Category Archives: Convention News

In depth reporting on issues and news within the North American Convention Scene.

Hey Titan Fan Con – Maybe DON’T Tell Attendees to Directly Contact Guests Who Cancel?

So Titan Fan Con is a small comic convention that ran last weekend in Odessa, TX. It’s one of the myriad of small cons that dot the American country side, and with a small attendance it normally wouldn’t get close to registering on our radar. For a con like this to end up filling column inches on Nerd & Tie, they’d have to do something spectacularly amazing or spectacularly stupid.

They apparently decided to opt for the latter.

Actor Seth Gilliam, best known for his role on The Walking Dead, was originally slated to appear at the convention. A few days before the event, though, the actor cancelled his appearance. When stuff like this happens, it’s always unfortunate — but it’s a known risk running events where you bring in media celebrities. When Titan Fan Con announced the cancellation though, they didn’t exactly handle it well. Continue reading Hey Titan Fan Con – Maybe DON’T Tell Attendees to Directly Contact Guests Who Cancel?

Niantic Announces ‘Pokemon GO Fest,’ Whatever the Heck That Is

This week Niantic announced that in celebration of the first anniversary of their popular game Pokemon Go, they’re hosting an event called “Pokemon Go Fest” in Chicago’s Grant Park on July 22, 2017. Tickets will go on sale on the official website on June 19th… and we have no idea what the heck it is.

Will there be Legendaries? Vendors? Anything beyond wandering around the park like every other meetup we’ve seen? We have absolutely no idea. But it’s a thing, it’s happening, and they’re going to charge money for it.

In that same announcement, Niantic wrote that separate European events are planned, there’s a Pikachu event in Yokohama, Japan this August, and that starting June 13th a Solstice event will kick off featuring fire and ice Pokemon. Finally, the company also mentioned that the game’s gym system is being reworked, a part of the game that is long overdue for an overhaul. It’ll be interesting to see how that bit turns out.

But yeah — something is happening in Chicago this July, and we have no idea what the heck it is.

Wizard World’s Money Problems Continue With Shrinking Margins

Convention mega chain Wizard World has had some widely reported financial issues over the last few years, and it looks like things haven’t gotten any better for the company. Even having scaled back operations to fewer conventions and securing outside funding from Bristol Investment Fund, the company still managed to lose over $1.28 million in the first quarter of 2017.

Revenue per Wizard World show is down $99,096 from 2016, and with an ever more crowded con market, I can’t really see that getting better soon. This isn’t even to mention the “Con Box” subscription service, which appears to have fallen apart completely.

Honestly, as more and more pop culture events spring up across the country, and celebrity guarantees rise, the costs are making the continued existence of a chain like Wizard World untenable. Where finding big name celebrities at a regional con used to be novelty, it’s becoming less and less of one as time goes by. Without that draw (and a pretty hefty entrance fee), it’s hard to see a bright future for the company in its current state.

Via Newsarama

Colossus Con Rebrands After ColossalCon files Trademark Complaint

After running two events, California based Colossus Con has now been forced to rename their comic conventions. This has happened in the wake of a trademark complaint from Ohio based anime con ColossalCon. The Colossus Con events planned for Merced, CA and Campbell, CA have been renamed California Republic Comic Con and Campbell Con respectively.

As a 2018 Pleasanton, CA event hasn’t been announced yet, we don’t know what that event will be called if it happens again.

ColossalCon alleges that the Colossus Con name is confusing for consumers who might think the two events are related. I can see where they’re coming from, as even searching for Colossus Con in Google has the related search “colossus con ohio” pop up. That said, the two events aren’t in the same genre, have thousands of miles between them, and had names that are literally two different words. If ColossalCon’s branding is so weak after sixteen years that its attendees can’t remember its name, they have much larger problems.

The convention scene has gotten by for decades with events that have similar sounding names without congoers getting confused. Heck, there are literally two different events called MarsCon, yet we’ve all somehow survived. The idea that these cons would be confused for one another makes my eyes roll so hard it’s likely audible.

If these events were in the same area of the country or were based around the same genre, maybe I’d understand more; however, this really just feels like ColossalCon pushing around a smaller series of events because it can. And while the event certainly has the right to defend its trademark, I still can’t help but feel a tad bit iffy about this whole situation. Colossus Con clearly folded because it couldn’t afford to fight the case, even if they had a shot at winning it.

And frankly, it’s kind of ridiculous.

h/t Patrick Delahanty

Sam Jones Denies That He and Lou Ferrigno Got Into a Fight at MCM London Comic Con

There were multiple articles published about a fan allegedly having to break up a fight between actors Sam Jones and Lou Ferrigno at this last weekend’s MCM London Comic Con. Darryn Clements told UK tabloid The Sun that he had to step in and defuse a potentially violent situation. Now, Clements never claimed that there was a physical altercation beyond some finger jabbing, but when Flash Gordon and the Incredible Hulk appear to be squaring off, people like to run with the story.

Now that everything’s done with though, both actors are denying that any of this ever happened.

Lou Ferrigno told the press that he and Jones were just talking, and that there was no real argument. Sam Jones though offered a very different version of events in a lengthy Facebook post:

You see, according to Jones, not only were he and Ferrigno not fighting with each other, but they actually defused a whole other fight between other people. I’m honestly not sure what the heck is going on here, as Jones seems to either be mentioning a story wholly unrelated to the alleged fight or going a step too far and making up a random thing to justify the initial press?

I mean, in truth people just said he and Ferrigno argued, which is subjective. Something that two guys who know each other well see as no big deal might have looked like a fight to an outsider. Frankly, we weren’t going to report on it at all, as it seemed trivial. But now Jones is bringing in a supposed argument that no one else is corroborating between other people, and painting himself as a hero.

And it’s just super, super weird.

Man Armed With Four Guns, Multiple Knives Arrested at Phoenix Comicon

Thursday afternoon a man carrying a shotgun, three handguns and multiple knives was arrested at Phoenix Comicon. The thirty year old man, who has not been publicly identified yet, was allegedly taking photos of police officers present. Authorities believe he had intended to harm or kill police, but was taken into custody before he was given a chance.

In response, the convention has banned all weapons from the event for the duration of the weekend, including props and toy guns. The convention will also be increasing security at the event, which they announced in an official statement on Facebook.

Conventions are, like any gathering, targets for potential hostile acts. Honestly, this reminds me of the two young men arrested in 2015 prior to the Pokemon World Championship in Boston, MA. In both of these cases, tragedy was averted because concerned members of the community alerted authorities when something just didn’t feel right. It should be noted that other cons taking place this weekend were already on high alert, due to the recent Manchester bombings. Alamo City Comic Con had already announced extensive security restrictions prior to the events in Phoenix, AZ.

We got lucky again, but only because people were vigilant.

Update: The individual arrested has been revealed to be a man named Mathew Sterling. Sterling stated to police he intended to shoot not just officers but also actor Jason David Frank. Sterling also had been intentionally avoiding weapon check stations, and was allegedly dressed in cosplay as The Punisher.

Via 12 News

Kollision Con Calling it Quits, Organizers Launching GEM Expo Chicago Gaming Con in Its Place

After six conventions, Chicago based anime convention Kollision Con‘s organizers have decided to call it quits. They made the announcement on the con’s official Facebook page late last week, citing venue issues and an overcrowded Anime con scene as their primary reasons for ending the show.

The organizers aren’t giving up on running conventions though, as in that same post they announced the GEM Expo Chicago, a gaming convention that will occupy the dates originally reserved for Kollision Con 2017.

Honestly, this is a smart move.

The anime con scene is far more crowded than the gaming con scene, and with their November dates, Kollision Con was always competing with Wisconsin’s Daisho Con (which is about a week later and just a few hours away). Frankly, it seems like you can’t throw a rock without hitting an anime con these days, and the market is far too saturated for a lot of events to survive. Gaming cons, while plentiful, tend to be cheaper to run (as the guest budget is much smaller), and are far more likely to be sustainable in the current market.

Hopefully this works out better for them.

West Plains, MO Based Oz-Con Plans Game Day Event to Make Up For Canceled Day of Con

West Plains, MO based gaming convention Oz-Con had a bit of tough time this year. You see, they ended up having to cancel the event about two thirds of the way through due to bad weather. How bad was it? Well… I believe the term most people would use is “historic flooding.”

So yeah, it was pretty severe. The convention lost power on Saturday, and had to cancel the Sunday of the event as the venue was no longer considered safe. Attendees who couldn’t get home or to their hotels ended up at a nearby emergency shelter, and the convention staff did their best to make sure that attendees were able to connect to their loved ones.

So yeah, it was bad.

And I think any reasonable person would forgive the con, considering this was an extreme, unpredictable situation where homes and lives were literally lost. What’s the Sunday of a con compared to that? To the extreme credit of the Oz-Con organizers though, they still want to try to make it right.

Yesterday Oz-Con organizers announced an event they’re calling “Flood Con.” It’s a free game day the con is hosting from 9:00am until 10:00pm on June 17th at the Missouri State University-West Plains Student Rec Center. Admission is free, but they’ll also be accepting cash donations and canned food items to help with ongoing flood relief in the area. There will be video games, tabletop games, and fellow geeks to have a grand old time with.

It’s a generous move, and it’s far more than a lot of other cons would do. You can find more information on the official Facebook event for “Flood Con,” and if you’re in the area and you can afford to donate towards the relief efforts in the area, this is a great opportunity to do so.

Great Lakes Fur Con Canceled Due to ‘Staffing Issues,’ But We’re Not Quite Sure We’re Buying That

So Great Lakes Fur Con was originally scheduled to take place May 26-28 in Holland, MI, but (less than two weeks before the con) the event has now been officially canceled. Organizers made a post on both their official website and the con’s Facebook page announcing the cancellation:

Organizers cited staffing issues as the main reason the con wasn’t going to happen, but I’m not quite sure I’m buying it. For one, why did it take so long to make this decision? How would they not have known they couldn’t staff the con months ago? Why didn’t they reach out to other Michigan cons to fill in their numbers? I mean, according to the con, these were core staff people they were missing, and not just volunteers.

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Digging into this, I think it’s pretty obvious that any staffing concerns they had weren’t the main reason the organizers called it quits. I think it’s because of something simpler and much more common.

I think the con is broke. Continue reading Great Lakes Fur Con Canceled Due to ‘Staffing Issues,’ But We’re Not Quite Sure We’re Buying That

Space City Comic Con Rebrands as Fandom Galaxy, Weirdly Lies About It

Last year was kind of a mess for Houston based Space City Comic Con. During last year’s con there were massive issues which included guests getting written bad checks, organizers calling the cops on said guests, and a whole mess of issues with VIP passes. To say that people were a bit angry at the convention and organizer George Comits would be an understatement.

It looked like the end for Space City Comic Con, and they didn’t plan a 2017 event. We thought the con would fade into fandom memory until about a month ago, when new logos started getting uploaded to the con’s social media pages. The official Twitter account and Facebook page were both renamed to “Fandom Galaxy.”

Most people assumed that this was a simple rebranding. The con had historically cycled through a few names, and there was that whole lawsuit over their old one. Frankly (for obvious reasons) it was clear that the con would want to distance itself from past bad press.

But when people started to press the issue, whoever was operating the “Fandom Galaxy” social media denied being connected to the old convention’s management. This is only puzzling because, well, they veritably are. Continue reading Space City Comic Con Rebrands as Fandom Galaxy, Weirdly Lies About It