Corrals are everywhere. The lines to the lines are lined with rope after rope. The registration and ticket pickup area, from at least the Thursday, has no trouble making snakes of the situation. The entire building is decked in black and yellow. Up from just a quarter.
VIP is a loose term this year. In swapping out the hour lead for the Saturday and Sunday it is now a three hour block on the Friday. Which too is open to the general public. There is no real otherness then apart from a T-shirt, this time featuring work by local artists. The tote bag contains three Ringtale Cafe cards and a sense that perhaps with this kind of incentive, next year you might as well just buy a 3-day pass because who needs more T-shirts?
Truly it is a state of egalitarianism on the Saturday and Sunday mornings as the VIPs are left waiting outside with the rest of the masses to file in at the opening at 10:00. No sense of difference as they file in huddle by huddle, more than a few still chugging down their drinks at the gate because the tuckshop inside wants to grab some of that sweet $4/bottle money. The delay in walking in at least makes for shuffling out of the hotel more relaxed, no sense of loss because it was never there to be had.
Whatever the sounds is like for the panels sitting in Patterson Ballrooms (hosting AMC’s Comic Book Men and Clerks reunion Q&A at times), they are not for listening to. There is a resonant bubble that traps the audio. The sound can only go as far as the first couple of rows before doubling back. The volume is there, the clarity is not. It’s all bass over treble. Like listening to the conversation while underwater.
Over in the Regency Ballroom, Michael Rooker takes that cube microphone and rallies back and forth with the audience, spending a moving amount opening up the spread of who is asking, as opposed to where it usually ends up being passed along to the next person within arm’s reach. Of course, with that kind of spread, something like one audience member smashing the mike-cube into the light fixture above and sending down a chunk of plastic to narrowly cut the back of someone’s head seems inevitable.
John Wesley Shipp and Michelle Harrison are up on their feet at their panel, showing off their gait and stride on their Flash roles. For panel about Flash’s parents, they do deliver in terms of salient talk about the kind of advice and mindset that goes into mentoring and raising a child through that kind of fake parental relationship.
When the moderator says that each person is allowed one question, it takes a kind of self-centredness from the audience member who starts off with, “I have two questions” or “I have a two part question” and feels no shame.
If these two rooms were badge checking lines, they didn’t care to uphold that. Walking on through without the lanyard is easier to get into these Q&A sessions than it is to the top floor exhibitor and vendor space. Thoroughbred Rooms were badge checking, but only in a sense because to even get to that area you need to pass the badge point elsewhere.
Gone this year are the large signs into the main hall asking people to keep the area clear of themselves and photography. These are now dropping in from the ceiling. An improvement that allows for more flow, and less having to manoeuvre around those infernal signposts. From there the entire floor itself feels roomier, or at least there aren’t any noticeable chokes. Why Sunday is when the line for Charles Marinet (voice of Super Mario) explodes, no clue, but it comes close to blocking the path, yet still things move along.
With all the walking across the weekend there was not one time after Friday where the escalators were all working. At least one out of the six set of people chunkers were down for the count. Not even converted into stairs, but left as is with blockers so that even in their fallback state they are useless and serving no one but the employment of the yellow pedestrian police.
The space that expands on the floor walk eats into those of booths. Many feel like they have only enough room for one person to stand in, and that being the owner. And so you’re face to face trying to see the back wall when the next person is behind you trying to do the same. One booth is staffed with family members to the point that you’re intruding on a family meeting just being there.
Room of which falls into the side of the Artists Alley. There the casual pace up and down looking over the wares takes a breath with no need to rush or feel the jostle of a wave of people bulldozing through. Which itself tails into the end of the days. No need to hustle, the overall weekend has that ease about it, where apart from standing in someone’s kitchen covered in action figures, the whole scene is more relaxed, manageable. Which means leaving off early from a schedule that spaces out. Enough to miss out any announcements of there being the setup to the cosplay competition on the Saturday.
- 9 x 12 inch Poyo commission from Rob Guillory
- Chew volumes 11, “The Last Suppers” and 12, “Sour Grapes”
- A Sketchbook by Tressa Bowling, along with bookmarks showing Spider-Gwen, Poison Ivy, Harley Quinn, Batgirl, and a 9 x 12 inch “Nevertheless, She Persisted” print
- Bookmarks from a couple of tables who don’t even stamp the backs of them with their own names or some other identifying marks
25,500 steps in rough total with a walking boot over a three day weekend from 10-12 March 2017. Mostly in the Heritage Hall of Lexington Center, with other parts around the entire building.
Reviewed on Monday, 27 March 2017