Category Archives: Convention News

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

Denver Based Steampunk Convention Anomaly Con Calls it Quits

After seven successful events, Denver, CO based steampunk convention Anomaly Con has called it quits. Organizer Kronda Siebert made a lengthy post to both the con’s official website and Facebook page explaining their reasoning. For the most part it sounds like losing ten of their twelve directors over the years (and not having replacements) was a large part of the decision. Seibert concluded the post with:

In the turmoil and uncertainty of today’s political climate, I am sorry, from the depths of my heart, that the time has come to retire AnomalyCon and let our remaining staff move on to other projects. But this is not goodbye, my friends. If AnomalyCon has made a difference for you, I hope you will go out and build safe spaces for each other. Stand together, strong, as a community, and no one can take that away from us.

I’ve always had a fond place in my heart for Anomaly Con. I was brought in as a guest for their 2013 event (some of you who mostly know me from this blog may be unaware that I’m the creator of a steampunk webcomic), and had a wonderful time there. Frankly, it was kind of a great experience, where for once as a person in my thirties I didn’t feel either too old (like I do at a lot of Anime cons) or too young (like I do at Science Fiction cons).

I’m genuinely sad to see the event go, but it’s nice to know they went out on a high note. Hopefully a new event will rise up and take its place, as clearly there’s fan demand in that market for a good con like that.

Update: Well, apparently Denver area steampunk fans don’t have to look too hard for a replacement, as a new steampunk event, Whimsy Con, has already been announced for next March.

New York Comic Con Won’t Offer 3-Day and 4-Day Passes This Year

The organizers of New York Comic Con have now announced that their 2017 convention, scheduled for October 5th-8th, will not be selling any three or four day passes to the event. Attendees will only be able to purchase single day tickets.

Organizers explained their reasoning in a news update on their official website:

You may or may not know that the Javits Center is going to be under construction. This means we’ll be working with some space limitations and we want to make sure as many people have the opportunity to buy a ticket and come to the show as possible. Selling only single day tickets will give more fans the chance to buy a ticket for at least a day to experience the fun of NYCC.

Space limitations due to construction mean that fewer people can be in the building at any given time. If someone has purchased a three or four day pass, it means that the convention has to be able to accommodate the attendee for all the days the pass was purchased for — even if the attendee only intends on coming for some of those days.

This could potentially force the convention to turn people away at the door they won’t have to with only single day passes available.

It’s an unfortunate situation, but likely one of the only solutions available to the convention. As this limitation is due to construction at the Javits Center, in all likelyhood New York Comic Con owner ReedPOP will likely return to selling three and four day badges again in 2018.

Hall of Heroes Comic Con Exceeds Expectations, Temporarily Shut Down By Fire Marshals

You’ve probably never been to Elkhart, IN. Heck, I live just two hours away, and I’ve never been there. The people in South Bend probably have, but I’m not so sure if even those people have actually stopped there or just kept driving on through. Either way, the town hosted their first comic con, Hall of Heroes Comic Con, at the Learner Theater last weekend and it was apparently a rousing success.

In fact, it may have been too successful.

Organizers were expecting a few thousand, not the 6,400 that showed up at the event. WSBT reports:

Organizers originally budgeted for only 3,000 people for the entire weekend, but with more than double that number in attendance they’re already planning how to make next year’s even bigger and better.

Comic Con organizers say the turnout was everything they could’ve hoped for and more.

They say at one point the fire marshal even had to shut the event down on Saturday afternoon because the Lerner was over capacity.

While it’s nice to see a new event take off (especially when I’ve gotten so used to seeing cons fall apart), it is a little concerning that the fire marshal had to step in at one point. For them to take action, it means that the con wasn’t monitoring their capacity, and kept letting people in even once they exceeded the venue’s safe limits.

Hopefully next year they’ll be better prepared.

Via WSBT

Elite Con’s Cosplay Ban Is Causing the Internet to Flip Out

Elite Con is a tiny, one day collectors’ show scheduled for this Sunday, March 12th, in Tampa Florida. It’s a small, specialty event targeted exclusively at high end collectors, and normally it’d just fly under everyone’s radar.

Except thanks to social media, not so much.

You see, the convention made a couple of posts the other day (which have since been deleted) to their official Facebook page detailing a policy which has turned out to be fairly controversial: The con has banned all forms of cosplay. Continue reading Elite Con’s Cosplay Ban Is Causing the Internet to Flip Out

Guests from STX Brazos Valley Comic Con Still Haven’t Been Paid, Organizer Ben Fritzsching Remains Silent

About a month ago we reported that some guests from STX Brazos Valley Comic Con (or Brazos Valley STX Comic Con depending on where you look) were getting charged for “comped” hotel rooms months after the event. Since then, the website has been taken down, the Facebook page has gone quiet, and there hasn’t been a peep from organizer Ben Fritzsching.

Besides the hotel room fiasco, more guests are coming forward and talking about how the event just plain hasn’t paid them the amounts guaranteed in their contracts still. Actress Melendy Britt posted a lengthy statement on her official Facebook page detailing her and fellow guest Alan Oppenheimer’s issues with the event. The two also spoke with KBTX about their experiences.

Effectively, organizer Ben Fritzsching told the event’s guests that there was no money to pay them at the event. Fritzsching then, at several guests’ request, gave them written IOU’s with the promise that the money would be paid by the end of 2016. Agent Nery Nolan Lemus posted a copy of one of the IOUs to the group Rate that Comic Con on Facebook:


As it’s now March of 2017, and we’re writing about this, you can imagine how well those IOUs held up.

Ben Fritzsching has been completely incommunicado too, not responding to any attempts at contact from guests, agents, or other affected parties. Fritzsching has also ignored media requests as well, including our own attempts to contact both the convention and Fritzsching directly.

This is, in all honesty, completely ridiculous.

New Jersey’s ‘Anime Fan Fest’ 2017 Has Been Cancelled, Is Apparently a ‘Major Bummer’

Well, mark another con in the cancellation file. Otaku Magazine’s Anime Fan Fest was originally scheduled for April 22-23, 2017 at the Garden State Exhibit Center in Somerset, NJ. Unfortunately for fans in the area, this is no longer true.

The Anime Fan Fest official Facebook page posted the following earlier today:

MAJOR BUMMER- We are so sorry to inform you that due to complications with the facility, Anime Fan Fest 2017 has been canceled. We've started issuing refunds to our attendees, vendors, and artists. Please note funds may take up to 3-5 business days to return to your account. Thank you for understanding and we apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

No reasons were given for the event’s cancellation beyond “complications with the facility,” though we can speculate it’s likely for the normal reasons any con cancels — no one is buying. Frankly, we’ve heard reports of sub par experiences from their 2016 event, so there’s been a distinct lack of surprise. The event organizers did go on to say in the comments that they were unsure of their plans for the con in 2018 as well.

None of this seems to have affected Anime Fan Fest Baltimore, which is still scheduled to take place this June, though when an organization starts cancelling events less than seven weeks before their dates, they don’t exactly look stable.

Phoenix Comicon Sends Out a Third Party Survey, Accidentally Lets Things Get Weird

It’s not uncommon practice for a convention to maintain a mailing list to stay in contact with their attendees and vendors. People sign up for these lists to get the latest news about their favorite (or not so favorite) cons, and it’s not uncommon for these lists to occasionally send out something non-con related that organizers might think would be of interest to their fans.

As The Geek Lyfe is reporting, Phoenix Comicon convention director Matthew Solberg thought he was doing just that when he sent out a link to a survey on Cosplay to the group. It was put together by long time Phoenix Comicon volunteer Connor Leshner who was working on a research project at Arizona State University, and sending it out probably seemed harmless enough.

But we’re betting Solberg probably never read the whole thing.

You see, what started off normally enough, with questions about whether or not couples had ever cosplayed together, took a turn that maybe some of the people who signed up for a family friendly mailing list weren’t expecting.

Specifically, they got to this question: Continue reading Phoenix Comicon Sends Out a Third Party Survey, Accidentally Lets Things Get Weird

Missouri’s Lebanon MEGA Con 2017 Cancelled One Month Before Event

Originally scheduled for March 31st-April 2nd, it appears that Lebanon, MO based Lebanon MEGA Con has unfortunately been cancelled. Organizers posted an official statement on the cancellation on both the official website and Facebook page yesterday:

It is with deep sadness and a heavy heart that we must announce that the Lebanon MEGA Con Scheduled for March 31st through April 2nd in Lebanon Missouri is cancelled.. Due to a variety of reasons, the organizer and the staff of the Lebanon MEGA Con have decided it best to cancel the event instead of trying to run the event with the potential of problems and individuals not getting what was promised. There has been many events in the past that failed to give what was promised and we would rather cancel the event than become one of those. I apologize for any inconvenience that this may cause and we hope you have a great year. If you were one of the pre-orders we will be refunding your ticket purchase here shortly.

The 2017 con would have been Lebanon MEGA Con’s second year, and it’s always sad when a con potentially goes under. Whether or not the convention will be back in 2018 remains up in the air right now.

The only upside I can see from this is that Lebanon MEGA Con isn’t the only con this spring in southern Missouri. Just a few weeks later Oz Con is scheduled to take place just two hours away in West Plains, MO from April 28-30. I was a guest at Oz Con 2015, and it’s a pretty solid event which should tide local geeks over for sure.

Update (3/2 5pm): From what we’re seeing, guests scheduled to appear at the convention and exhibitors were literally just informed with the exact same form letter above. We’ve confirmed this with one guest’s agent, and exhibitor David Faught has also posted it to Facebook.

We’ve also heard that the deposit had not been actually paid to the venue yet, the Cowan Civic Center, even though the con was just a month away. We’ve reached out to the Cowan Civic Center to confirm this, but haven’t received a response. We’ve also attempted to reach out to organizer Will Peden via Facebook, but haven’t heard back from him either.

Update (3/2 6:30pm): Peden responded to our request for comment, and stated that preregistered attendees will be refunded through Seetickets.us. Of course, that’s not many people, as Peden cited low registration numbers as one of the reasons the con was cancelled.

Comic Writer Tom Taylor Cancels Emerald City Comicon Appearance, Will No Longer Do U.S. Based Cons

Current writer of Marvel’s All New Wolverine comic Tom Taylor has canceled his appearance at this week’s Emerald City Comicon. The Australian based writer announced the cancellation in a post to his facebook page, and also stated that he will no longer be accepting invitations to US based conventions.

The reason for this is because of the difficultly international travelers have been facing entering the United States since President Donald Trump took office. In his statement Taylor specifically said:

There have been reports of interrogation, phone data downloads, requests for social media accounts, returns and five-year travel bans and everyone from children to the elderly being detained. All of this has many people I’ve spoken to reconsidering or cancelling their US travel plans.

I’ve had friends and people I work with suggest I leave my phone at home, or delete my twitter account for a month before I come.

I refuse those terms.

My twitter account isn’t complimentary towards the current administration, but it’s far from inflammatory and shouldn’t need to be scrutinized to gain entry to a country where free-speech is so highly valued.

Taylor goes on to say that even if he himself, as a straight, white man, might not be subjected to these things, he can’t stand the thought of getting on to a fifteen hour flight and worrying his family while they wait to hear from him.

Honestly? I have a hard time blaming the guy. I also wouldn’t be surprised if more and more non-American convention guests decided to start staying away from U.S. based events.

Angry Goat Productions Quietly Cancels Their Sailor Moon Themed Events

A few weeks ago we ran an article about the sketchy nature of Ray Jelley’s Angry Goat Productions. They were planning a handful of Sailor Moon themed events centered around a convention called Cosplay Unplugged Los Angeles which was setting off red flags all over the place.

Red flags like advertising their venue as Los Angeles’s “The Reef,” which they hadn’t actually booked.

What we found was a company that appeared to be one of the most poorly managed fandom events companies we’d seen for a while. Despite years of operations and multiple announced events, none of their cruises, conventions, or train rides ever seemed to actually take place. Our advice was simple: even though we didn’t think anything criminal was happening, these guys seemed like people it wasn’t worth giving your money to.

And, well, it seems we were right.

Despite promises that tickets would be going on sale soon and that a new venue was being booked, it appears that at least all of the Sailor Moon themed events have now been cancelled. Continue reading Angry Goat Productions Quietly Cancels Their Sailor Moon Themed Events