Full Disclosure: I have as yet only been to two comic cons in my adult life. Anglicon in Seattle, WA and WizardCon in Austin, TX. They were both amazing in their own way, but the masses of people made fully enjoying them difficult. I am not a crowd person, and I believe I share that trait with many others. Now, since there is no way that attendance is going to ebb at the cons any time soon, even if a plethora of new ones popped up, there is still a way to at least make the situation a bit more chill:
Organizing the Chaos
If there is anything that I have taken away after years of determining what triggers my social anxiety, it is that a disorganized crowd makes me nuts. However, you take that same amount of people and put them into a sectioned and flow-friendly organized building, and I relax into the fan experience with much more enjoyment. Is it the fault of any of the conventions that their floors are not conducive to my wander, browse, and fangirl over all the pretty pretty mech style? Absolutely not! But as a natural slow meanderer that also hates the feeling of being stuck in a tide of people, I can not help but dream of what would make up my perfect comic convention.
Elements of my Dream-Con:
1. The EMP Museum in Seattle, WA
My husband and I visited this museum after Anglicon, and it is the embodiment of fandom executed with precision and style. It is to date my favorite museum, and I say this as someone who recently visited the Smithsonian museums in DC. Their sci-fi exhibits were beautifully organized, and I could gaze at everything from Starbucks uniform to the original series Star Trek captains chair at my leisure. Well, a reasonable amount of leisure, enough to get a good look but short of being rude. The fantasy wing was ridiculous, it was housed in a big tree and had Harry Potter and Labyrinth artifacts. So awesome. They had the coolest horror exhibit, and you could tell how much work they put into not just showcasing the displays, but making it interesting and fun.
What I Would Steal for My Con: The horror exhibit.
2. Powell’s Books in Portland, OR
What I mean with this is mainly that I would rather all of the books and comics have their own space. If the nooks and booths with written wares had a special (very large) room set up with a bookshelf system like Powells, and maybe with a couple coffee stands, I would very much like to see that.
What I Would Steal: All of the books and comics! And Shelves.
3. Alamo Drafthouse Showings with Actors etc.
Am I biased toward Alamo Drafthouse as regards any movie watching, actor dialoging, live Mystery Science Theater events, or anything pertaining screens and famous people in person? Yes. Yes, I am. Was I tempted to follow Bruce Campbell to the nearby bar to watch his premiere of Ash vs. Evil Dead after his Austin comic-con panel? Hell, yes, I want to follow that man everywhere! However, it was late, the bar was insanely crowded, and I’m old. I’m too old to be smashed in a bar in Austin on Halloween with scores of people, even for Bruce. Ok, I should have done it anyway, I do kind of regret that. But if it had been in an Alamo Drafthouse, no power in the verse could have stopped me.
What I Would Steal: The theaters, tables, drinks, and menu.
4. The Rule of Three for Big Events/Panels
I would like to have three half hour panels/events for the hugely popular ones throughout the day as opposed to one hour long once. There are some conventions that already do this on a certain level and have a couple panels twice, but I want to try three and see what effect that has on crowding and people being able to plan their day.
5. An Empty College Campus
The multi-layered and sectioned Comic Con of my dreams needs a casing, and the ideal one is a college campus. There are some smaller cons housed in a lecture hall of a college, but this is not enough. I need allllllll of it. Every little bit. This way all of my elements will have their own area, as well as the regular convention bits. Artists Alley can have it’s own building, etc.
Well, that is my Build-You-Own Convention, but what would you like to have in your dream the impossible dream con?