Ten days ago, John and I went to our first Planet Comicon in Kansas City. For the past several years, we have spent time at this point in the year in Orlando, where we attended Megacon. Both are 'comic' conventions, but - as always - each has its own flavor. I could not keep myself from comparing them, and I'd like to share my thoughts with you.
A comic convention is, to my mind, a giant dealer's room first and foremost. A huge room, it contains dealers selling t-shirts, toys, models, comics and all sorts of retail items; artists showing and selling their artwork; authors selling their books; fans selling their craft items; fan groups looking for new members; media guests selling autographs and photo shoots; and at least one school trying to drum up new students. If I had to guess, I'd say Planet Comicon's dealer room was about the size of a football field. Happily, they did have some empty chairs lined up against the one empty wall, and I was not the only person who used those chairs. Megacon's dealer room is even larger, with more of all of the above types. There are no chairs along the wall to let your tired feet rest for a moment. I managed to get about halfway through Planet Comicon's dealer room on Friday before I wandered off to see what else was going on, and on that day, it was not horrendously crowded. Megacon's dealer room is always packed with shopping sardines, on any day, and I can't stand being in it for more than a few minutes at a time.
Planet Comicon also had a gaming room, 4 rooms for panels, and 1 room for large panels (panels, for instance, with the media guests tend to have a huge line forming in the hallway at least an hour before-hand). Megacon has a lot of rooms, of various sizes; rooms devoted to gaming, to anime, to costuming, to assorted and sundry other subjects. The largest rooms with the stages are for those panels with the media guests, of course, and there, too, you had better arrive early if you want a seat.
The food vendors at Planet Comicon were mostly brands I had heard of, and their prices were a little high, but not ridiculously so. The food vendors at Megacon are brands I had never heard of before, and their prices are sky high. The one time we bought something from a Megacon food vendor, it didn't taste any good, so we tend to fill our pockets with simple snacks and refill our water bottles from the water fountains.
After a long day at Megacon, one has to walk back all the way through the west wing of the Orange County Convention Center, find your way outside, take your bearings, and then - walk to the furthest end of the colossal parking lot to find your car. I always felt I was hiking back to Nebraska. If I had a similar thought at the end of a Planet Comicon day, as we made our way to our car, at least Nebraska wasn't nearly as far a hike!
Any comments on comic conventions you've attended?