GACCLV
It was the inaugral year for the Great American Comic Convention: Las Vegas and those first years are often a bit rough. Usually, there is a hard time getting talent, vendors are scarce, and the crowds and community support are nowhere to be found. This convention was a bit different though in most aspects and hopefully next year it will have the crowds to show for it.

I go to a lot of conventions, particularly comic book based ones. I’ve never made it into San Diego Comic-Con,┬áthe mecha of comic cons, but each year I feel a little better about this as there are too many people, too much going on all at once, and it is near impossible to do half the things you would like to. Give me a medium-sized comic convention, one that gets decent names, keeps me busy the whole weekend but at the same time doesn’t leave me full of regret for the things I couldn’t do. There will always be picking and choosing but let it be with the satisfaction that the choice was a good one.

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The Great American Comic Convention: Las Vegas was in a small venue but a near perfect fit for a first year. Vendors are going to be a little bit more reluctant with a con’s first year – panels generally fewer then the number at more established shows. Guests will come and go, some will decide to be no-shows on a first year. Choosing your space so that things aren’t too spread out or looking too cavernous like attendees aren’t getting their money’s worth is important.

What made Great American Comic Convention: Las Vegas different from most small starting conventions was it’s guest list. With only a couple cancellations (feel better Len Wein!) there were some serious legends of the comic community in an arena size space: Billy Tucci, Terry Moore, Bob McLeod, Darwyn Cooke, Joe Rubinstein, Frank Tieri, Tony Harris, Mike Zeck, Howard Chaykin and so many more! You got to see Tim Bradstreet and Tommy Castillo walking the halls talking cover art, James Robinson joking with fans about sitcoms and THE Bernie Wrightson hanging out and talking Batman and Swamp Thing. It was more like a reunion than a convention with the fans being welcomed into the fold and conversations. The panels didn’t get the turnout they deserved but it was like hanging out in someone’s house with these legends in the comic world rather than being in a giant convention hall where you are just one in a sea of faces. It was intimate and warm, so much so that Tim Bradstreet would excuse himself from his booth to go give other artists and even fans hugs. I just wish I could met Simon Bisley and have seen Len Wein there with them so that I could have heard him and Wrightson talk about the early days of Swamp Thing and seen this fraternity even more complete.

And… listen to this comic fans and fanatics, they weren’t charging for autographs! Bradstreet was looking at comics in people’s hands and grabbing them and signing them while chatting, Castillo was a fountain of amazing stories and facts while signing away, Billy Tucci was nicely asking for donations of any amount for important military charities while signing his iconic work and doing sketches. To have such big names at a intimate rookie event was an amazing thing, having free autographs and reasonable prices on prints and books as well was just amazing.

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There were some vendors but there will probably need to be more to keep it profitable and there was some community support by lots of local artists and important non-profit groups like Viva Wonder Woman, Very Awesome Girls, Amazing Las Vegas Cosplayers and Super May Day 2016. Special shout out to Viva Wonder Woman whose level of community work I have seen first hand at event after event and should be an inspiration to us all to be every day heroes.

Hopefully, word of mouth will get out about the event so that the turnout increases enough to make sure the event is profitable though if it maintains it’s intimacy I won’t complain much, next year it might feel like we fans are part of the reunion.

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Ripper71

Dustin "Ripper71" Thomas has been a staff writer with GamingShogun.com for over 10 years and has taken on the role of Editor with a brief stint as Editor-In-Chief. He is also a co-founder of @IsItOctoberYet where he covers haunt nightmares, amusement park fun and Golden Knights hockey.