What do you do when you’re the premiere media/comics convention in Central Florida, like MegaCon? Well, what these folks did was launch a second con about six months after their big one in order to corner the market! And that’s just what happened on Saturday, November 21, and Sunday, November 22 – they launched MegaCon Fan Days!
Held at the Orange County Convention Center in the Orlando, Florida, MegaCon Fan Days debuted this past weekend. People attending the convention were guessing that it was about a quarter to a seventh the size of the con held back in April of this year, or what MegaCon was like about ten years ago. Yes, there were fewer guests, dealers and fans in attendance, but it was the first! I expect it to be even bigger and better next year around this time!
Interestingly enough, it seemed that the attendance was pretty much the same on both days, which is a good thing for a beginning con. Again, I was both behind the table and in front of it as I made new contacts for my podcast as well as worked to help spread the word about and sell Stabbity Bunny, the comic my roommate has been creating (FULL DISCLOSURE: I also edit that title as well, but he and his artistic team are the real driving forces!)
There were eight media guests there, and that included Billy Boyd from The Lord of the Rings; Jason Isaacs from the Harry Potter films; Ryan Hurst of Sons of Anarchy fame; James Marsters, who has been on just about every TV show ever, but is likely still best known from Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel; John Rhys-Davies from many shows including Sliders, but also The Lord of the Rings; Sean Maher, from Firefly/Serenity; Paul McGann (left), who starred in the Doctor Who movie on Fox; and Indiana Jones’ Karen Allen.
As usual, I was primarily there for their comics guests, which included George Perez, Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti, Rob Hunter, Tim Townsend, Cully Hamner and Mike Perkins. Of course, there were other comics pros there as well, and 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 local artists selling their wares, and they seemed to be some of the biggest draws there. The ones who were at the booth next to the one I was working at said they were having a great con financially, which is always 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 doing well.
Many of these guests participated in discussion panels on both days, and I noticed several Doctor Who discussions in particular. Guess that means Mr. McGann was a busy guy!
OTHER THINGS I NOTICED
Whenever you start up a new convention, even one that’s a spin-off of a popular one, there will inevitably be problems. As I mentioned earlier, there was a much smaller turnout than the big MegaCon attracts, but the people who were there seemed very enthusiastic. Of course, the space Fan Days took up was also much smaller, but they had put this con together in only two months, so that wasn’t a surprise. There were very few lines if any at all, which is something unusual for a convention.
I liked the various clubs of people who developed mechanical characters, such as the steampunk R2-D2 you’ll see to the right. There were several Daleks as well, some remote controlled while others seemed to have people in them. You can see a father feeding his son to two in a photo below. (Kidding, of course!)
There was a good-sized food court to one side of the floor, which helped people keep going. The food was pretty good, but you need to expect that all con food will be starvation avoidance, and costly at that. Still, not bad!
Many artists were selling their wares, and I liked a lot of what I saw. Of course, I met several new independent comics creators, and I picked up some of what they were selling so I could look their product over. Most of it was pretty good considering it was a smaller con.
Star Wars was well represented, including a local SW club. They had a huge display, which you can see elsewhere on this page.
One great thing was the space, and there was a lot of it! Individual dealer booths were almost luxurious in nature, and the fans had plenty of room to walk around and check out everything on display. I ALWAYS love that!
THINGS TO IMPROVE ON
Specifically, I expect there to be more guests, both media and comic book in the future. I liked who they had – George Perez is my all-time favorite artist, after all – but more would be better next year!
As spacious as the floor was, they’ll need more room next year if they get more guests! It was pretty busy most of the time, which was great, but if more people bought tickets, it would have been tough to navigate through the aisles!
I’m sure the Who fans were happy with all those discussion panels, but they need more variety in that department. More shows getting attention would have been cool, even if you have to attract local fans to run those discussions.
I heard from several people that they only advertised very close to the convention location. Central Florida stretches out pretty widely when it comes to genre fans, and I’m sure that next year, they’ll get the word out to more communities! They’ll get a LOT more fans there if they do that!
Still, I found it to be a great experience. For a first-timer, it was a good if somewhat smaller convention. I expect bigger and better things next year!
Let me again say that I hear MegaCon 2016 will be held even later in 2016, 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! Look to hear about next year’s Fan Days at their website, too!