Monster Mania Con 17 in Cherry Hill, NJ has come to a close, and although it was my first con as a vendor, I still got to partake in the fun once I was able to escape from my table (which was not an easy feat!).
The amount of original art in the vendor’s area this year was astounding and awesome! There were handmade sock dolls, Knit Terrors was there (and they SOLD OUT!), lots of artists with prints, jewelry, and paintings…it was wonderful to see. Nothing worse than a con with 700 tables of bootleg DVDs, action figures, and the same posters as the next guy. So that was a HUGE plus!
Emma Bell of The Walking Dead unfortunately had to cancel at the last minute, but I’ve heard rumors that she’s planning on being at a future con soon. Not sure why, but Norman Reedus hightailed it out of there on Saturday at noon. Ace Frehley canceled his Saturday Q&A. A few hiccups, but most people left there happy. Here’s my list of convention lows and highs for you:
Low points: the fact that most of the celebs were not allowing photos without a purchase. Back in the early days of the MM Con, you could get pics with the actors without having to buy their swag. I have particular criteria for buying autographs, mostly to save myself hundreds of dollars: you had to have been in a movie or movies that is/are very dear to my heart or which are Romero movies, period. For example, I got John Amplas’ autograph this time around without hesitation, because he’s on my “gotta have it” list. I wanted a pic with John Franklin (Isaac in Children of the Corn), but wasn’t interested in an autograph. Couldn’t get one without a purchase. So, I walked away. I’m of the mind that pics should be inclusive of the entrance fee. Autographs I’m glad to pay for, but getting a few pics and shaking hands of celebs should come at no charge. It’s my own camera, after all, and the celebs are SUPPOSED to be there for the fans to meet…it just seems to be a bit of a scam.
I also was told by many that they felt rushed through the Ace Frehley experience, and that he didn’t necessarily seem very thrilled to be there. To wait hours on line to meet your hero only to be rushed through it is really a disappointment. The same thing happened to me at a con in Toronto when I waited hours to meet Alice Cooper. I never even got to say hello. It sucked.
And apparently Doug Bradley (Pinhead) didn’t really give much of a crap about the fans either, as he spent much of his time texting and otherwise ignoring the fans lined up for autographs. That’s just uncool, and frankly, rude.
A few celebs seemed to be partially to completely nonexistent through the length of the con. The one that really sticks out, though, is Jenny Wright. She was never at her table that any of my friends can speak of, and I sure never saw her there the three times I went into that particular room. If you’re a celebrity and you don’t really want to be there at the con, then here’s a hint: DON’T GO!
They trapped the vendors who were against the wall behind their tables. I was one of them. Seriously, they allowed NO SPACE for us to walk out from behind our tables! We had to CRAWL out from underneath. Attractive, especially for my rather unlucky lady vendor friends in dresses. Unprofessional. I hope they leave some extra space next time, but I doubt they will.
High points: John Amplas. This guy is just plain awesome. He was kind, welcoming, talkative, and excited to be there and to meet his fans. I gave him a print of my original Bub painting, and he refused to let me pay for my autograph. “Reciprocation, my dear,” he explained. He was wonderful to my child, who is almost three and was a little overwhelmed by the whole thing. I must tell you, every person I’ve met who is in or involved with a George Romero movie including Romero himself are the most down to earth, welcoming people I have ever had the pleasure of meeting at conventions. That says a LOT.
The vendors. It was an eclectic and friendly mix of people and wares, as I explained above. I enjoyed walking through the halls and the vendor room, taking with the other vendors and checking out their stuff. I came home with some great things from Mike Smash, such as handmade magnets and earrings, and a cool vinyl hand-painted and -sewn doll from Daniela and Justin of Little Punk People (www.littlepunkpeople.net). Vendors were supportive of other vendors, purchasing and trading each other’s items. It was nice to see the harmony in that room.
The costumed attendees. John Wayne Gacy was hysterical and was very cool about letting folks get pictures with him. Zombie Gumby cracked me up. Zombie Michael Jackson and his buddy Macaulay Culkin were great! There were lots of folks all dressed up this time around. Very cool.
The attendees in general. Everyone was friendly and excited to be there, which always makes the cons better!
The vibe was generally positive and other than a few complaints about certain celebrities and cost of some items (like a Corona at the bar was $6.50…ouch), it was a great con. I’m hoping to vend again in August myself. Hope to see you all there!!