After an exhausting, yet gratifying, weekend, Winnipeg’s premier Comic Convention has come and gone. My wife and I spent a large part of the weekend sick to some extent (this is becoming a pattern, and not a pattern I like…) , so we were not able to attend as many events as we were hoping to but not to the same extent as last year… but we were still impressed by the growth the event has shown from last year.
In terms of events, I was thrilled to see the number of workshops and informative panels this year. C4 has a history of hosting numerous Celebrity Q&A panels and little else… not even taking advantage of the opportunities to do joint panels on related subjects. This year they continued last year’s trend, and extended it far further still. Last year they had a few combo Q&A’s and one or two informational panels… this year there were several Q & A’s featuring multiple people, numerous workshops ranging from art to cosplay, and even some fandom themed panels. It was a huge difference from previous years, and I was glad to see them becoming more of a convention, as opposed to the glorified toy show they’ve seemed to be in previous years. It takes more than a few celebrity Q&A’s to really make an event feel like a convention, and this year was the first it gave me that impression.
Some of the convention’s organizational issues have been diminished, although there were still some clear areas which could have been improved. It was great to see them bring forward the good from last year, most notably keeping the second floor room completely dedicated to the artists because it made sure the room was always packed. In fact, at some points it actually seemed busier than the main vendor room. The artists certainly never had a lack of potential customers.
None of the volunteers had any general information, even regarding the area they were stationed. For example, two volunteers at the programming desk didn’t seem to have a copy of the schedule or any information about which panels were taking place where. In fact, the cosplay contest was so poorly organized that they hadn’t even started the takedown on the room – despite the previous event in that room being cancelled – until after the start time. The Pan Am room didn’t even have anybody stationed outside to field questions about seating or the panels contained within. Strange decision, since that not only meant there was also nobody checking wristbands for Sunday’s cosplay contest but also that people had no idea whether the contest was even happening there or not, since – as I said – the takedown hadn’t started yet.
The gaming section was pretty cool, with a few devs showing off early builds of their titles including the Harvest Moon inspired PS4 game Astraea. They also had a few different types of VR sets present, with both game and tech demos available to try out. There were also several tables for people to enjoy whatever TCG or board game goodness they chose to indulge in. And, best of all, just around the corner was the concession room which had mini donuts and a lemonade stand. You can’t really ask for more from a concession room, in my opinion.
Of course, the highlight is always the cosplay. There were so many amazing costumes… I was able to get shots of almost a hundred costumes in less than 3 hours at the convention on Saturday. There were a plethora of comic book heroes and villains, gaming references, and anime characters wandering the halls. And the culmination of all that hard work for all those amazing cosplayers: the cosplay contest. C4 tried moving the contest to Sunday this year… a decision that didn’t turn out too well, it seems. The contest’s audience was sparse compared to what I’m used to seeing, and there seemed to be fewer cosplayers in attendance. Fortunately, many weren’t deterred (or confused) by the seemingly random change, so we still had a pretty amazing contest to watch… but it didn’t feel like it was as populous as previous events.
Altogether, I was more impressed with C4 than I had been in previous years, despite me being unable to savour the goodness as much as would be ideal. The cosplay contest experiment was a bit of a failure, but aside from that the event was definitely more of the type of convention I’m excited for. Glad to see it grow, and glad to see them learn from their mistakes year over year.
The Galleries are going to take a few days to prep due to some bomb threats at work and our hotel today. Yes, both the hotel we were staying at and my workplace had bomb threats today… which kind of screwed our plans. But we will work to get them up as soon as we can.