One of my favorite cons to attend, celebrated its 30th anniversary this year, and the stars were out for it. The weekend was plenty busy as thousands of attendees packed into the Suburban Collection Showplace to experience what was sure to be a fun event. Motor City Comic Con runs three days, from Friday to Sunday, and provides a usually great balance of celebrity guests, panels, and cosplay to keep you busy all weekend long. This weekend was no exception, although there were a few snags that kept a solid show from being one of the greatest of the year.
This was the first year that the planned expansion inside the Suburban Showplace was open to the public and it definitely changed things quite a bit. While I’m not sure if it was for the better or for worse, having walked through it for three days, I will definitely say it was needed. It did feel like, at times, the showrunners maybe didn’t make the best use of the extra space they’d been granted. Artist Alley and several of the smaller vendors had been relocated to the new expansion, along with the main entrance to the show. Having attended the show for the last five years, it was a bit easier for me to find things, but I did overhear several people who were new to the con express frustrations about not being able to find things. Perhaps it’s better served to start sending out surveys about the layout, or how they could improve the show for next year.
The celebrity guest list this year was pretty ok but could’ve been much better. Anchored by an appearance from the Tenth Doctor, David Tennant, Motor City Comic Con had a very niche list of guests. Charlie Hunnam, Ryan Hurst, and Theo Rossi held it down for fans of Sons Of Anarchy, while Alana Masterson and Tom Payne held it down for ‘The Walking Dead.’ There were a few surprising guests, like Judith Hoag (April O’Neil in TMNT), and Henry Winkler (The Fonz, Gene Cousineau in HBO’s Barry). Winkler, in particular, held a panel in which he was every bit as charming and insightful as one would come to expect. He shared his beginnings in Hollywood, his struggles with dyslexia, and what led him to author several children’s books. Unlike past years, we didn’t do any photo ops at this show, largely because we couldn’t think of one that we didn’t either already have, or just couldn’t live without. That is another suggestion I’d like to throw towards the Motor City Comic Con agents. Snag one or two exclusive guests to give the show a little more star power.
The vendors and artists that were present at the show are always courteous, and friendly. Most are willing to engage in spirited debates about specific fandoms and are extremely knowledgeable when it comes down to it. They help create a stellar atmosphere that keeps Motor City at the top of the list when it comes to my favorite cons to attend. If you’re a serious collector, you may not find a ton of show “exclusives” here, but you could most certainly find several of those missing pieces to add to your collection.
Finding food is always the biggest disappointment while attending the Motor City Comic Con. While there are several concession stands available on site, they all generally serve the same thing, and none of it is especially appetizing. I’d really like to see Motor City and the Suburban Showplace really step it up and add more variety to the mix. Food geared for vegans, and vegetarians would be awesome, as well as a different mix of vendors could also elevate the overall experience for those who attend. There are a plethora of really good restaurants in the area surrounding the convention center, but most require you to leave. If you happen to do that, good luck finding a parking spot on the way back in.
All in all, Motor City Comic Con is, and will continue to be the premiere Con to attend in the area. The 30th anniversary this year was really special in name, but ended up being the same show, with a bigger floorspace, and a moderately downgraded guest list. Was it a bad show? Absolutely not, but with a few minor tweaks and more emphasis on adding stronger guests, Motor City Comic Con could be one of the best shows in the nation.