when comic cons go bad

Usually, a convention is joyous, a time to meet new friends, party, wear your coolest looks and blow money in the vendor room, maybe enter the cosplay contest. But what’s up with poorly planned cons? I know I’ve never really mentioned any, because usually even the planning is bad, they’re still a good time. But this past weekend at Syracuse Comic Con was just sad.

Don’t get me wrong – I got to meet a childhood hero which made the trip worth it for me and I had a good time, but the con was poorly planned and it showed. They got a few good guests to come somehow, which seems almost impossible with how thrown together the entire convention looked. I knew weeks before the convention that it was going to have issues, because I heard from so many people that they weren’t answering messages, but that wasn’t even the only red flag. Here’s a list:

  • No website. A convention NEEDS a place online that looks professional and tells you where the event is and what’s going on there. It took me a while just to find the address of the place, it was only posted in a Facebook event, which, what if someone doesn’t have Facebook? And also that makes it seem kind of sketchy.
  • No public guest list/events. Again, an issue with them not having an organized website. They were posting guests on their Facebook page – but even those posts looked unbelievably fake – and I had to confirm of the guests instagram if they were actually going. Which one of them did get “canceled” or was maybe never booked. They claimed they had Daniel Logan, Boba Fett from the prequels, but many people noticed he was at Wizard World Wisconsin that same weekend – so questions started getting asked, and the con just wasn’t replying – which brings me to my next point:
  • They didn’t bother to announce a major guest cancellation until a guy bugged them on every post about it because he had seen that Daniel Logan was somewhere else that weekend. And even then, they posted it at 10 pm the night before the con and only in the event page on Facebook, and it was a super insincere “cancellations happen at every con”. If he was booked, they had to know before that time that he wasn’t making it, and they made the choice to not let congoers know. Yikes.
  • No ball pit, (lol dashcon) but a bounce house was the highlight of the con. (Okay, the bounce house was pretty cool) and they were advertising free laser tag- which was the saddest laser tag I’ve ever seen. Saddest. Laser Tag.
  • Convention Owners did not seem to have invested any time into any of the events at the show or even know what was going on there/who was running them. Many cosplayers I know had attempted to contact the show runners about concerns with one of the cosplay guests/contest judges who was known for harassment of other cosplayers and not crediting other’s work. Everyone was met with no response and some lucky congoers got a halfass one, and when I finally spoke up they acted like it was the first they heard of the situtation even though another cosplayer had screenshots of them telling her they would take it seriously days before. I think maybe it was just a lack of communication between too many convention owners.
  • [RUMOR] [from a reliable source] Did not pay for guest hotel accommodations after saying they would. Yiiiiikes.
  • Someone representing the con publicly shared homophobic posts. I don’t even have to explain why this is bad.
  • Canceled panels without any kind of notification to the people running the panel/planning their weekend around it. Source: Facebook user review on their page 
  • About a week before Syracuse Comic Con, they inexplicably canceled the event on Facebook. Then claimed it wasn’t canceled, they hit the wrong button. Then claimed they were hacked. Hmm. That probably cut attendance.
  • Attendance was ASTOUNDINGLY low for a second year con (that they claimed thousands went to the first year). I arrived at about 1:30 in the afternoon which should be a peak time, but there honestly did not even appear to be 100 people in the room besides vendors. Probably not even 50. See photos for details on this. Low attendance doesn’t even have to be an issue if the con is fun enough, but the effort at Syracuse Comic Con was not there. Last year I attended Anime Fan Fest’s first and only convention, and they were expecting WAY more for attendance, so vendors were a little disappointed but it was still a fun weekend because the con definitely put the effort in and it was well organized. I think that Anime Fan Fest’s issue was that they expected too much for a first year con. But Syracuse Comic Con is a second year con, and they didn’t put in the effort/communicate properly for the amount of people they acted like they were going to get.

This is a photo of the whole convention at around 2:00 PM.

I don’t know, man. What went wrong, Syracuse? I usually don’t say anything about cons I wouldn’t go to – but I went to this one and this is an honest review. No disrespect meant to the convention, the guests, vendors or con runners – I just wouldn’t recommend the trip to anybody until they get a little more organized and better at communicating. Was not worth the price at all. Save your money, there’s a lot of other events in Syracuse to support.

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