Agent Roffey reports her findings from BOSTON COMIC CON 2015!
Last year’s Boston Comic Con experience left a lot to be desired. As much as I loved the vendors and panel content,long lines (even after buying my tickets online), disorganized panels (roughly six hundred people showed up for a three hundred fifty person amphitheatre), photo op sessions that wouldn’t print for hours, and hidden celebrities (literally, hidden behind a black curtain) had left me with a feeling of discontent. While the good experiences outweighed the bad, I still wasn’t looking forward to a stressful day this year. Over the past few months several online groups that I belong to became meeting places to voice concerns that, despite some noticeable changes (for instance, ticketed panels and a new photo op vendor), potential issues still existed. Concerns ranged from the price hike to the lack of space to having to get your wristband the day of the con.
Kris Waterman, a veteran con-attendee, said “This year’s lineup isn’t in my wheelhouse, (and that) paired with (the) price hike caused me to re-think my plans so I scaled back to a one day pass…the Seaport cannot handle the event as it is configured.”
But I strapped on my homemade duck-tape Catwoman hat (right) and pulled up my bootstraps, because ultimately, I’m an optimist. I paid for two days worth of tickets, so of course we were going. The only thing keeping me from complete dread of long lines & dehydration was this comment:
Comic Con volunteer Rashawn Seams said, “Well, I can’t officially speak for the con, but I can say that the complaints, concerns, and comments are NOT being ignored. Steps have been taken to avoid a lot of the problems that arose from last year.”
I’m happy to tell you that Boston Comic Con 2015 rocked in ten different ways:
1. QUICK ENTRY: We arrived roughly an hour after opening, hoping that the line would be thinned. I was pleasantly surprised when I was directed from the front of the building to the side, where a streamlined system allowed for quick entry, after a pleasant hike around the building that allowed for photos with a stunning ocean background.
2. VISIBLE CELEBRITIES: The very first thing to see (besides the smiling faces of welcoming BCC volunteers) was a large area devoted to the celebrities. It wasn’t blocked off by a black curtain, and it didn’t take up a chunk of the floor. This made me instantly want to get an autograph. I left this for day two, when I got Haley Atwell and Robin Lord Taylor autographs. Still seeing Brett Dalton right there on Friday was enough to get the excitement going.
3. REVAMPED ARTIST ALLEY: I got to speak to a bunch of great writers and artists–because despite the awesome media guests, for most of us they’re added celebrities at our comic book convention– while my husband wrangled the two year old and two teens. The best thing for me was to be able to look around and see so many women. I took the opportunity to purchase some comics and have them signed, starting with the fan-favorite duo of Amanda Conner & Jimmy Palmiotti (Harley Quinn, Power Girl.) fans lined up to see Amanda Conner (pictured below) all day long!
4. QUICK AUTOGRAPH LINES: The autograph lines were so well-planned that even Billie Piper and Hayley Atwell lines were quick and easy. The volunteers were so pleasant they actually had me smiling to wait in line. Since today’s cosplay was Peggy Carter (that’s Agent to you!), I opted to get my hat signed by the one and only Haley Atwell (below left).
The Robin Lord Taylor (Gotham’s Oswald Cobblepot) line went as quickly, and he even took a picture with my daughter. She mentioned loving his scenes with Edward Nigma, and RLT (Spoiler Alert!) said “I love those scenes, too! If you loved those, wait for Season Two!” Shaelin Roffey with Robin Lord Taylor.
5. LIGHTNING FAST PHOTO OPS: We had a family photo with RLT later, and the photo services this year were lightning fast. We planned the most time for this (in fact, I thought I would miss my Marvel Universe panel), but needn’t have worried. Epic Photo, newly hired after last year’s photo fiasco, was quick, courteous, and best of all, we had a photo in hand as we left the booth. Robin Lord Taylo remembered my family, and though the photo went quickly, it still felt personal.
6. WELL-MANAGED PANELS: The Marvel panel was equally well-run, and as a thirty-year-long comic reader and lover, it was everything I could have hoped for. There was ample time for questions, and there were a few small spoilers:
(SPOILER ALERT!!) Bucky, Red Skull and other characters were killed off in Secret Wars. Several titles, revolving around characters who are left “up in the air” during the Secret Wars story lines including fan favorite Black Widow have no announced plans as of yet. Here’s a You Tube from the panel:
Even the biggest draw of this year’s Boston Comic Con, Stan Lee himself, was handled in a professional, time-efficient manner. While I didn’t get to see the Generalissimo myself, Caleb of Hanson said, “It was as organized as you can be with hundreds of people wanting to see him!”
7. THIRD FLOOR LOUNGE: Last year you had to either keep walking or go outside into the heat, neither of which was pleasant when you had been there for several hours. This year, while the Fire Marshal imposed a strict “no loitering” policy on Saturday, the BCC staff politely directed us to the third floor, where there was a separate concession stand and a place to sit in the air conditioning.
8. INTERESTING VENDORS & UNIQUE ITEMS: Telerama’s Edward Lardiere creates memorabilia cases featuring artwork and figures. (right) There were unique POP vinyl figures and action figures galore, and even an Agent Carter POP that wasn’t supposed to be available until later in the year.
9. AMAZING COSPLAY: The cosplay was incredible. We saw Batgirl, Storm, Thors of both genders, heroes and villains, and anime characters. Mistress Ishbo cosplaying Storm Captain Americas and the author as Catwoman & Agent Peggy Carter. I even found Elvis! Gary Gascoyne of Plymouth, MA.
Best thing about the cosplay was that BCC worked very hard to make sure it was family friendly and that they had signs everywhere to remind us: COSPLAY IS NOT CONSENT. It made it a respectful environment and more enjoyable atmosphere.
10. SHOWRUNNERS HAD LISTENED: I could see Boston Comic Con took every suggestion and used it to make a better con experience for everyone. They came up with new, innovative ideas such as electronic tickets and an electronic guidebook that you could download to find your favorite artists, vendors, and panels. They also proved themselves able to think quickly when a problem did arise, such as when Scott Snyder‘s (Batman) autograph line became too big to contain on the back wall. They moved him up to the front where the media guests were signing, and handed out tickets with a time to return. I met up with Kris Waterman, the gentleman who had voiced concerns before Comic Con. His experiences with quick autograph lines and much better entry set-up mirrored my own. All in all, Boston Comic Con 2015 gets an A+ from me for a great experience!
all art~Sandy Roffey