Con Report: Florence Comic Con 2014

Sunday always seemed like an odd day for a one day convention. The typical norm is Saturday when most people are making plans to enjoy their day. But Florence Comic Con chose Sunday for their first year and, now, their second. This did not deter fans from coming out to the SMIT building of Florence-Darlington Technical College to don their costumes, sell their art, or partake in all types of geek related activities. This second iteration of the convention had grown so much from the previous year. It was astounding the amount of people that packed the halls of the conventions new venue.

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I decided to don a new costume that I thought would be low key and comfortable like last year’s con at the Art Trail Gallery, a smaller venue with far fewer people. Boy, was I wrong. Immediately upon entering the parking lot of the convention I wish had chosen a more elaborate costume. People truly brought their A-game. Costumes were detailed and well crafted. I was surprised! This was a convention in my back yard (figuratively). I had grown up in this area when it was difficult to even find anyone else interested in these things. But, here I was, at a convention with people wearing amazing costumes and celebrating a culture that I loved.

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That’s not to say my Rainbow Dash costume was not well received. People loved it. I chose to do Rainbow Dash from My Little Pony because one of my best friends wanted to cosplay for the first time at this event. She decided to do Fluttershy so I became 20% cooler by doing Rainbow Dash, a costume I had wanted to do for a while. My best cosplay friend, Regena, created our ears and wings. (She is the owner of Mint To Be Makeup Artistry and does makeup at a lot of east coast conventions). I quickly painted the cutie mark on a two dollar tank top from Walmart. I wish I had taken my time to paint it correctly because now it cannot be worn again after just one day of wear. I wore my Ryoku Matoi shoes (more on that costume later), donned some awesome socks, and went forth into the convention to have fun.

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Little girls loved the costume the most! They would come up to us, shy and awkward. Their parents would stop us to get pictures with their daughters. This is what I imagine the reactions Disney princesses get. It was awesome to see these girl’s eyes light up at the sight of us. Teenage girls too! However, this costume reminded me why I decided to not do winged costumes long ago in 2003 – the last time I did a costume with wings. It is always hard to navigate crowds with wings strapped to your back because you are constantly hitting someone or something. Con goers never really respect the wing span so getting through them means potentially slapping them in the face.

Panels were integrated into this year’s convention, but they were placed in awkward and noisy areas. Some panels were held in an open area upstairs while others were tucked in a corner with some chairs and a table. Considering that this is held in a school’s building, it would seem a better choice would be a classroom. Also, the costume contests were held in the merchant’s room causing a crowd around the stage which prevented anyone from walking through there to just check out the dealer’s in that area if they wanted. There was also food being sold near the stage which caused even more crowds in such a small area. There appeared to be an unused auditorium which would have been perfect for all these events. Of course I do not know what the convention’s contract was with the school but securing that auditorium for use should be their top priority next year.

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Vendors brought out some really good wares this year. I was able to get me the Infinite Crisis Pajama Party Harley Quinn figure from one of my favorite local vendors, Nuklear Comix. Nabbing issues of Annihilation Conquest was my favorite part of the day. It became my quest to find a booth selling them after a really rude gentleman took all the copies and duplicates of the Star Lord Side story out of then box and refused to let me look in them. Heroes Aren’t Hard To Find never fails. The Charlotte based store has such a wide variety of comic books when they attend conventions. The store, one of my favorites in the country, is beautiful so of course they had amazing set ups at conventions. Also, from a booth whose name I did not grab, I got some awesome My Little Pony art which was appropriate for my costume. Deadpool Rainbow Dash and Eevee ponies will look great when I move into my apartment!

There was one complaint that I heard after the convention which actually came from visiting a comic book store afterwards. People say it was not very focused on comic books and was more so on pop culture. This is probably a complaint that can be said about any convention these days. Masses of teenagers packed the hallways while adults were either attending with them or running the booths. There were very few adults actually there for the convention. Teenagers really are fans of whatever is “in” right now so I can understand the frustration of this particular vendor, an older man trying to sell older comics.

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Florence Comic Con, however, can only get bigger. They have extended the convention to two days next year which means more opportunity for growth. The convention has also expanded to include another convention next year. Myrtle Beach Comic Con is being put on in March at the Crown Reef Resort in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. The convention is being put on by Coastal Comics which prompted me to go find the store before work one day. The store was impressive! I even picked up some comics when I did not intend to buy anything. But, really, who was I fooling thinking I can walk into a comic book store and leave out with nothing?

Be sure to check out this awesome video from the con by Preston Jong! You may see your favorite ponies 🙂

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