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Comic fans enjoy convention…for a price

A conventioneer shows off his Scarecrow costume
Photo Credit: Jennah Bullaro

Author’s Note: I work as a volunteer on the Ai-Kon planning committee.

In its fourth year of operation, the Central Canada Comic Con has become one of the fastest growing conventions of its kind in North America, with attendance numbers jumping from 2,600 for its inaugural 2006 edition to 16,500 for the 2008 event.

With recognizable guests and a large number of merchandise dealers, it attracts more and more comic fans every year, however not all of them were pleased with the set-up of the 2009 edition.

In addition to the admission cost ($12 for one day, $20 for the weekend), attendees found themselves being charged for nearly everything the con could offer.

Autographs cost upwards of $40 for the headlining guests, Adam West and Julie Newmar (of the classic 1960s Batman TV show).

“I don’t like it, I would have really liked to get a photo with the other wrestlers,” said first-time attendee Chris Comstock after paying $15 to get a photo taken with 1980/90s professional wrestler Virgil.

Alongside Virgil were nostalgic grapplers The Honky Tonk Man and Bushwhacker Luke.

“I don’t plan on coming back for the second day. There’s nothing I can do here on my budget,” Comstock added.

Other convention activities requiring additional purchase included a Street Fighter IV tournament and a screening of the classic Night of the Living Dead.

In addition to the costs of many of the convention activities, some fans were put off by the layout of the convention floor.

The event took place on the third floor of the Winnipeg Convention Centre, with the different rooms being separated by a curtain in some cases, and in others nothing at all.

For attendees who are used to the set-up of other conventions, such as the longer-running Ai-Kon anime convention, this can be a hard pill to swallow.

“You can’t even hear what he’s saying,” said James Trenchard, motioning to an ongoing panel with Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca from Star Wars).

“This is my first time at Comic Con, but I’ve been to other conventions before. They need to separate this up. Putting five feet of space between two things does not make them separate rooms.”

He later added, “I know there’s more people at this convention, but still, take it to the lower floors, give anime an actual room, give gaming an actual room, let the panels be in their own room.”

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Comments

Sara Maximus » Nov 3rd 2009, 11:09

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Come on, $40 for signed photos of Adam West and Julie Newmar from Batman or Chewbacca from Star Wars?? When do Winnipegers ever have that kind of opportunity?? AND I went home with original artwork that was VERY reasonably priced. AND the many folks who showed up in character with amazing, handmade costumes... If you've ever been to other conventions, the prices were actually quite reasonable.

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