This year was a special year for Motor City Comic Con as it celebrated its 25th year in the convention business. This year they enlarged everything to make this year one to remember. For starters they had more space the entirety of the Suburban Collection Showplace floor to add more space, along with more vendors and guests. They had more ticket counters and parking spaces to make sure they could accommodate more people than ever before. So was this year’s expansion a worthy celebration for the 24 cons that had come before? This question luckily was yes, albeit just a few complaints associated with the growth.
Last year the driving and parking situation was horrendous. It was so busy and lacked the necessary parking spots that traffic was backed up on the highway a decent distance away. This year, though? Zero problems. They expanded the parking to the lot on the side for off-site parking that made it able to pull in and get to the building. The off-site parking was so close that it made walking a breeze, but they did offer shuttle service as well if anyone preferred. Last year once we had actually parked, they did not have enough ticket lines, causing the line to wrap half way around the building. Just like the parking, however, the additional ticket counters cut the line down drastically. Both combined meant there was hardly any wait from arrival to getting inside to enjoy the festivities.
Once inside, the increase in floor space was easily noticeable. Having more space meant more of everything, vendors, concessions, and most importantly, guests. For media guests they had a great line-up such as William Shatner, Karl Urban, Scott Wilson, J. August Richards, Jason Momoa, Bret Hart and many more. It was a great mix for fans of just about anything. The side we were most excited about was for comic book guests of course, and it did not disappoint either. It had it’s fair share of comic legends such as Mark Waid, J.M. Dematteis, Chris Claremont, James O’barr, Gerry Conway, among many other talented creators. As for the vendors, it was one of the best selections we had ever seen, with a multitude of selection for comic, toys, and more.
Our main complaint actually stems from the floor. The layout could have been handled a little better as it became overcrowded in parts very easily. The comic guests were put on the left side of the floor, and it probably had the best amount of space when it came to overcrowding. It was very noticeable that the aisles were much easier to navigate in this area. There still were a few problems here with line management however. They had line management set for Chris Claremont, easily one of the biggest draws of the show, but then you had Mark Waid stuck in the middle of other creators, with a line that extended through at least five other creators, making them almost inaccessible.
Once you left the comic guests side to go to either the media guests or the vendors, things got bad. It became very hard to navigate down aisles in several areas. Some aisles with smaller media guests had much more space than they needed, while areas around guests such as Shatner, Wilson, and Momoa could have used a much larger area. As for the vendors, there was no aisle that was safe from droves of people fighting their way up and down, making it hard to actually shop for anything. The more things you pack in, the more people that will come, even with expanding the show floor. Next year it seems as though there are a few tweaks they could make on the spacing to make things easier to navigate by expanding the aisles and placing the guests in better locations to space the bigger names out more.
The next complaint we had was with the panels. If you were there for the media guests, they did have a multitude of panels to attend. If you were there for the comic guests, not so much. They had some big name comic guests there and it would have been nice to see more panels from them. The one negative experience that we had specifically related to Gerry Conway’s panel dealing with his time on Amazing Spider-Man. The panel in the room before it was still going on with no signs of stopping, so at the last minute it was announced that the panel was being pushed back by 45 minutes and would be located to another room. There was already a pretty big line forming 30 minutes before the original start, so telling everyone they should wait that much longer or leave for a bit and comeback is beyond frustrating. It was only one instance, but it should not have happened.
In the end Motor City Comic Con was a fun convention, as it has been in the previous years we attended. This year was definitely on the right track, becoming better than any previous year we can remember. The increased show floor just needs to be balanced a little better, instead of just making you feel claustrophobic even with more space. It is still one of the best cons in the area regardless, one that we would recommend to anyone looking for a premier convention to attend and enjoy with other fans.