IHoGeek was being represented this weekend on both coasts, and while Killerrqueen and Ladyvader99 partied it up in San Diego, I headed to Hartford, CT for Connecticon.
I often prefer smaller “grassroots” conventions to the oversized, overcrowded, long-line mess that is…well… comic-con. Something about the intimacy of smaller panels, the humility of lesser-known celebrities, the openness of the artists tends to warm my heart. Somehow, CTcon has managed to keep these traits while growing in numbers. This year over 10,000 guests converged in the Hartford Convention center, enjoyed over 200 panels, and met with celebrities who have worked on projects like Final Fantasy video games and webcomics with massive readerships. But still, the dealer room was only slightly squished, and only for about a half hour on Saturday. The artists were happy to chat for however long you’d indulge them. And the longest line I waited in was an hour.
The con’s slogan is “A Massively Multi-genre Convention”, and I could tell from the moment I arrived they would be able to deliver on that promise. The Games room, which was actual a games hall, had tabletop, card and video games all incredibly well represented. Tournaments were held for everything from Magic to Munchkin and back again. The Dealer Room, too, was varied and exciting. It held Artists Alley as well as the first ever “online media guest” hall, where digital artists and webcomic creators sat side-by-side. As far as vendors themselves, there were the usual sellers of comic books, Japanese snacks, and movie posters, but there was something familial about all of them. No, that’s not a spelling error. They felt like family members instead of someone trying to sell their stuff. Vendors were willing and happy to strike up conversations about whatever you were looking for–in my case I needed some Doctor Who literature as research for an upcoming paper (Yup.), and I found it with the help of the lovely folks at M&T Comics.
On Saturday, I brought my youngest sister along for the ride. She had never been to a convention before, but she’s a rather nerdy gal herself and I love sharing my fandoms with her. She fell in love with CTcon almost as quickly as I had, and I was so pleased for her. By about an hour in she was picking panels instead of letting me pick them all, and doing plenty of exploring and asking questions and high-fiving and taking photos… It was a beautiful thing. Not all cons are as welcoming, not everyone is so kind and friendly and approachable. While my sister and I were waiting in line for Jim Cummings’ panel, the Director of Publicity and Public relations came over and said hello. He asked what my favorite part of the con had been so far, introduced himself to my sister and welcomed her, made sure we had seen some of the most interesting panels on the list for the day, and invited us to stop by Con Operations if we needed anything. Maybe this is treatment I will get used to the more I’m wearing a press badge, but it still impressed me.
I didn’t make it up for Sunday’s events–I was exhausted all weekend because the con was an hour and a half away, and I just passed out Saturday night. This means next year I’ll have to get a hotel room. And bring all my friends.
The weekend was so great, in fact, that I can’t cover it all in one post. Later this week, I’ll be posting an interview with Aaron Wood, who is a digital artist specializing in social media propaganda. I’ve got some other feature ideas up my sleeve, but lets keep those a surprise for now. You can see all my photos from the event on our facebook page, in the Connecticon Album.
A huge thanks goes out to Paul Comeau, the Director of Publicity & Public Relations at CTcon, who made the weekend slightly more spectacular, as well as Aaron Wood, who sat down with me to do an interview. Keep your eyes out through the week for more on my time at Connecticon.