One of my happiest memories of my adult life is when I went to my first comic convention in Portland, Oregon. My cosplay was cheap and hastily hand-sewn and I managed to get superglue in my eye the morning of the con, but I was with good company and running around vendor stalls with excited fervor. That was six years ago, and my excitability when it comes to conventions had yet to be quelled until last weekend when I visited ACE Comic Con Seattle.
Although I’m committed to giving an honest review of this convention, I’d like to say that nothing about it is inherently or necessarily bad; the Seattle convention featured creators, artists and vendors that made it worth the trip and the celebrity lineup was spectacular! But I have to admit that for the number of people who attended the convention at an enormous venue like CenturyLink Field it all seemed a bit underwhelming.
Upon walking into the convention, I was immediately reminded of the first convention I ever attended, which I now know is also a nationally touring series of conventions. The atmosphere touted an array of bells and whistles to take photos with and keep people distracted for a few moments before entering the show floor and while waiting between celebrity panels (seats for which took up a majority of the convention space). The regular panel lineup was minimal and panel hosts were perched upon a small stage with a large “CONCESSIONS” sign dropped behind them. The atmosphere felt more claustrophobic and haphazard than any other convention I’ve been to thus far in my life.
ACE’s saving grace was its celebrity lineup. Headlining Marvel faves like Tom Hiddleston, Sebastian Stan, Hayley Atwell and Tom Holland, the show was projected to draw in upwards of 10,000 people each of its three days in Seattle. And although press was not allowed any photo or video recording, I can say that looking in the right places will yield some Grade A video of Tom Holland letting loose a major spoiler for an upcoming Marvel film during his Saturday panel with Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan. Believe me when I tell you that the entire stadium collectively lost their damn minds.
But when I say that the celebs were a saving grace, I’m including their autograph and photo-op sessions. Although this convention did not feel like it was geared toward an overarching nerd/geek community, it was certainly geared toward giving fans a chance to meet their (super) heroes. I lost count of the number of Loki cosplays and outfits I saw before even getting through the security checkpoint (which was also weird, but not surprising given the venue), and it was truly heartwarming to see so many fans literally jumping up and down as they stood in line for photo-ops and autographs. So, if you have the money to drop on tickets, photos and autographs and you’re not afraid to do so, this convention will absolutely be worth your while.
As I stated before, there’s nothing necessarily wrong with touring conventions like ACE. In fact, for many people, they can provide an exhilarating experience that leaves them in happy tears by the end of the day (yeah, that happened). As far as large conventions go, ACE definitely delivered an exciting weekend packed with celebrity encounters for fans to enjoy. And for that, I think all attendees, including myself, are grateful.
If you haven’t checked out our Instagram, @TheGameofNerds, make sure to do so because we found some amazing cosplays at this convention!
Thanks for having us, ACE! TGON can’t wait to see you next time!