Space City Con, 2015! A review.
“Oh hey,” says I, “I’ve got a clear schedule for Sunday afternoon. Wonder what I should do?”
Seeing as of how it’s the stupid hot time of the year, I decided to stay indoors- in particular, indoors at the NRG convention center, for the Space City con. Woo nerdery.
Maybe I’m just getting old, or maybe the fact I can typically make it to these things for only a few hours on Sunday, but cons can tend to look the same after awhile. There’s a dealer’s room, various celebrities of varying levels of fame, a bit of cosplay (along with like a bajillion variations on Harley Quinn), and so on. And in this, Space City con had the typical stuff that one would expect.
Almost. Y’see, while there were indeed booths and Harleys and such, there also was a lack of stuff to do.
It’s possible I’m being a little unfair. In comparison, Comicpalooza had a ton of stuff going on. There were dozens of rooms for panels, an auditorium for the really popular celebs, a big stage for music, no less than two wrestling rings, and a roller derby track. In comparison, Space City con had … three panel rooms. Huh. This strikes me as particularly egregious, as the guest list was honestly somewhat impressive. William Shatner! Most of the cast of Voyager! The dude who played Deathstroke on Arrow! A bunch of Power Rangers!
I’m normally not big on the celeb-pic/autograph/sketchbook thing, but Cynthia Rothrock’s booth didn’t have a line.
Unfortunately, the impression that I got was that most of the guests were just there to sell autographs and stuff- though there was a panel on Power Rangers Time Force, at least, so that might’ve been cool (if I cared about Power Rangers Time Force). Honestly, my favorite thing to do at a convention is to amble around and stumble into various interesting-sounding panels, either on industry/publishing stuff, or just as an opportunity to learn more about a show or an actor I’m a fan of. The dearth of interesting programming at Space City Con was pretty disappointing.
Now, I know Comicpalooza is huge, and therefore they can support more programming- but at the same time, a Sunday ticket for either ‘con costs about the same, so the discrepancy in entertainment-to-dollar ratio is a bit galling. Furthermore, the NRG center’s not directly attached to a Hotel- not that it made too much of a difference to someone attending for just a day like me, but anyone there for the full weekend (especially if you were from out of town) might be in for a logistical challenge without an easily available ‘home base’ hotel room to fall back on. Or maybe there was a super happening room party/party floor elsewhere that I just wasn’t aware of, who knows.
So yeah. I whiled away a couple hours, roaming the dealer room and marvelling at some of the stuff on sale. (Boxed Exo-Squad E-Frames go for 75 bucks a pop now). I occupied myself as best I could; there was a panel on self-publishing, and a fairly busy video game room that had a fun looking FPS where one team was made up of dinosaurs (I may have to look into that later), but nothing really jumped out at me as a highlight of the con. Maybe I’m just bummed because I missed Naomi Novik- I’d really wanted to meet her, but she was only there on Saturday. Ah well.
At least I didn’t come home empty handed. Observe!
The comics and the GI Joe (research tells me his name is Stretcher) came from a ‘mystery box’ that one of the dealers had put together. The fun grab-bag aspect of it appealed to me. The book is by Gabrielle Faust, who was one of the authors in the only actual panel that I was interested in while I was there; though I feel kiiiind of bad because she had a different book that looked a bit more interesting but by the time I saw it she had already signed this one. I’m afraid it’ll be a painful read, whenever I get around to it…which should at least make for a hilarious review, so yay for that? Finally, I got those CCG decks from an aquaintance of mine I ran into; I’m not a big CCG guy, but he gave ’em to me for free. Free swag is always rad, so there’s that.
All and all, Space City Con wasn’t terrible- it just didn’t offer that much to write about. I probably wouldn’t be so grumpy if the tickets cost about half of what they did. As it is, Space City Con came off as more of a nerdy (and pricey!) flea market, more than a fan-based experience.
Oh, and as an amusing side note, the NRG center had another convention going on next door.
When I first saw the sign for ‘Sneakers,’ I thought it had something to do with hackers and/or that cheesy 90’s movie, but no. It was actually about shoes. There were a bunch of guys carting around stacks of shoeboxes with various sneakers on top- to show off, I guess? I’m sure they were looking at the people dressed up like Stormtroopers and Black Widows with the same kind of confusion. Kind of interesting, to see a particular fandom from the outside.
It would’ve been even more interesting to investigate further, but I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t have let me in. I was wearing hiking boots.