Although the 2015 MegaCon was conducted in mid-April, this year’s event just concluded since it was held at the Orange County Convention Center in the Orlando, Florida, area from Thursday, May 26, through Sunday, May 29. This year was also a four-day con, unlike the three-day one held last year. It was also the first year under new ownership.
MegaCon remains the biggest media and comic convention in the Central Florida area. Thursday was the least-attended day, only open from mid-afternoon through 9 p.m. Friday was bigger, with Saturday being the largest. Sunday was closer to Saturday than any other day, which was something since most conventions return to Friday-level attendance.
THE GUESTS WERE BIG ATTRACTIONS
Two big names headlined the guest list, and those were Stan Lee (who returned again this year) and William Shatner of Star Trek fame.
Other media guests included Adam West and Burt Ward from Batman, George Takei and Nichelle Nichols from the aforementioned Star Trek, Doctor Who’s John Barrowman, Billie Piper, and Michelle Gomez, Carlos Valdes from The Flash, Lennie James and Tom Payne from The Walking Dead, Katie Cassidy from Arrow, Elden Henson from Daredevil, to name a few, and a variety of voice actors including Kevin Conroy from Batman: The Animated Series.
As per usual, I was primarily there for their comics guests, which included Frank Miller, Andy Kubert, Brian Azzarello, Kevin Smith, Gail Simone, David and Meredith Finch, Neal Adams, Jae Lee, Peter David and Greg Capullo. As I try at every con, some of the comics creators mentioned may be interviewed in upcoming episodes of my weekly Wayne’s Comics Podcast.
I was helping at the Stabbity Bunny booth in the Artist Alley, which had a lot of folks selling their wares, and they drew a lot of the attention and dollars of many con-goers. The ones I got to speak with said this year wasn’t as great financially as years past, sadly! Even though the attendance seemed higher, the number of people parting with their hard-earned money seemed to be fewer in 2016.
There were lots of great cosplayers, as always, and I particularly enjoyed the Juggernaut you’ll see elsewhere on this page and a Doctor Fate that just sparkled.
Because I was busy, I didn’t get to go to the many panels and presentations on the schedule, some populated with guests while others had local experts of various trades and experiences. Rats! Maybe next year!
One accomplishment I feel really good about was seeing the 1966 Batmobile in person for the very first time! I’ve been at cons where it has been in the past, but this time I actually got to see it and stand near it! Whoo-hoo!
The floor seemed to be arranged differently this year, and on many levels, that worked well. I found it easier to locate booths on the main floor, for instance.
Of course, the additional day really seemed to be a big benefit to many of the people who attended. Although they weren’t open on that day as long as they were the other days, people who were busy on this holiday weekend seemed glad to be able to get to the con before the holiday weekend began in earnest.
There was a lot better access to food at the convention as well. And the variety of food seemed better. There seemed to be more tables to sit down and eat at, something a lot of people took advantage of!
THINGS TO IMPROVE ON
It’s always true that, even with the improvements we saw this year, there are still a couple of things I’d request be upgraded.
Since we were in Artists Alley, we had a tough time directing people to our booth. It seemed that the main section of the floor had a numbering system that was completely different from where we were, so even though we were in the 200s, the aisle directly down the aisle from us in Artists Alley was #600. It would be great if they could resolve that next year! I’d suggest either keeping the numberings the same or maybe use letters for Artists Alley.
I know I often grouse about this, but since I mostly go to cons mostly to track down possible interviews, I want to find many of the independent publishers. Like last year, these good people were all over the place. Some were in Artists Alley, others were near the big stars on the main floor, while still others were in the main floor just outside of Artists Alley. I noticed that several of the novel authors seemed to be in one row, but not all, sadly. Several people looking for Indie comics creators and not knowing the names of many of them simply couldn’t locate them. If they could 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 good experience on both sides of the table. I think that if you were there, you had a good time no matter what you were interested in!
The rumor circulating the floor this time was that they weren’t going to run a second con in Orlando as they did with MegaCon Fan Days last year. Instead, they’re holding a MegaCon Tampa Bay from October 28 through the 30th at the Tampa Convention Center. Guests already announced as appearing include Mr. Shatner (Him again!), David Tennant and Karl Urban. For more information, go to megacontampabay.com!
To find out more about this yearly Central Florida extravaganza, go to their website. I bet it won’t be long before information about 2017 begins to come our way!