Well, I did have plans to take in something on the last day, like an Adventure Time panel or Manga as Literature: Naruto (what?) but I just could not get my keester out of bed in a timely manner and the daughter was even worse than I. Since the viewing options were all shows I had seen or, if I hadn’t seen it, they were doing a 4 am presentation for it, I decided to take in both the Vendor’s Room and Artist Alley. You do need to bring home trinkets or souvenirs of your little sojourn to prove you were actually there and not pretending to be elsewhere and someone did the work for you. Also, I never had a genuine opportunity to really check it out on any other day. Yes, I was hoping for Going-Home Bargains. They had them, but either not what I wanted or not in quantities I could obtain.
I had to check out from my digs, but that was a great advantage. Since our hotel was well beyond beyond, I did not have that mad, chaotic, end-of-the-world crush that usually accompanies conventions and Get Away Day. Mine was reasoned, disciplined and mannered and I had free coffee. Also, with my car outside the room (yeah, I know, hotel vs motel), I could pack it right up and not have to wait for the Bell Captain to bring up the luggage dolly or fight with the elevators going down (as I knew two of the hotels had troubles with that). And I found an all-day lot for a good price to stow the car really close by. Now, with that part of the logistics taken care of, let’s go buy…something!
The Vendor’s Room is broken down into seven broad categories, although not segmented as such:
Media. This covers anime, manga, art books, novels and, in rare areas, comic books.
Cosplay. Although mostly wigs, it can include hosiery, corsets, footwear and for those so inclined, full costumes….uh, outfits.
Clothing. Not only the ubiquitous t-shirt, but caps, hoodies, sweatshirts and socks, as well as masks, backpacks and scarves. I also include in this jewelry.
Artwork. This is not the fan art that is done, but the licensed items. That means posters, wall scrolls, prints, postcards sets and body pillows.
Figurines. Not just the models and statues, but also plushies, action figures and dolls.
Weaponry. This usually means swords of all ilk and caliber, but also guns, rifles, knives and martial arts items. And both real and toy swords.
Gaming. This is “Magic”, “Pokemon”, “Yu-Gi-Oh!” and “World of Warcraft”, to name a few, but also the said supplies that goes with them.
Anything left is Other, but those were light. My concern was that there wasn’t anything I wanted or could afford. If I get manga, where do I put it? Ditto for anime (and the prices! $89 for ‘Trigun’?) and I am just not risking anything on a Grab Bag (grab bags at the sword dealer? Well, it ain’t a katana in there!) So, for me, it was a lot of looking. And what gives with the alpacas? There was a veritable nation of alpaca plushies about the hall, plus these cat pillows as well. I thought there was some degree of collusion between the dealers, as the cats were all going for $30 and no one would flex on the price. One advantage of the Last Day was that one could walk about the hall and not feel hemmed in by walls of people. I can also really see the products. All in all, just nothing for me that I wanted, and I mean wanted.
As to Artist Alley, I had two problems with it. The first is if I get art, where do I put it? I have some fantastic pieces of art already at home, but neither the wall space nor the wife’s approval to put it up. I got an Ariel print recently, but that meant it replaced an Ariel print I already had up. The other is Artistic Interpretation. Now, I realize that all artists have a huge variance of style: this one is clean-line, that one is densely packed, the one over there has an interesting color palette from which to draw. But I should be able to identify who it is they are drawing. I can’t scratch my head and go “Is that Andrew Jackson or Percy Jackson?” Some were very good, with Mucha-themed items or someone imagining a universe based on Minions (those yellow folks from “Despicable Me”) or a loyal commitment to Disney characters (one woman was devastatingly accurate). But there is just so much there, I got overwhelmed. I would strongly recommend, in the future, splitting it up over at least two days to be able to take it all in properly.
This one was fiercely crowded, as the customers were squeezing in for squeezing out last minute bargains. This is a tough call for the artists: trucking it home unsold or selling it at a discount and get something for it. My daughter was also using this as field research, seeing how vendors did what they did. She has a goal that in 2016 to do AX in Artist Alley. That drawback is you are fully committed to this; no time for shows, panels or events. Maybe 2017 is a better goal for her.
With everything shutting down at 3 pm (as we caught the beginning of the Closing Ceremonies), we decided it was time to head on home and back to our daily grind. It was mixed feelings, to be sure. I wished it could go one, but I was glad it was over. More to come……..