I was at Dallas Comic Con yesterday for several hours. Most of that time was spent standing in line. My 4-year-old daughter and I stood out in the 90° for an hour just to buy passes. Once inside, you couldn’t move for thousands of people.
Dallas Comic Con is held at the Irving Convention Center – four floors of conference rooms and exactly one escalator per floor. If you wanted to get to the autograph area on the third floor or the artist’s alley on the fourth floor, you had to get in line to ride the escalator. More than one thousand people trying to fight their way to the top floors made for a dangerous and frustrating experience.
I’m trying to not criticize the convention itself. Honestly, there is no way they could predict the number of people who showed up. Last year was much, much smaller. I’d venture to say there were double the number of people there this year. The volunteer staff were great and did their best to maintain control of the chaos, but it was a losing battle. If I can criticize the convention for anything, it is choosing to hold DCC at the Irving Convention Center. The building just isn’t designed to accommodate that type of crowd.
I’m sure the crowd will be much smaller today, given that the top-billed guests – Stan Lee and Sir Patrick Stewart – won’t be there. I’ve considered going back, if just to see what I missed yesterday, but after such a frustrating experience I don’t know if I’ll ever go back to the Irving Convention Center.
Bottom line: Had this been my first con experience, I’d be put off comic cons for good. Being the nerd that I am, I’m sure I’ll give it another go, but not for a while.