So due to the pandemic causing so many delays in conventions Alabama Comic con and My Hero Con in Alabama decided to become one massive event for 2021 and with the guests of two conventions this event just became twice as tempted to go to as I’ve had my eye on both of them for awhile now. The big questions on my mind going into this event were how well the two events would merge and what kind of experience would that merge yield. I have quite a bit to talk about with this event.
I’m going to talk about vendors first because there were quite a few of them. The way this event was organized you had all the stuff for My Hero Con on one side of the room and all the stuff for Alabama Comic con on the other and you can honestly tell really easily when you were in one or the other because you had the actor for Present Mic right at the start of the My Hero section and he is just as lively and energetic as his character it was pretty awesome. The vendors themselves had an incredible variety of pop culture and anime which was exactly what I was hoping for when you merge two cons of these genres together. I found a bunch of Fire Emblem stuff, my wife got a Hocus Pocus glass and we had a great time shopping through them. What I also liked was how spacious everything was. I was really concerned going into this that two cons would mean everything would be cramped but no It was actually really easy to move around and shop so I felt more encouraged to take my time and look at each individual vendor.
So me personally I went for a few of the My Hero Academia guests that were also in Fire Emblem, for obvious reasons, but as a whole the guest list was really interesting. The list had about 13 actors from My Hero Academia which was really impressive but on the Alabama comic con side they had John Barrowman, Sting, and other actors from shows like Power Rangers and Ninja Turtles. I will say this for me personally I could easily see myself invested in a guest list like the one My Hero Con had for future events, but not so much for Alabama Comic Con because Sting was easily hyped as one of their biggest guests but unfortunately he was only their for a couple of hours. I think he actually left before we got their on Saturday. The main reason for my criticism here is that it’s hard to be hyped for a guest for a convention when he’s only there for a small part of it. The rest of Alabama Comic Con’s guest list was interesting but nobody that would motivate me or anyone in my group to drive five hours to attend that we haven’t already met in previous events.
Panels were kind of interesting this year. I had to go to the John Barrowman panel because he’s just hilarious every single time and while the panel started late it really wasn’t badly off schedule so I was impressed. The rest of the panels had some interesting fan ran events and some Q&As with various guests. Now for a convention named My Hero Con I was expecting a panel with a bunch of the actors but instead their were a lot of individual Q&A panels. I saw this as a missed opportunity since seeing the incredible list of actors all together would have been nice. Now since I’ve never been to this event before I don’t know if this is a norm for the con or maybe this was done as a precaution for the pandemic so without that knowledge I don’t want to critic this too heavily because I can completely respect this decision being made as a means to keep guests safe.
I don’t really know what to label this section since I’m talking about a few things that don’t fit within what I normally talk about and none of the topics in this section directly relate to one another so Misc it is.
First I want to talk about the fact that this is two cons in one. It really felt like two conventions because you had that distinct separation between the two and I greatly enjoyed my time shopping and navigating around both events. The panels were all grouped together on the floor above the vendors and had plenty of signage to see which room you wanted to go to and I loved that. Overall I felt like you could really fully experience both events with ease thanks to how it was designed.
I also want to talk about parking because it was an absolute mess. Unfortunately during the first day of the conventions, Saturday, a football game was also taking place nearby so traffic was rough. Not only that but parking became an interesting scenario as the convention center offered pre-orders for parking to make things easier on everyone which I gladly leapt at the opportunity. Sadly the map they used to show where the parking was really was pretty terrible. I could tell the garage I got was fairly close but that’s about it and I had to use Google Maps and really look closely before I was able to figure out where I was going. Ticketmaster was used for the entire ordering process and the directions they provided were to a parking lot half a mile away from the actual location you pre-ordered for which lead to a lot of confusion. Now this is at no fault of the conventions and instead rests on the convention center and ticketmaster, but it did make for a negative experience all the same. Now that was the story for the location I ordered for. My friend also went and ordered tickets for another parking lot and flat out couldn’t find it and had to again pay for parking at a completely different spot, she’s now lodging a complaint with ticketmaster to get her money back for the space she never used. Parking on Sunday was a much different story as we didn’t need to pre-order the space and just drove and found spaces with incredible ease.
The last thing I want to mention is the line to enter the conventions is just a total mess. It was a long row of walkways going side to side for the entire length of a very long room. I can see this perhaps being needed for an incredibly large crowd but both times my group entered the convention center there weren’t that many people in line but because the rows were separated by chains you couldn’t just walk up to the back of the line you had to either walk through the entire path or just walk over the chains till you reached the end of the line. It was needlessly tedious and I found it annoying. I think tape is way more effective since it’s easier to get to the end of the line when it’s not that long.
Overall I had a lot of fun at this event. The My Hero guest list was just so impressive and I had fun shopping at both conventions. The way these events merged together it was clear which parts went to which convention but they both worked very cohesively with one another. It did have some hiccups like the issues they had with parking but that was not the conventions’ fault, and the layout for entry into the conventions which was entirely the conventions’ fault. I can see my group and I wanting to do the My Hero con side of the event again because we spent a lot of time at that part of the convention, but I’m not sure how tempted we are to do Alabama Comic Con again. It was fun but the guest list wasn’t near as exciting as the My Hero Con since we only did a panel for one of their guests and the event is a five hour drive away, but that could change in 2022 so I am definitely keeping my eyes on these events.