Being approved as media for a comic con is a tricky business. We are there to promote the con. We truly aren’t media in that we are not there to do an investigative report on the con. Nola Nerd Couple states on their application that our main focus is on getting people to understand why we love conventions. Before the con, we hype up the con so people can understand why we want to attend one. After the con, we report on what we did. We also provide some constructive criticisms in the hope that someone at the con reads them. Most of the time we report 99% positives.
Yet, we are fans. We have dual personalities at cons. We are media looking to interview mainly comic book artists. We really want to sit down with the artists and learn more about their craft. We would love to interview actors, but their time is extremely regulated and limited. We pay our own way to the cons we attend. We are also fans who love to collect autographs, and pay for that ourselves. Media passes might provide us with free entry but everything else comes on our own dime.
It was our anniversary and Cristina surprised me with tickets for autographs for some of the Sons of Anarchy people. Then alleged nonpayment and bounced checks occurred with the Sons of Anarchy cast. (We will post an editorial later this week explaining it from our point of view. We didn’t get to talk to any higher ups so all we have is speculation and our story).
So this post is going to focus on the good things that happened. Mostly.
Due to horrible thunderstorms, we arrived with only an hour left to the con. We got to meet Kim Coates. I was actually star struck. Not really sure why. However, sentences didn’t form in my brain. Cristina made small talk, and Mr. Coates was a wonderful con guest. One of the reasons I was star struck probably had to do with his interaction. Most of the time, the celebrities sit behind a table, sign their pictures, and do small talk. That’s what I would do, especially the sitting part. Mr. Coates came from around the table and truly turned it into a conversation.
We then went to artists alley and met Mr. Fred Van Lente. He explained to us some upcoming projects and took the time to sign my book. I also bought a play from him based on Jack Kirby that I am looking forward to reading.
We then went look at the merchandise and bought a few Star Wars Variants.
We got to the con early on a beautiful day for our fifth anniversary. For us, spending it at a con was both logical and romantic. We then went to Charlie’s line right away. No Charlie (see above link). We realized that he was going to be here all weekend (or so we thought) and really wanted to make the panel for SoA so we headed upstairs. This panel was supposed to have all SoA guests, around twenty of them, so we figured this would be entertaining. It would also provide for a great blog. Around forty minutes after the supposed start, only Ron Perlman walks up. He is later joined by Chris Reed, Timothy Murphy, and Kenny Johnson. That’s it. They do tell some entertaining stories and have a great moment with the mother of Danny Dietz (one of the soldiers that didn’t make it through the events told in the movie Lone Survivor).
Before we went to the panel, I spent the rest of my cash on a photo op with Charlie Hunnam. Our full-time job is that of teachers. We get paid once a month. Our money is budgeted to the penny. In other words, this was all my extra money to spend. I’m glad I did.
After the panel, we went found out that our pre-purchased tickets were not valid. No straight answer on a refund was given. We become angry, and when we didn’t recieve straight answers from anyone, even those that tried, we became angrier.
To salvage what was left of our day, we went meet DMC from Run DMC. I really am enjoying his comic and was able to purchase number two of his comics. We also met the creative team for the comic The Paybacks. I really wanted to ask them for interviews but due to circumstances I didn’t have the time. I also didn’t want to schedule a time and then not show up. That’s not good business. It we didn’t want to add to the bad business that was already taking place.
We also got to meet one of our favorite Star Wars artists. We did find out that Loot Crate didn’t even send him his own variant cover for Vader Down, and that he had to order a box from loot crate to get a copy of his own work!
We now went for our photo-op. Mr. Hunnum was extremely nice and wasn’t showing any signs of anger. He pushed back his photo-op to accommodate as many fans who had cash for an autograph. Reading this report later makes it even clearer why he would only except cash. Those of us who bought pre-paid tickets weren’t so lucky, but I can’t blame him. Why work if you aren’t getting paid? (Again more in our upcoming editorial). In addition, he now fwasn’t coming back on Sunday. When we finally got to meet him he needed a second to take a drink of water, and I told him it was our anniversary. He warmly congratulated us on it and took the time to tell us how happy he was for us. That’s the most I’ve ever seen anyone talk in a photo-op to the guests, so that did make up for the fact we couldn’t get the autograph.
By this point in the day, we were tired and defeated. Again, we budget very tightly and we had no word on if we were getting a refund. The workers for the con were doing their best to put on nice faces even though they talked only to angry people all day. I know I was rude to one or two and they didn’t return it to me. Those people deserve my gratitude and my sincerest apology. We left angry and exhausted. Not a good mood to be in on your anniversary. Cristina was particularly upset because this was an anniversary present. (I mean seriously, what will I do with silverware!?). We went back to the hotel, and I posted an angry post to Space City Comic Con’s facebook wall about how they ruined my wife’s present to me.
That angry letter was read by someone in the Sons of Anarchy camp. Charlie was so upset he left for the weekend, but most of the cast stayed. This guy told me he picked the most emotional stories and tried to do right by those people. We were lucky to have this guy. He made sure we got to meet Ryan Hurst and Drea de Matteo. Ms. De Matteo was exceptionally gracious and talked to us for a couple of minutes. We talked about another con she got treated badly at, that we happened to be at, and how she was really glad to do this for us. Some of these actors don’t need this money, but remember they only get paid when they are working. For some, this money is needed to pay bills. Neither Mr. Hurst or Ms de Matteo charged a lot but it was just not in our budget to pay for them twice.
Before we met them, however, we did actually do some media work. We met up with the good people of the BFE Podcast and recorded one with them at the con. It was a blast and inspires us to try our hand at doing them more regularly.
After this we still had twenty dollars in our cash budget for this con. We found two vendors that were selling $1 comics. I was able to complete my Wheadon-Cassaday run on X-Men. We found all but two of Neil Gaiman’s 1602. Most importantly, we found a New Kids on the Block unauthorized comic.
While the con was a complete mess, the people we interacted with were fanastic. One person working for Space City Comic Con, was especially great at trying to get us answers. Unfortunately, because of problems of not knowing what happened to the money we spent on pre-autograph tickets, we didn’t get to do some of the media things we hoped to do. If this con had different managment but the same staff and volunteers, I would go back in a heartbeat.