Second part of the Steve Wozniak/Stan Lee Silicon Valley Comic Con wrap up. Last one was about the artists and my experience. This one is about everything else!
I saw Woz himself on the floor Friday, chatting with people (I didn’t get to meet him). My wife attended a few panels (those for Nathan Fillion, Jeremy Renner and the writers of THE BIG BANG THEORY) and while crowded, she enjoyed them all and found a decent seat without waiting for two or three hours like she would have at San Diego. A few other panels filled completely and had to turn others away. But most seemed to accommodate the crowds. (Neither of us attended the spotlight panel with Stan Lee or William Shatner so I can’t say what those were like.)
A wider variety of programs could not be found anywhere. A very small sample:
- “Ask Adam Savage” of MYTHBUSTERS
- BACK TO THE FUTURE 30th anniversary panel (with Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd)
- “Let’s Go To Mars” (with author Andy Weir of THE MARTIAN, Adam Savage and a NASA scientist)
- “Marvel’s Ant-Man, Doctor Strange And The Quantum Realm” with a quantum physicist
- Superbabies Vs. AI” with a debate on which is worse for mankind: genetically-controlled offspring (eugenics) or superintelligent computers.
- “Film 101: How To Be A Successful Filmmaker In The Bay Area”
- “Prop-Making And Fabrication”
- “Masters Of Webcomics”
- “A Graphic Apocalypse: The Work Of Jack Kirby Inventing Comics”
- Convergence Of Technology And Social Media In Comics”
- The Past, Present And Future Of Mobile Gaming
- Spotlight On Women In Technology
- Geek Law 101: Intellectual Property Basics
- Empowering Your Storytelling With Virtual Reality, Artificial Intelligence And Other Emerging Technologies
- The Art Of Creating Languages For Sci-Fi And Fantasy
- The 411 On The 9-5 Of Writing: The Business Of Publishing
- Writing For The Young Adult Audience
- The Heroine’s Journey
And a bunch more for Comics, Film/TV, Technology, Cosplay and Gaming, half of which you’ve never seen (and may never see) at any other comic con. There were comics giants like Bob Layton, Bill Sienkiewicz, Brett Blevins, Frank Cirocco, Mark Badger, and more (including those listed in Part 1.) There was a virtual reality area for people to try out the popular Oculus technology and other things. Wacom had a booth where artists could try out the latest in their Cintiq line and other tablets.
Also on hand: a “Stan Lee Museum” display (with Stan’s daughter in attendance discussing her famous Dad) as well as a Madame Tussauds wax museum area with some famous wax folks (the otters in the photos are ours–thanks to my wonderful wife for the photos!). And of course, artists, illustrators, cosplayers, alternative publishers, as well as the expected dealers/vendors for comics, toys, books, jewelry, apparel and tech.
Organizationally, there was a line around the block for fan registration/tickets, but I heard one fan say it was managed extremely well. They may move that area next year to make more room for panels and make it easier for those in line.
My main suggestions for improvement would be:
- Better crowd control in the hallways and panel areas. Many told me it was a sea of people and nearly impossible to get thru certain places.
- Improved coordination with program printing. The con program was beautifully printed (with full color photos, no less!) but the panel listing was incomplete, and several panels described were not listed on the scheduling pages. I’d suggest something akin to what San Diego uses: a grid showing each day and each room with the name of each panel. (Granted, the program has to be printed over a week in advance so there are several panels/guests that change, which I understand. Hopefully they can firm up the schedule further in advance next year. I don’t know if they were giving out printed updates each day like San Diego does, but it’s a good idea.) Of course, they did have an app for the panels which I was told worked very well. Considering the tech nature of the show, the printed version was a novelty, only for dinosaurs like me.
- I was told there was a “green room” for guests with water, but I never found it. And I only heard about it after asking one of the organizers who was kind enough to stop by my table on Saturday. (On Friday, she stopped by and offered me a bottle, which was very thoughtful and kind, which is why I asked on Saturday.) Thankfully I brought my own but I think the guests would appreciate knowing about it from day one.
- There were two Artists Alleys, each at different ends of the show; Brent Anderson and I both went to the wrong one to setup and had trouble finding our tables. If they could differentiate between the two on the large signs, it would be more efficient and clear for both customers and guests. (More time for fans to spend at the tables buying stuff than looking for people.)
All in all, pretty minor stuff that come with a new show. We had a great time and the artists in my row all said they had a good show. I strongly recommend SVCC and look forward to (hopefully) attending next year. See ya then!
Meanwhile, stay tuned to their web site.