So much (and yet also so little) to say about the inaugural Kitchener Conic Con.
Part 1: The Con Itself
I had a good time. I hung out with friends, got to know the KW geek community a little better, and saw a lot of people (especially families) being excited about comics.
I went with KW Iron Man, doing our Pepperony thing. Since he was a guest of honour and was doing most (or all?) of the cosplay programming, I spent almost all of the con sitting behind his table in the market place (an experience that all partners of "professional cosplayers" know all too well LOL). We weren't selling anything, but it was a convenient place to have all the extra armour pieces that we brought for the "props and armour" panel out on display promoting his work (especially since he was doing so many events that he was barely at the table). I was thrilled that Ragz Cosplay showed up since he kept me company at the table all day while Mr Stark was off doing his thing. I did have the opportunity to leave a couple of times for lunch and a little walk around the building, and was fortunate to be able to squeeze in some photos/video with Trillance, Everage, and Yo Napper while doing that. And when the con wrapped up, Mr Stark and I had a fun dinner out with a bunch of our cosplay friends ^_^
Part 2: The Con's Online Presence
Unfortunately, as much fun as I had at the convention, I feel I should at least acknowledge the issues surrounding KCC's disastrous PR. If you're part of the Southern Ontario con-goer community, especially if you know staffers from any of the other cons in the area, you probably saw at least a little of the drama being played out in the days immediately following the event.
I watch the event's Facebook page, and in the lead-up to KCC I was a little surprised at some of the comments that were being posted by the Con Com*. While the posts weren't outright rude, they were often written in a way which was casual, joking, or not actually answering the question which could easily be read as being rude, condescending, or elitist due to the loss of meaning in text communication. But I gave them the benefit of the doubt. That is until, the day after KCC, I saw the abusive post by the Con Chair directed towards an attendee who was unhappy about the con's parking situation... and the next couple of days of fallout and escalation and bullying and other people's experiences with the Chair which came through my facebook feed. The behavior went so far beyond unprofessional that they no longer have my benefit of the doubt.
The bottom line being that even though I had a great time at KCC itself and I would like to support the awesome artists, craftspeople, vendors, and friends I have made in the region, the aftermath left a pretty bad taste in my mouth. Since the con chair seems to be unable to treat all their attendees and prospective future attendees with respect, I would have a difficult time choosing to attend another one of their events.
If you read my blog regularly, you'll know I rarely get into the gossipy stuff that goes on at conventions. Most of the time it's not worth mentioning, especially since it rarely or never affects me directly, nor does it affect the experience of the average attendee. But the KCC statements have created a LOT of ill-will in the community, and when put together with the very poor treatment that Mr Stark and a few other friends received earlier this year from KW Tri-Con organizers, I'm pretty disappointed in Kitchener-Waterloo's ability to host events which are welcoming places for everyone to feel comfortable sharing our geeky interests.
*for those not involved in convention staffing "con com" refers to the convention committee, and the " con chair" is the convention chairperson aka the boss.
Sam Sparks 55%