Friday, June 7, 2013

ReCONnaissance: Tri-State Comic-Con 2013

Back in April, I attended my first convention close to my hometown of Flatwoods, Kentucky. Tri-State Comic-Con (henceforth known as Trion) was held on April 6 at the Big Sandy Superstore Arena in beautiful Huntington, WV. The first convention of its kind in the Tri-State area that I know of, it was a well attended and well managed event which was a definite crowd-pleaser.

The Big Sandy Superstore Arena is a great venue and being there was a trip down memory lane. I think the last time I'd attended an event there was roughly 2003 or 2004 when I saw a WWE show there on a snowy winter Sunday. (This was before Pullman Square was built and I saw a bunch of wrestlers at the Chi-Chis which used to be adjacent to the arena.) The areana a great space and very open. Planners made use of the arena well; the layout of the convention was easy to navigate. There was plenty of room for vendors and exhibitors alike and the aisles were very wide. You didn't feel like you were going to bump into someone because the aisles were too narrow.

The check-in process was very smooth and the staff was friendly. It was easy to pick up my media badge and there was a nice table where you could pick up a bag for your goodies and a nice program. The program was magazine style and featured some articles written by the convention promoters and others related to the show. It included a list of panels and some information about all of the artists.

I had a great time at the show and it was great to see so many people that I know! I loved being able to say hello to Tressa and Justin and it was a pleasure to meet Chad Lambert in person. I had a nice chat with Joe Grahn, writer of the Pirate Eye series from Action Lab Comics. Tommy Patterson, artist for the Game of Thrones comics from Dynamite Entertainment, signed my trade of the first volume and even drew Tyrion! As a very new comics reader, I was so glad to walk away with my own little haul!

The show was very comics focused and included a lot of small press and local creators, which was great. I think showcasing local talent is a very important thing. Many of the creators have a local connection even if they work for some of the big studios, which is very cool. It seemed like a lot of the convention-goers were from the Tri-state area as well, though to be honest I did recognize a few people from Lexington Comic and Toy Convention, which is awesome. This is just another example of how starved this region has been for good conventions and how it's destined to become a popular destination.

There were some interesting topics for panels including Chad Lambert's work on the Mothman, a Q&A with Walking Dead zombie Kevin Galbraith, and The Art of Art, which included friend of KGG Justin Stewart. I listened in to a bit of Chad's panel and was able to record most of The Art of Art, which you can view below. I'm  not sure if I would have put the panel "room" on the show floor. On the one hand it made for a very convenient way to access the panels, but it made for a bit of an awkward exit if you needed to get up and leave. I would have placed the entrance to the area at the back or just added a second entrance in the rear.

As you can see from this video, all of the creators that were chosen for the panel were male. Now, I'm not saying that's a bad thing, but I think female voices would have been nice as well. Women were not in the minority in terms of attendees, but the lack of a female presence was definitely noted in guests and exhibitors. I hope there might be a bit more diversity next year.

As I said before, the convention seemed to be well attended. I believe they had around two thousand attendees. It was definitely something that the area needed and I have no doubt that it will only continue to grow next year. It's obvious that Maddox and Watkins care about the fans. Though I was granted a media pass, it did seem that ticket prices were very affordable and the model of the one day convention definitely worked for Tricon. The return on investment seemed to be very high for attendees; you definitely got some bang for your buck.

I wish nothing but the best for Tricon and hope it continues to grow and prosper as the years go on. I certainly thank the promoters for allowing me to attend and I hope to be back next year if the date works with my schedule!

For more pictures from Tricon and a nice wrap-up by Chuck Moore of Comic Related (and the owner of Derby City Comic Con) check out their hub! Might I add how nice it is to see a convention promoter be so complimentary of another show. It warms my heart.

And as always check back with Kentucky Geek Girl for more convention coverage and geeky awesomeness.

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