I’m not calling these a review this year. 2021 at conventions is full of anxiety and fear, but also excitement. I knew I wanted to go, I also knew I didn’t want to get sick. So, while I was invited as press for those 2 events, I only went one day to each. I didn’t see everything and I won’t cover everything. It simply wouldn’t be fair to them. I also attended some smaller one day events, that I only stayed at for a few hours. So what I did was made one big video to feature. I visited 5 local events for both Hackinformer and also to get the word out for my own personal gaming event in early 2022. So there is plenty of article below, but there is also a 45-minute video for those interested. Enjoy!
So one of the first things that I noticed upon entering Planet Comicon was simply the “normality” of it all. And by that I mean is that it didn’t look too affected by our current pandemic situation. I primarily stayed in the vendor hall while I was there. Again I wasn’t terribly comfortable sitting for long periods of time next to an individual so that meant that panels were out of the question for me this year.
But back to the normal aspects of the vendor hall. The first normal thing that I saw was the number of vendors, Artists, authors, guests. There was an abundance of tables that were familiar and had been there in previous years. There were however I would estimate about 20% that we’re not there again this year. The bottom line is I am uncertain if they don’t exist anymore because of the pandemic or because they felt unsafe coming and selling in such a crowded environment or if it was simply because they didn’t want to travel due to uncertainty as to whether or not they would make back their money.
All that I know is for every vendor that was not there from a previous year there were definitely new vendors in their place. It was definitely nice to see fresh faces and tables as opposed to seeing the same people. Sometimes they appear jaded, but even if they’re generally happy, it doesn’t matter. I definitely get tired of seeing the same faces/products and it makes attending conventions a bit more lackluster if not questionable at best. So what made this year feel a bit more new.
Another way that it felt normal was the sheer amount of attendees. I went on a Friday and Fridays do not normally have an overabundance of people. They might have maybe 50% capacity and so it is spread out much more evenly across the tables that people are visiting. That means you have more time to discuss products with vendors or the process with artists.
Of course, there were definitely new artists as well and I always make sure that I find people that I don’t recognize. Artists deserve more recognition than what they get at conventions. Attendees tend to flock toward the celebrities or to booths that have big ticket items. Very rarely do I see artists’ booths swelling with visitors, the same goes for authors as well. Unfortunately, I don’t have money for everybody to support them all so I make sure to just simply try to follow them on social media and retweet them when I can.
The next bit of normalcy was all of the extra items that were in the room. When you go to these events during the pandemic it might be that they don’t want you to touch any surfaces or things of that nature. But they still had interactive booths for people to use. Whether it was the booth that had arcade as well as arcade tournaments or it was the crafting area for the kids. There were other interactive events as well for those wondering. But I digress if you were wanting to have more hands-on experiences you could still get them. The only bummer was I saw a distinct lack of sanitation methods at booths.
The last point of business in terms of normalcy is to say that they were the good all normal Planet Comicon. They seem to push the envelope in terms of getting different people as celebrity guess. There was also a much bigger eSports presence than I seem to remember there being in the past. They also made certain that the concessions were still open and that they were adequate places to eat. They were more ways that they push the envelope but again I didn’t get outside of my comfort zone so those things I cannot touch upon. But the fact that they still had them in these trying times is something to commend them for.
Now, it wasn’t all butterflies and sunshine. There were definitely things that had to be done in order to make it a different or “new normal” for the event. If you attended you’ll find they “required“ masks. This was always something to remain to be seen at events. Do they require it or do they not require it? If they require it, do they enforce it,? If they enforce it, do they enforce it with simply a warning or do they ask the person to leave entirely? There are a lot of variables and things to consider and/or require when you are in a city under a mandate.
Mandates are technically laws and in the city when there is a mandate it’s deeper than that. It is not just a mandate for the individual to wear a face-covering, but also for the event or business to enforce it for risk of a citation. I would say if we are grading Planet Comicon on their enforcement of the rules, they did pretty well! They gave adequate warning before the event. There were also rules that you had to agree to before purchasing your tickets. There were signs everywhere, too. Best of all, they had their own employees wearing masks two to really set an example (and keep them safe). The eating places were designated so that you to take your mask off to eat.
I did not notice very many people not wearing masks. I am uncertain if that is because they were walked up to and told to wear their masks or because everybody was respecting the rule. But truly I could count on two hands the number of people that were not wearing masks which is an incredibly low percentage considering the attendance. I think that means that Planet Comicon did a great job in a city that has a high number of decent individuals that care about their own health and those around them. The few that I did see not wearing masks or generally nursing a drink of some kind so as to not get told to wear a mask. I hope those people did not get sick, but if they did… Shoulder shrug.
All in all, I would write this as a pretty good return to form, I would like to see more variation with regards to the number of tables that they get that are the same. I would like them to not approve every same application but instead start to approve other ones and maybe have a tear or smaller businesses and have a place that planet Comicon with affordable tables. I was also very happy that they still had the cosplay competition and while I didn’t attend it if you watch my video there are definitely all the winners represented and as far as I’m concerned, they all earned their trophies!
Both events did a great job with regards to improving their safety while keeping their events as “normal” as possible. And if you’re wondering, I had a blast at both of them. I spent more time at Planet, but that’s to be expected. The sheer size of it being the key difference. They both have points of growth that I would like to see out of them. Otherwise, it makes me question if I want to continue to attend as I get older and my interests evolve. Just some sensible changes and I’ll continue to be there 🙂