Saturday morning we arrived early at the Metropolitan Convention Center to set up, and we were immediately impressed! The venue was excellent – new, spacious, airy, rather posh, and it was easy to carry stuff to our setup. We had a pipe and drape backdrop, too, which made it easy to put up the banner and posters.
So much geekery! Lots of different comics dealers, lots of cosplayers, steampunk was very popular, as was Harley Quinn, and furries! There was a rabbit who was very interested in the hats, and seriously, next time I must take pictures. But I was busy with the booth, too. I started selling goggles immediately, and sold out of every pair before the end of the day, even the odd colors.
It was a very kid-friendly con – I appreciated that, as my kids were with me and got to walk around and see the sights a bit. But they were most interested in the booth directly in front of us – That Computer Store had a video game tournament featuring Super Smash Bros. on the Wii U! We've been thinking about maybe getting one for a family Christmas gift, and this was a great chance to admire it and try it out after the tournament.
I also did a bit of facepainting. I did a little cartoon Minion, and some of my fair paintings like the rose and the dragon, and Pikachu wearing Ash's hat, and a few others. I'm going to have to paint a new sign with chibi characters and cartoons, just so the moms will realize that I can, in fact, paint a Minion or a My Little Pony or Alphonse Elric reproduced 2” in diameter on their kids' face. Kids are awesome – they come right up and ask for some outrageous thing and the moms get this look like “there's no possible way that can be done with face paint, please ask for something easy.” But it can be done! I love doing those!
Joe thought there might have been upwards of 5,000 people there – I have no idea. I hardly left the booth – I usually don't. Of course I had to be there to paint faces... but the real reason is because I'm an introvert and a homebody at heart and if I have to be somewhere all day, I like to make a nice little home base and then STAY THERE in my safe zone. Because even crowds of the best people I've ever met are still crowds, and... eek. But everyone I saw was awesome, polite, enthusiastic about being there, and honestly I don't know what is going on at these conventions where harassment seems to be a thing? Every one I've been to in South Carolina – which is admittedly new at comic cons – has been wonderful and the people are the greatest. Maybe we're all just ridiculously polite, so accustomed to our “yes sirs,” and “no ma'ams,” and holding open doors for everyone that we just can't bring ourselves to destroy the homey, upbeat atmosphere with petty power struggles. Or maybe we just haven't had time to form cliques.
If you'd love to come to a con but you're concerned about getting harassed because you might be considered some kind of wrongfan, let me be the first to invite you to a South Carolina comic con. We have a ton of fandoms excited to share our previously-closet geekiness with you, even if you are a newbie or not quite the usual fan.
We featured Shandra Koger, creator of Lightning Prophetess, at my booth Saturday (and I still have prints and posters if you'd like to buy!) and she had quite a bit of interest in her art and characters.
We had a full day, packed up at 6:00 pm, went to our slightly disappointing hotel (next time, we're booking earlier and getting the good hotel!), and settled on the Palmetto Pig BBQ buffet for dinner – which was incredible. The hushpuppies, y'all. Yes, the barbecue was stellar, but it's rare that even the lowly hushpuppy is made with such perfection. The slaw was also quite excellent, and the sweet tea was positively candied. If you want authentic, very reasonably priced, all-you-can-eat barbecue and you happen to be within 30 miles of Columbia, you have to go there. Devine Street, you'll find it.
Drop a comment below if there's anything in particular you'd like to hear about next!
Back from Columbia and the first ever Soda City Comic Con! Achievement unlocked: escaped floodwaters!
I didn't see more than really huge puddles and overflowing storm drains, but that is probably because we got out before all the roads closed. Rainfall was a steady, unrelenting drizzle all day, and picked up considerably at night, with some nice scary gusts of wind for good measure. The hotel we were in did not fare so well – not one of the ones with the con rates – it started raining in the dining area so, no hot breakfast for us. Fortunately we weren't on the top floor, since that area wasn't faring so well either.
I kept up with Soda City Comic Con on Facebook and Twitter while Joe monitored the news, and we sat tight until we were clear to head to the convention center. The Metropolitan Convention Center is in a good high spot, evidently, and I figured we were better off there than the hotel! I half expected it to become an evacuation shelter. And really, what is there to do other than make the best of things (and not scare the kids). The weather may be grim, but I wouldn't give it the satisfaction of admitting it.
So we set up just like everything was normal, walked around the other vendors' displays, bought a few things, played video games, and kept a surreptitious eye on the news. A high point was when the National Guard helicopters visited the parking lot next to us – all the boys heard the chopper and raced for the door to see it. That was about two or two-thirty, a few minutes before the con officially announced closing.
The con organizers had been hopeful that the weather would clear and hours could be extended, but then Columbia announced a city-wide curfew of 6 o'clock and that highways were being closed. So we heard over the speaker that Soda City Comic Con would end at two-thirty, and packed up to go. I'd heard from con staff that there was no way to get back to Gray Court – that all westward bound entries to Highway 26 were closed down already. And at first, that seemed to be true. The ramp we'd come in on was shut down, and the next nearest as well. We were cruising through town, with no idea where we were apart from “Columbia” and “slightly uphill,” when we spotted a small sign for Highway 26 at an intersection. We glanced left and there seemed to be fewer cars coming back from that way than seemed to be coming back from the direction we were headed, so we made the left turn, went a ways, and miraculously got on the highway! We hardly dared breathe again until we were well out of the city.
Even then, we saw evidence of trees down, up 26 and after we got on 385, and we were stopped for about half an hour while one was cleared near Chapin.
After that, we made it safely back to the upstate, where the rain was just rain, and had dinner at El Tejano, which is a really great little place in Simpsonville that's Miss Chaos' favorite, even if all she eats is chips, salsa, and a cheese quesadilla. Every time.
So today, I'm really thankful to be home. And my church is having a food drive, so I went through and about halved my pantry today to find things to send back there. Unfortunately I hadn't really stocked up during my last shopping trip since I knew we'd be gone for the weekend, so I only got one decent box together. But on the upside, there's quite a few packets of tuna, several extra canned tomatoes, and some soups bought by mistake that turned out to have wheat ingredients, and I added a can of coffee and some boxes of tea, and a gallon of water I'd been saving.
Lots of places are organizing food drives – I hear Harvest Hope is nearly out, so Borderlands Comics and Games is getting supplies together, and of course NewSpring Church is packing several truckloads, and the good people at Soda City Comic Con are helping at the Metropolitan Convention Center to receive and send out supplies from there. If you have nonperishable foods and bottled water to contribute, please do! Entire neighborhoods are under water, and with the sewers flooded, nobody is going to be drinking any water from the pipes. The lower half of the state is a mess.
Next post will be good stuff about the con's first day, which was stellar, and truly the bright redeeming feature of this past weekend.
Artist, writer, creator of stuff. I just want to build worlds for you to escape to.