Comic and Pop Culture conventions is something that we have taken great pride in over the years. These events are a blast to cover and to get the pictures from the convention. However, one of the things that we forget to do is review some these events. So, this way when you are planning a getaway to a convention, you need to make sure that you pick the right events to go to. We are going to review conventions in 5 different categories, Guests/Artists, Vendors, Food Choices, Atmosphere, and return factor. The first con we are going to review is ComiCon-Way.
ComiCon-Way took place over a three-day period with the kick off taking place at the Faulkner County Library on Friday. ComiCon-Way is in fact one of the most popular and premiere conventions in the entire state. The convention gets high praise for the Convention helping out the library. Comics and reading should go together in every possible way. And this is an amazing concept that more towns should jump on for the future. This area of Arkansas lacks for the nerd community where conventions like Conway fills a void for the community.
Time to start with the Artists/Guests. The one thing about smaller conventions is that bigger names in the world of pop culture are not the norm such as conventions in bigger cities or even a Wizard World convention. Smaller conventions do something that I will always approve of, and that is the idea of having more smaller guests instead of just one big name. Conway was able to land Neil Kaplan, who voiced Optimus Prime in the 2000 Transformers: Robots in Disguise series. The show not as large as the original 80s run, still was able to give fans of the cartoons something to see their teeth into. The second name in Conway was Alan Harris who was Bossk in the original Star Wars franchise. As well as a slew of artists who have worked on multiple titles across all of the big names in the world of comics. My problem here is not what you think. A lot of the artists are the same artists who are at each convention in the same radius, if you look at the market in the area, it is the same throughout. Leading to having the same guests year after year. This can hurt a convention. After a couple of years of seeing the same people, those guests and artists are going to lose their appeal. I feel this is what happens with smaller conventions. The same people every year can lead to people growing tired of the convention and could possibly spend less time and money. As this being the second year for us to attend Conway, I feel some different names can help the experience. 3/5 Justice League Members.
Conventions are like a giant swap meet. You are going to a convention with the intent to buy something that has alluded since high school or the item that you cannot live without. Conway had a wonderful selection of non-comic vendors. Laser etched glasses and tumblers, all the way to custom legos, nerd furniture, nerf guns that were replicas of your favorites. However, the one thing that seemed to be lacking this year were actual comic vendors from the previous year. There were some but just did not seem as many. But bonus points for the inflatable haunted house, that was something I have never seen before. Vendors are the back bone of the convention scene, and without a good variety, patrons seem to get the short end of the stick. Conway had some great vendors, and vendors that were outside the box when it comes to conventions. 3/5 Justice League Members.
I will always put food down as a possible way to judge a convention after going to a few conventions that had no food at all. Conway seems to know what they are doing in this department. A wide variety of food trucks gave patrons more selections than the traditional burgers and fries which is a nice change of pace. The only thing missing this year compared to 2016 was the Root Beer vendor. I missed the guy. Taking that out of the equation a solid 4/5 Justice League Members.
Atmosphere can be tricky, either you have it nailed down, you are learning, or you just don’t get it. And this year Conway seems to have fallen into the middle with that. I am not sure about Sunday, but for the time we there on Saturday, it seemed as if walkers have taken over the expo center, and I was in the middle of an episode of the Walking Dead. Something seemed to be lacking in the atmosphere of the expo center. The layout was much different than the previous year, and it made it difficult to walk down the isles to browse. Anyone trying to get a look at the vendors in the middle of the floor would have a hard time viewing any of their product. It seemed that the middle of the floor was really close together and the outer vendors had a lot more room to show off their product. The odd layout left a lot to be desired when walking around. The other thing is that once a person enters a convention at least you are able to hear people talking, this was not one of those conventions. There were a lot of people in the expo center but you could hear a pin drop. It does make sense since the biggest contributor is a library. 2 out of 5 Justice League Members.
The idea of a convention is that you are going to want to return for both days. That you were not able to see everything that first day. With Conway, if you were able to move around the floor just right, you were able to cover everything in a couple of hours in terms of vendors, so it feels going one day is fine. Outside the Cosplay contests, and a couple of panels, Conway is a perfect for a day away from home. 2 out of 5 Justice League Members.
While it may sound like I may not have enjoyed Conway, that is far from the truth. ComiCon-Way is a premiere convention in the state of Arkansas for a reason. If you have never been to a convention before, and want to see quality cosplay and some great vendors, it is the perfect convention. It is not too big and too small for a first time. However, if you expect big names and a lot of vendors than you will be disappointed. Conventions like ComiCon-Way are perfect to give the nerd and geek community something to look forward too. And while there are many positives, there are some negatives that hurt the convention as well. Do the negatives outweigh the positives, not really. They are more of hinderance allowing forward progression. ComiCon-Way gets a Two and a Half Justice League Members Out of Five overall.