Recapping ACE Comic Con Long Island Edition 2017
ACE Comic Con is the voice of the Superhero Generation and the brain child of the Shamus brothers, Gareb and Stephen. They have had a long history revolving around comic conventions. With such experience comes expectations and I’m afraid they didn’t quite ace their first test.
One of the great appeals was the incredible list of celebrity presence headlined here in Long Island with the Justice League that included Gal Gadot, Henry Cavill, Jason Momoa, Ezra Miller and Ray Fisher. Despite the star power however, things didn’t all go swimmingly well and it started right off the bat on a frigid Friday afternoon. When you sell VIP tickets there is a certain amount of expectations that comes with the hefty price tag. This means if you tell VIPs that they will be allowed into the show up to an hour early, you do not leave them waiting in the cold. To add insult to injury, general admission patrons were being led in long before the VIPs. Where was the communication? The problem with such venues is that you have security and ushers that work for the venue not the convention and you have staff for the convention that at times seem to be clueless. Long story short, there was no communication. You also don’t schedule photo or autograph opportunities so close to when the doors were scheduled to open. So many people according to what I read on all social media outlets as well as chatting with many convention goers throughout the weekend, complained that they either ended up missing their prepaid opportunities or had to figure out what other options were available to them? So much time was wasted where better planning would have prevented most of it. Like having pre-made swag bags for the VIPs. There were different types of VIPs and for each one a different gift was given which is nice but why weren’t they created ahead of time to expedite the process? Mistakes are all part of the learning and growing process but this is not the Shamus brother’s first convention rodeo even if it is ACE’s first one.
The celebrity guest list proved that quality always beats quantity. The list was impressive and makes you wonder why certain other cons struggle to get such big names. Major kudos to ACE for giving the fans what they wanted. Besides the aforementioned Justice League cast of Gal Gadot, Henry Cavill, Jason Momoa, Ezra Miller, Ray Fisher and Ciaran Hinds, Marvel’s Daredevil was Charlie Cox and Elodie Yung who was a last-minute replacement for Jon Bernthal whose home had been affected by the fires in California and had to postpone his appearance. Our prayers to Jon and his family and all those affected by this tragedy. If you’re a wrestling fan, the Hardy Boyz, Belle Twins and Undertaker were all there on Friday.
I was also very happy with the people with Celebrity Photo Ops sans one young lady at the redemption booth who refused to help swap photo ops but thankfully someone higher than her stepped in and did the right thing by the customer.
Why were there so many metal detectors? I understand in this day and age the need for one at the entrance but why go through so many more when trying to get your photo or autograph op completed? To the average convention goer, this was a major inconvenience. Then there were constant schedule and or location changes that unless you were actively looking at Ace’s social media account, you were in the dark. Speaking of in the dark, the (mis)information booth had no answers for many people who needed direction. The best answer I got from one of the male volunteers is that he was as frustrated as the attendees with the lack of communication from above.
Vendor issues. I noticed some unhappy vendors throughout my walk on the show floor and concourse that wrapped around the Nassau Coliseum. I spoke with several of them and they were apparently unhappy with the setup. In particular those on the show floor took issue with the fact that they felt that the setup around the arena did not lend itself to help drive traffic towards to vendors while attendees waited for their photo or autograph ops.
The biggest and most contemptuous moment however was the VIP fiasco prior to the Justice League panel on Sunday afternoon as it had the makings of a major riot. Apparently after the last panel the preceded the Justice League, everyone needed to clear out so that Ace could set up the final panel. Honestly nothing looked different. Secondly, there priority seating for the VIPs that were ranked as first seating and second seating but no one really made that clear. This was a recipe for disaster. Many speculated that Ace oversold the VIP ticket and didn’t have enough VIP seats to accommodate. If that is true, shame on them. If not, shame on them for poor crowd management. Either way, the ball was dropped and they need to be held accountable. I can’t blame anyone who spent upwards for $1300 dollars for VIP tickets and have front row seats to be outraged when told sorry we have no seats available. It’s also unfair to ask other VIPs to move even though they did everything they were told to do and now to make up for a clear mess up to be inconvenienced further by moving. Why didn’t Ace during the clear out rope off first seating VIP, second seating VIP excreta? On the outside looking in, simple solutions and common sense planning could have prevented the uncomfortable atmosphere that nearly clouded the entire enjoyment of what turned out to be a wonderful final panel.
ACE Comic Con has another event in Arizona this upcoming January featuring Chris Evans. That alone is worth its weight in gold. I hope what they learned here in Long Island will help guide them in Arizona and for future cons. I am more than willing to give them another try but they seriously need to address the above issues to make sure their success for many years to come.
May the Dork be with you,
The Dork Knight