Sunday, July 31, 2011

Louisville Convention Round-Up: Derby City Comic Con and Fandom Fest 2011

July has been a busy month for conventions in Louisville. After happening upon two conventions quite randomly, I have to say that I had a wonderful time this month. I'll be outlining my experience at each of these conventions within this post. I can safely say that I am no longer a convention noob, or am less of one as of these experiences.

Derby City Comic Con - July 16, 2011
Kentucky International Convention Center

The line to get our wristbands was pretty short, as we got there around noon. The con had begun earlier that morning and there was already quite the turnout. Everyone was very friendly when we picked up our materials, including a commemorative poster.

Even as a non comic reader, and for my first-ever comic book convention, I had a great time. A lot of the day involved walking around looking at art and talking to people, but it was a lot of fun. I bought several prints including a Marvel Heroes and Villains print by Terry Huddleston, a Wolverine print by him, as well as a Captain America print of him punching Hitler in the face, which featured the art of the first cover of the Cap comic.

There were a lot of people in costume, but not nearly the number that I thought there would be. The folks from the Louisville Arcade Expo had Luigi there, which was awesome. We ran into a guy that was cosplaying as Jayne from Firefly. He had a sweet costume.

We met Sam Greenwell who is an artist that has done work for Blizzard. He had his figures of Garona and Sylvanas Windrunner with him and I got a picture. I was seriously speechless! I was fangirling!

The Kentucky International Convention Center is a great facility. Since we were a little unfamiliar with the area, we parked a bit farther away than we could have, but it made for a decent walk. There were options for grabbing food while you were at the convention and there was easy re-admittance.

In general, I was very satisfied by my experience at Derby City Comic Con. I think that for the first year, it was great. The price of the ticket was reasonable and the staff was friendly. I think that next year they can add some more activities to the event. I'd like to see some panel discussions. I will definitely attend next year! Maybe there can be a Kentucky Geek Girl table!

Fandom Fest - July 23, 2011
Fern Valley Hotel and Conference Center

Having had such a great experience at Derby City Comic Con, I was riding on a con high and was stoked to see some celebrities and maybe do some gaming. Fandom Fest promised panels, gaming, celebrities, and a huge vendor hall. I was excited to cosplay as well! I put together my best Indiana Jones themed costume, though I was decidedly missing a jacket. With short notice and limited funds, I think I did pretty well.

I think the thing that stuck out most about the convention was the lack of cosplay. I definitely saw more at DCCC. Is that a more of a trend with comic conventions? Fandom Fest didn't strike me as a solely comic book convention. In fact, there seemed to be a lot of horror influences there, which I learned was because of Fright Night Film Festival. I guess I didn't realize there was a film festival there as well.

I ended up buying a Game of Thrones and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom poster. I search all over for a Raiders of the Lost Ark poster to no avail. Temple not exactly my favorite, but it was neat to at least see Indy being represented.

The room with the celebrities and the general vendor hall was in one building and the gaming and literary tracks were on opposite sides of the hotel. Having it split into two buildings was pretty confusing. It was also pretty strange that a lot of the panels looked like they were just in hotel rooms with the furniture removed. Also, it was really, really hot in the hotel. I mean, it was a very hot day, but it was much hotter inside. On a couple of occasions, I had to take a break and cool off. We ended up going back to change at lunch because it was so hot.

We actually got to attend a lot of panels, considering we were only there for Saturday. In the  morning, I went to a panel on Young Adult literature, on which an awesome author named Julie Kagawa was a panelist. She was really nice! There was a nice group of guys from Hex Games and we found out that they were graduates of Transylvania University, our alma mater! That was seriously awesome. They held a panel about horror gaming, which was really insightful. Sean Fannon with Drive Thru RPG talked about self publishing your games, which sounds like it might be beneficial down the road. He also told me about the Blogger Program that their company runs. I think we might get signed up for that soon.

The vendor halls were pretty crowded. I think that has to do with the hotel more than anything. Perhaps the staff wasn't prepared for the influx of geeks? I don't know. I just hope that the convention isn't there next year because I don't think I would go.

I had a good time aside from it being insanely hot. I do look forward to next year, as long as there is a new location!

I can't wait to go to my next convention.

Here's the album of our pictures!

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