and Gotham, Mark Boone Junior from Sons of Anarchy, and a variety of voice actors.

Of course, I was primarily there for their comics guests, which included Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti, Chuck Dixon, Bob Layton, Billy Tucci, Darwyn Cooke, Ed McGuinness, Ethan Van Sciver, George Perez, Joe Harris, Greg Horn, Sean Chen, John Beatty, and Tim Vigil. If I’ve done my job right, you just may find interviews with some of these folks in upcoming episodes of my weekly Wayne’s Comics Podcast.

There were also booths featuring many area artists selling their wares, and they attracted the attention and dollars of many con-goers. The ones I got to speak with said they were having a great con financially, which is good to hear! Also, many dealers had a lot of merchandise that people were picking up, paying for and taking home, so they also seemed to be having a profitable con.

As always these days, there were many people in costume, and some were great. I saw three great Hawkgirl’s there, for example, which is three more than I normally find at cons. (See the photo left and above, taken by Richard Rivera.) I saw three more Groos I really liked as well. Panels and parties took place both during and after the main convention hours, including an Arrow/Flash discussion featuring stars from both of The CW hit shows.

There were panels and presentations galore, some with the guests while others had local experts of various trades and experiences. There was a zombie walk, a couple of Marvel “fill in the blanks” contests and many more talks and things to do.

IMPROVEMENTS

After last year’s Megacon, a lot of complaints hit the Internet about how things were run. There were concerns about how long it took to get into the con, where one could park (if at all), and getting tickets, among other things.

This year, the organizers seemed to have taken those concerns seriously. For instance, my friend and I arrived three hours early on Friday to get our wristbands to wear during the weekend. There was still a considerable line already in place. We wondered how long it would take to get those armbands, but we were pleased to see the line begin to move almost immediately. In about 20 minutes, we had our armbands … and time to kill. We were also happy to see several of the food vendors open, which helped us buy some sustenance that would prepare us for the day  ahead.

On Friday, the floor wasn’t to open until noon. After we ate, we moved up near where the entrance was to find a huge open area for those of us who came early to walk around … and buy con exclusive items or even more food of many varieties while we waited. The only thing I felt badly about was that long lines had formed where the several entrances were to be, some of them stretching back to the other side’s wall. Many of us kind of walked around and waited for the con to start. When the opening happened, a lot of folks didn’t respect the lines but instead merged with the fans flowing in. This likely delayed those courteous folks who stood in those long lines, who I’m sure weren’t happy with the rest of the crowd. I wonder how this will happen next year.

Talk about full! From the moment the con started until Sunday morning, nearly all the aisles were nearly packed with fans – some in costume, some not.

Most of the people there were indeed “having fun,” and that included the 27 or so folks who had come dressed in Deadpool outfits of one kind or another. At one point, they formed a conga line that danced their way through the waiting area, to the amusement of those of us around them. They also seemed to be entering the costume contest together as they walked in line into it. (See some in the photo below.)

THINGS TO IMPROVE ON

megacon_2015__marvel_and_dc_by_pgw_chaos-d8pgzzpIt’s always true that, even with the improvements we saw this year, there are still a couple of things I’d request be upgraded.

Although the website indicated that there were places where weapons and the like would be inspected, I never saw those locations. It made me just a little nervous at times when I saw a lot of VERY realistic guns and swords moving through the crowd. Just a little “road rage” in a contained space like that could have turned into chaos very easily. Next time, maybe make them a little more obvious, please?

I know that the Arrow/Flash panel was a last-minute addition not listed in the schedule, but it would have been great to have that during regular con hours instead of after it had closed for the day. Just a thought.

I know I’m likely in a very small minority, but I mostly go to cons to track down possible interviews, and I often find them among independent publishers. What made it tough this year (besides my terrible cold) was having to locate these good people all over the place. Some were in Artists Alley, others were near the big stars on the main floor, while still others were in a place that apparently had been designated for “independent publishers.” I don’t know how people get to choose which area they display in, but if somehow they could have been located more closely together, I would have greatly appreciated that!

Still, it was a great experience. I think that if you attended, you had a good time no matter what you were after!

I hear Megacon 2016 will be held even later next year, possibly in late May over the Memorial Day weekend. To find out more about this yearly Central Florida extravaganza, go to their website. I bet it won’t be long before information begins to come our way!

The Author

Wayne Hall

Wayne Hall

Wayne Hall creates the Wayne's Comics Podcast. He’s interviewed Scott Snyder, Greg Capullo, John Layman, Kyle Higgins, Phil Hester, Jimmy Palmiotti & Justin Gray, David Petersen, Christos Gage, Mike Grell, and Matt Kindt. Each episode also includes reviews, news and previews. On this site each week, he writes his "Comics Portal" column (general comics comments and previews) and reviews comics.

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