I have to start by saying how amazing it was to be back on the convention floor. I almost started to tear up as I walked in and felt the buzz around me. Conventions have always had a special place in my heart because of The Game of Nerds. I like to think conventions are the ultimate prize for working so hard at home all year. The pandemic made this wait for our prize much longer to the point we thought we would never get back. Since having Marvel in October of 2019, I’ve also been itching to be back at work and showing my daughter how it’s done. My last convention before having her was Silicon Valley Comic Con 2019, so it only felt right to that her first convention experience be there too. Thankfully 2021 has been a year of slowly getting back to normal with some conventions happening. SiliCon was one of these conventions.
We’ve been covering Silicon Valley Comic Con since it started in 2016 with Steve Wozniak. Over the years, we’ve been lucky to release our Funko Cosplays first at these conventions and chat with guests like David Tennant, Grant Gustin, and the new owner of SiliCON Adam Savage. Adam Savage took over the convention from The Woz last year before the pandemic shut it down. While they had a whole year to put a pandemic-ready convention together, I’m sad to say it was a hot mess.
You could tell a lot was going on behind the scenes that contributed to why things were so behind. Badges weren’t mailed out, and the information about ticket pick-up was non-existent. When we picked up passes Friday, which I had to email multiple times to confirm a time, we ended up waiting an additional hour for them to find the passes. We always buy VIP passes, but this year it was a complete waste. There was no VIP line, and the VIP room refreshments were only cookies and coffee. We did, though, get plenty of emails about the COVID restrictions. Everyone was temperature checked and required masks, even if you were in cosplay. The only thing that I thought was super weird was to have Wild Bills soda with unlimited refills. First off, everyone’s hands were on those tap handles, and masks were taken off to drink them as people walked around. It was the one part of the convention that had me scratching my head. In years past, the entire convention center has been used to create this event, but it was confined to the main convention floor this year. They managed to squeeze everything, including artist alley, the museums, photo ops, celebrities, and vendors. There was no gaming alley or giant displays other than NASA inflatables. The only thing that was outside the convention floor was the two-panel rooms.
How could they do this? Frankly, the vendors and artists were the largest part of the convention. SiliCon did them a complete disservice by over charging vendors for tables at reduced capacity. This isn’t the first time, vendors complaining about fees and pricing. In 2019, vendors were slapped with last minute fees for “rolling carts on the convention floor” and to use the elevator. The artist alley was the most significant point of the entire convention, with tons of artists being shown off. Our very own friends Valor and Vellum were there selling her custom pins and vinyl toys. The “museum” was five space suits in a row, and the celebrities were, well, lackluster. SiliCon is known for getting notable names to this convention and the most prominent talent they got for the weekend was Lana Padilla from Once Upon a Time and William Shatner from Star Trek. Mark Sheppard from our favorite series Supernatural, was in attendance as well, but they promoted him very little. I was honestly really surprised by the lack of promotion for the talent that they did have and how it wasn’t family-friendly at all. Usually, this is an event the entire family can enjoy. It was clear this wasn’t the case this year. The bathrooms all lacked acceptable changing tables, and the family rooms were all locked. My husband was subjected to changing my daughter on the bathroom floor that Jake “The Snake” used as a private smoke room before walking back to his table and oxygen mask. Both my husband and a fellow exhibitor asked staff who was standing outside the bathroom how this was acceptable, but no one could give us an answer. Panels also happened to be few and far between. If you happened to get into one of these sessions, it was a perfect chance your favorite star would answer your question since attendance was low (under 50 people). That was unless you paid for a VIP panel, those panels had less than 10 people in them.
So what did we as a family enjoy? Marvel liked chatting to Mark Sheppard about dinosaurs and blew off The Incredible Hulk. She is a cosplay appreciator. Shout out to the awesome dad who was Ian Lightfoot, from Onward, because Marvel was mesmerized. The other highlight has to be the fantastic Star Wars builders who stole her heart. A week later, she’s still asking to see the “robots.” In all honesty, you could quickly do the event in one day and not its usual two days of fun. We are hoping that next year, SiliCon will be back to its full glory!