This past weekend, I attended the 2019 Awesome Con in Washington D.C., really the only comics convention in the U.S. Capitol.

As many cons do, Awesome Con had VIPs, people who paid extra for special privileges during the con. Of course, VIP stands for “very important person.” Conventions often depend on the support VIPs offer.

HOW WAS AWESOME CON 2019?

VIP, comic convention, very important person, Awesome Con, alarm, I’ve been to this convention many times over the years, and I think once again that the number of people who attend continues to increase. For example, the Artist Alley, as well as the exhibitors’ area, seemed larger than ever.

Most of the con seemingly went without a hitch. However, I do have a few suggestions for next year:

  1. Whatever is up with the overhead loudspeakers, please fix them! Honestly, from the middle of the exhibitor’s area, I couldn’t tell a single thing the person speaking was saying. Not once! I probably missed out on some important announcements, so I’d recommend looking into this!
  2. Turn off the alarm when some of the food servers open or close their “doors.” They sounded like fire alarms, and they freaked out several people around me. If anything, lower the volume!
  3. Lower the prices on the foods in those food areas. Wow, $4.50 for a bottle of water! $6.00 for French Fries. Granted, we’re paying for convenience, but I’d hope they could be priced to leave some money for the dealers and artists.

BEING A VIP

VIP, comic convention, very important person, Awesome Con, alarm, Now, I can only talk about what a VIP goes through from afar since I’ve never been a VIP. But some of the benefits those who pay to be a VIP gets one early access to the convention floor, among other things. Maybe it was the overhead speaker problem I previously referred to, but I never heard anyone announce that the VIPs were entering at 9:30 a.m. when the rest of the con opened at 10 a.m. I also never saw any information about this on their website or in their program. Maybe I missed it, in which case I’d request this information be easier to find wherever it was.

I know that some cons enable VIPs to get premiere seats during presentations, particularly those from well-known media stars. Others let VIPs take early spots in autograph lines. Some cons have fans pay for VIP status when it comes to specific stars at their con.

Whatever a con offers VIPs, they work to make it worth a fan’s money to pony up the money they have to pay to get it. And the prices for VIP passes can also vary quite a bit.

It’s also important to get your money in as early as possible to get your VIP pass and privileges. Many cons have limited numbers of VIP passes, so you have to pay in as soon as you can or you may not be able to buy one.

Other cons vary what a VIP can do, so you need to check with the specific con you’re interested in.

WHY HAVE VIPs ANYWAY?

VIP, comic convention, very important person, Awesome Con, alarm, I once spoke with a convention organizer about VIP passes, and he was frank with me when he said that the extra funds they gain from VIPs often help the con offer more not only to those people but to other fans as well.

Stars often want wildly different amounts of money from a con to attend, and if there are plenty of fans anxious to buy VIP access for a media star, well, they can then book that person and work to make fan and star alike happy.

I’ve been to some cons who don’t offer VIP privileges, and I often hear from fans attending that they wish the convention had better guests or better access. Well, this is one of those things you have to pay to get, which is a good or bad thing, likely depending on the amount of money you have to spend.

On the other hand, I’ve known several fans who save money all year in order to buy a VIP pass to the con of his or her choice. Yes, they have to do without during the year, but they literally live for that weekend when they get to be a VIP and enjoy those days!

As with many things, it’s up to you as a fan to decide how you want to participate in a convention. Plan ahead as much as you can–that’s the best advice I can give you. Obviously, I haven’t found the VIP package I want to invest in, but I do know a lot of VIPs conventions truly depend on to offer the best programming possible!

What do you think? Do you buy VIP passes? If so, why? If not, why not? Are there ways you think comic conventions could handle VIPs more effectively? Whatever your opinion, be sure to share your opinion and thoughts in the space below!


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About Author

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. On this site each week, he writes his "Comics Portal" column (general comics comments and previews) and reviews comics.

1 Comment

  1. Your friend on

    Food prices at a convention center are nothing the con can do anything about, the foodservice is all run by a union-licensed food service company.

    There are definitely things a con can do to help with noise, but convention center stuff is out of their hands.

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