PopCon has hit Indianapolis! Running from May 30, 2014 to June 1, 2014, the first planned PopCon brought fans of games, movies, comics, and TV to the Convention Center. With a nice set-up and strong organization, PopCon showed some marked improvements over the Indiana Comic Con which also premiered in 2014…but it also faces some challenges (not entirely the fault of the event).
Like most convention, there was a little challenge to bring people in on Friday, but as an attendee, it was a great day to hit the convention for buying and talking to celebrities. A majority of the celebrities did attend all three days and they were highly accessible (and generally friendly with a minor exception that I will not get into). This is quite unusual at a convention, but it would be good for future PopCons to up the ante and get even bigger stars…I particularly like these mid-range stars because you can meet them and generally they are level headed (and it was great meeting Joel from MST3K).
The layout and the location of the convention also worked in PopCon’s favor. The Indiana Comic Con was packed shoulder to shoulder and as a comic book fan, I recognize that a large group of sweaty comic fans in a small room isn’t the best thing. This was not a problem here…It was easy to get around and very spacious with plenty of room in the aisles.
Buyer wise, PopCon isn’t necessarily for me. Comic Con had much more comic book vendors, but PopCon’s sales are more eclectic. It is nice to see some of my old favorite toys, but I didn’t leave PopCon buying much. I generally shop around for deals and didn’t find many. It is also notable that some of the vendors were almost like trade-show vendors with no real products but graphic and art design schools…this is a necessity but could turn some off.
I loved the artists I did get to talk to…Larry Hama, Joe Staton, and Stuart Sayger (who I already knew), but it would have been nice to have a bigger, expanded Artist Alley with maybe some more sketching artists. I don’t know that artists weren’t sketching, but an event like Chicago, you see them sketching in addition to selling…and with more, it is easier to get sketches since there is competition.
Here is the downside to PopCon. It was a little schizophrenic in its design with no real focus. The gaming area was cut off from the rest of the center and I felt could have been good, but was too inaccessible. I don’t know that a gamer could find the fun they wanted that they won’t get at GenCon and comic buyer won’t find the comics they can’t at Comic Con. It is a bit neutered on both sides. Overall, I don’t know that I am the target audience for PopCon and that is the struggle for the convention to find its audience. It seems to be a bit for “nerd-lite” like people who watch Game of Thrones and say they are a nerd or geek because of it (they are not). Nerd and geeks bring the money, and the money is the bottom line for survival.
I will say despite some problems that I was impressed by PopCon…it is Indiana based and felt very professional for a first time event. Though I never ended up with any good pictures, I also found the Indiana based WHONA put on a nice draw by bringing in Sylvester McCoy and having a nice set-up for fans of Doctor Who. With some tweaks, PopCon could be better next year…but with the return of a bigger and better Indiana Comic Con, rumors of a Wizard World in February, and rumors of even another major comic book convention, the area could be tapped out with the last scheduled convention fighting for survival. I hope PopCon can improve, evolve, and survive.
Day 1 Pics
Day 2 Pics