This was my first time attending Motor City Comic Convention, and definitely my last. The original plan was for my husband and I to attend Friday and Saturday, then take our children on Sunday. After Saturday’s fiasco, you couldn’t have paid us a million dollars each to attend on Sunday.
The event took place May 17-19 at the Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi, MI.
FRIDAY – Showtime 12:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
We arrived at the Showplace around 11:15 a.m. The venue is in a good location and easy to get to/from the expressway. We had no problems with traffic until we got in front of the Showplace.
There was two lines outside. One for advanced/VIP ticket holders, the other for non ticket holders. Around 11:45 the advanced/VIP ticket line (we had advance tickets) began to move inside the building. There was a lady standing outside the door yelling for the people in line to have our tickets out and ready, pacing up and down the line while clapping her hands. The young female attendee in front of me said the lady was starting to scare her, because she was extremely loud and rude.
Right before we were let into the show, a guy started handing out registration cards and pencils. He said we had to fill them out in order to get a wristband. I looked down at the card and it stated that everyone had to fill it out in order to get a wristband. I found it strange since you’re registered when you purchase tickets online.
Tickets were scanned and we were given a wristband and a program. I looked around at the other ticket counters. Then I stood on my tippy toes and peeked over the booth. What was I looking for? A goodie bag. A bag with trinkets. Something to put our purchases and freebies in. There weren’t any. Oh well. I always take my purple backpack. The registration cards? Some were scattered upside down on a table along with the pencils. There were attendees at the ticket booth asking what to do with the cards. The workers/volunteers didn’t know. I ripped mine in half and tossed it in my purse.
Once inside the show, my husband and I immediately opened the program to locate the map of the show’s floor. No map. We always make an agenda for cons ahead of time, so we decided to do a tour to get a feel for the show. By the way, there were no maps posted anywhere on the floor.
SATURDAY – 10:30 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Traffic to the Showplace was backed up. We sat in traffic outside the building for a long time. As we pulled into the parking lot, I saw a line wrapped around the building to the left, and a shorter line to the right. I knew right away the show was going to wreak havoc. We parked in the parking lot (which became full a few vehicles later).
When we got to the line that was closest to us (the shorter line), some of the attendees told us the advanced ticket line was on the other side. I looked at my husband and said, “Oh my gosh. That’s the line that’s wrapped around the building.” When we got to the other side, a worker/volunteer told us there were three lines. Advanced, VIP Stan Lee, and Norman Reedus. But as we walked (and walked) to get to the end of the line, I noticed the three lines somehow had merged into one. So much for advance/VIP getting into the show 1/2 hour early.
We stood in line one hour before it moved. And it moved only about an inch. The shade started to disappear as the sun began to beam its hot rays. I was so hot and sweaty. Stan Lee arrived and entered the building through the back door. That’s right. Stan Lee walked right in front of me! He was met by a round of applause from those of us in line that knew what was going on. He smiled and waved to everyone. That was a once-in-a-lifetime moment.
The line did not move again for a long time. I felt especially sorry for the elderly, children, disabled and those in costumes. The line eventually moved, but at a slow pace. When we finally made it to the front of the building, the lady that was yelling yesterday had a bullhorn. I was like, “Where did she get that from and why does her loud mouth have one?” I had no idea what she was yelling in that thing because I was beyond hot, tired, hungry and thirsty. My stomach was growling. My husband and I got in line before 10:00 and didn’t get in the building until after 12.
We walked onto the floor and I told my husband that I wouldn’t be surprised if the fire marshal came and shut the place down. The floor was extremely crowded. My husband wanted to wait in a line for an autograph. Since I had my own agenda, we agreed to meet at a designated area at 2:00. I fought my way to the concession area and quickly knew I wouldn’t be able to find him. But what I did find was awful. The lines to the concession stands were extremely long. There were elderly, children, and people in wheelchairs waiting in those lines. I told myself that the place was going to run out of food and drinks. The concession area was pathetic. There were people sprawled all over the floor. Some were eating and/or drinking, others were fanning themselves or being fanned. It looked like a shelter, as if we all went there to seek shelter from a storm.
I knew the layout of the floor from Friday, but Saturday was no joke. People were pouring in by the masses. There was no elbow room and I tripped a few times over people. I elbowed so many people on accident, just from looking at books. I was almost trampled on a couple of times. I began to feel sick. I was very hot and sweating more. The show was so packed that if you looked down, you couldn’t see the floor. I was so tired, hungry and thirsty. My eyes watered because I wanted my husband. But I knew I had to keep going. So I stood over by a dealer’s table, took a few deep breaths, re-assessed my location on the floor and dived back in.
It was so packed that I could barely see the faces of guests at their tables. I eventually caught glimpses of the writers, artists, and dealers that served as landmarks for my husband and I. CGC was down and around from Ryan Stegman. A vendor selling protective covers was across from Joe Eisma. And so on. But I was barely able to use that method because of the dense crowd. I breathed a deep sigh of relief when I finally made it to Dave Aikins table. I told him I couldn’t leave without getting my kids something, as always, from his table.
My husband found me almost two hours later.
The dealers all had dollar signs in their eyes. They were trying to sell overpriced books. I don’t buy just to be buying. If I’m going to buy something for my collection, then I want a good copy. Otherwise I can read it online. High grade dealers tend to discriminate. They either ignore us or talk to us as if we don’t have any money. We are African-Americans but so what? We have money and it’s just as good as anyone else’s. But I have noticed that dealers tend to pay my husband more attention when they realize he knows what he’s talking about. That when he tells them to show him their high-grade (whatever comic he names), then that’s what he wants. Or if they try to sell him a beat up copy of something, he quickly refuses it. Some dealers have even asked his age and how long he’s been collecting because of his vast knowledge of the comic industry. I get the same treatment, but worse because I’m a female. We walked away from one dealer’s table because he would not end his call on his cell phone. There was a white male customer already waiting when we walked up. So that dealer didn’t discriminate. He just didn’t want to get off the phone. Oh well, my husband found what he was looking for at another dealer. And it was no small purchase either!
There were great sales for both singles and trades. Some dealers sold their trades for half off cover price. Some sold them for $5.00. I bought several back issues (singles) for a series I recently began reading, all at half price each. There was something for all ages, all at good deals.
We left the show around 5:15 and said we would not attend another Motor City Comic Convention. I met a lot of comic fans. I talked and laughed a lot. Every writer, artist and celebrity I met and talked to were very nice and friendly. They even let me take pictures with them. Just who did I meet and talk with?
- Joe Eisma (Zoe from Morning Glories sketch)
- Ryan Stegman (Superior Spider-Man sketch)
- George Perez (Thanos sketch in Infinity Gauntlet book)
- Dave Aikins (Books/sketches – Team Umi Zoomi, Buddy Teeth)
- Ernest Thomas (Old schoolers like me know him as Raj from What’s Happening. New schoolers know him as Mr. Omar in Everybody Hates Chris)
- Mochael Moreci and Steve Seeley (Hoax Hunters. They told me what the series is about and I bought the two trades right on the spot from them.)
- Billy Tucci and Mark Sparacio (autographs for my Heroes for Hire)
- Les and Seth Gold (Hardcore Pawn reality tv show)
There were many more I wanted to meet but it was mass chaos in that place. Never again.
We got home and found that Bleeding Cool had already posted an article. I was so exhausted that I couldn’t read the article for awhile.
I took vacation time to attend the Motor City Comic Convention. This was my weekend to work. My vacation was for Friday, Saturday and Sunday. We originally planned to attend C2E2 and Motor City this year, but we decided to attend one of them. So we decided to attend Motor City since we’re only an hour drive away. Not again. Next time we’ll go to C2E2. If I want to take a vacation for another con, then it will be for the con I always take a vacation for. Wizard World Chicago. That’s always my weekend to work but it’s worth it, and my husband and I always celebrate our anniversary because it’s during that time. Another con close to me (1 1/2 hr drive) is the Detroit Fanfare. It falls on my weekend off, it’s lots of fun and it’s organized. I am hoping that we’ll be able to attend this year.
The Suburban Collection Showplace was a nice spot for the convention. I wish it would have been in a building closer to hotels, or somewhere with an adjoining hotel. I buy a lot of stuff and like to haul it to my room and dash back to the convention. I’m sure the guests would appreciate it as well, so they won’t have to lug all their stuff in a taxi or whatever vehicle that transports them between the hotels and the Showplace.
The venue was not the problem for the crowd. Stan Lee (I had VIP tickets at Detroit Fanfare in 2010 so I’m glad I wasn’t a part of that mob this weekend) and Norman Reedus weren’t the problem. Yes, they pulled the crowds in, but they were not the problem. The problem was the promoters. They oversold tickets. They knew the limit for the building space, so they should have allowed a certain number of tickets to be sold. A certain number of VIP and advanced tickets. Once capacity is reached for those tickets, then everyone else should have to purchase tickets at the show, space permitting.
The promoters also need to get more workers/volunteers, and security. There was no crowd control. Most of the workers were very rude and unprofessional.
Will I attend another Motor City Comic Convention? NO.