Author Topic: Albuquerque Comic Con: January 13-15, 2023  (Read 1451 times)

Offline hikanteki

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Albuquerque Comic Con: January 13-15, 2023
« on: January 19, 2023, 10:57:31 PM »
I started off this year with a convention I hadn't been to yet: Albuquerque Comic Con. It's been on my radar for a few years but I had never seriously considered going...but I was in Vegas for work until Friday morning so it ended up being the perfect opportunity to go as I was already halfway there.

It wasn't too big (I'd say maybe 10-20k) and only filled up one building of the Albuquerque Convention Center. There were 3 floors; the basement floor had gaming and the two smaller panel rooms, the first floor had the exhibit hall (in two separate rooms on each side) and a giant Settlers of Catan game, and the second floor had a hall that had the artists and guests, and the main panel room (in the Kiva Auditorium which was actually a very nice venue, but way too big for any of the panels). The exhibit hall and artist sections were not huge, but they were decent sized and took me about two hours to walk through. A nice thing was that I saw a lot of vendors and artists from the Southwest that I don't generally see at West Coast conventions.

Their guest lineup was pretty extensive (there were dozens) although pretty obscure...but they do get a lot of guests that I rarely see elsewhere. I actually liked this, as most of the time guests are pretty interesting so I have a good time at their panels even if I'm not that familiar with their work and I had an opportunity to see something different. Most guests didn't have panels, which was a bit disappointing, but didn't bother me as much as it did ECCC considering that a) there really wasn't any guest that I specifically went for, I primarily just went to check out the con, b) most guests weren't that famous so if you wanted to see anyone, they actually encouraged you to go up to their booth and have a conversation with them and c) this is a local, independent, bootstrapped convention that doesn't have anywhere close to the resources that ReedPop has. And as I found out, most attendees at this con didn't seem to be interested in panels...but this actually turned out to make it a much more interesting convention for me.

The biggest name was probably Manu Bennett, next biggest Tom Kenny but neither had a panel. The biggest name with a panel was probably Jim Cummings. The convention took place over Friday the 13th weekend so they featured horror guests, including John Kassir (the Cryptkeeper) and Ari Lehman and CJ Graham (Jason I & VI). The main panel room held 2300, the two smaller ones held about 100. However, none of the panels I attended had anywhere near 100. 50 might have even been stretching it. This was kind of awkward for the guests in the main panel room. On Sunday morning I attended John Kassir's panel in the main room but only 8 people showed up. So they brought the chairs down below the stage facing the front row, asked us to sit in the front row, and we had a roundtable discussion panel which was very cool. However, that paled in comparison to one of the panels later...

When I walked into CJ Graham's panel (in one of the smaller room) a few minutes after starting time, no attendees had showed up yet and he was just sitting in the front row talking to some of the staff. As soon as I walked in, CJ Graham turned around and asked me if I was here for the panel. When I said yes, he said "okay, here's what we're going to today. You're going to sit in front, and interview me." I wasn't sure if he was being serious...but he pulled up a chair and said the panel wasn't starting until I asked him questions. So I sat up in front and interviewed CJ Graham for the duration of the panel. (!!) I have to say that that was a convention first for me.

The convention had interesting afterparties which took place in the hotel lounge after hours. Friday was a full concert by Ari Lehman's Friday the 13th themed metal band, First Jason, and Saturday was Karaoke. One of the members of First Jason was dressed up as Jason and got into the crowd and started moshing, which the attendees were getting a kick out of. They also invited the concertgoers up on the stage at the end to take a picture with the band. It was fun walking into the hotel after going out Friday and Saturday nights and see those going on.

I stayed in the official con hotel which turned out to be an excellent idea. It wasn't too expensive, and it was nice to be where the action was. After closing time each day, I saw a lot of the actors start walking in. I'd say at least half the times that I used the elevator, at least one of the con guests was also in. I saw some of the actors at the breakfast buffet each day. I casually chatted with a few at the bar the day after the con, although I didn't know they were guests until afterwards. As someone who never does photo ops or signatures...I'd say that this was the first time I've had the stereotypical con experience where I've gotten to be up close and personal with so many guests. I've stayed at other official con hotels before but never really felt like I was in the thick of things as much as I did here. This was possible due to the relatively small size of the con compared to the large number of guests, the layout of the hotel and the convention center, and the insular nature of Albuquerque.

If I had to say what my least favorite part about the convention was...the website. Honestly, the website was kind of a cluster (especially the mobile version, and the page with the panel schedule). However, that fortunately didn't carry over to the actual convention, as the convention itself was very well organized.

I also had a lot of fun in Albuquerque. It really was a different world compared to most of the other cities/states I've been to...and I had some interesting conversations with some interesting characters. I also had some fantastic New Mexican cuisine & Pinon coffee every day (and even Native American cuisine on my last day)!  ;D

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« Last Edit: January 20, 2023, 06:32:05 PM by hikanteki »
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Offline marcia29

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Re: Albuquerque Comic Con: January 13-15, 2023
« Reply #1 on: January 20, 2023, 03:54:56 AM »
You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login  Quite enjoyed your report. Some very cool encounters and opportunities! Going to look further into this event for next year. I probably would not have even considered it without your post....thanks!
It is 2024, and I am still asking...where's my flyin' car??!! @fannishmarcia

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Re: Albuquerque Comic Con: January 13-15, 2023
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