I love comic conventions. Growing up I had older friends and family members who went to conventions but tickets were expensive and so was the hotels and they weren’t easy to get to. So I couldn’t go till college when I lived in Chicago. And there, I went to all the conventions. I went to ACEN every year with friends, I volunteered for C2E2 to work a booth for a comic book company (and reviewed it for a now vanished into the ether board game company), went to the IGC show at navy pier on behalf of my aunt who wanted to know what cool stuff they were having but was too busy to actually go look at the garden show, I volunteered for the Chicago Toy and Game fair, and spent a year working AWP. (It’s a writers conference and most of the time I was working it was to direct drunken writers and professionals to the nearest bars.)
This is all to say I love conventions. And I haven’t been to one in over 4 years. I don’t know what kind of conventions are housed in Seoul or even Korea beyond Seoul Comic Con, which I never realize is coming until I just happen to be at Coex and exhausted and see a cosplayer walking by and wonder what’s going on? But this year I was determined to go, I even talked a friend into going with me.
A lot of the conventions I’ve been to are huge. You can walk and look and look and look at vendors and that’s an entire day right there, even without visiting the panels or the signings. If you’re looking for anything specific that adds to the amount of time that disappears hunting for things through bins or looking at displays. Add to this exponentially if you’re at a nerdy con and a friend dresses up. (Aka every time I went to ACEN ever)
I’m not sure what I was expecting Seoul Con to be. I had recently sprained or inflamed a tendon in my foot so the goal was to be slow and chill. We got there before they opened, filled out some forms at one registration booth and then joined the line for tickets. Because we had gotten our tickets that day we just had wrist bands. We’d also arrived right around opening time so we headed upstairs to the entrance to find a large line and then headed to the back of it. I was concerned that this long line meant the convention was crowded, but what it actually meant was that the convention had finally opened and these were all the early birds who’d gotten there before us, because once the line started moving we were in there pretty quickly.
Usually when I go to a convention my favorite this is to look around at shops and see what they have for sale, or what sort of free things they’re handing out, and to spend a ton of time looking around artist’s alley. Usually I run into a couple of friends who I for some reason always miss out that they have a booth. At Seoul Comic Con I ended up first at a stationary shop and then found behind it was the artist alley, which was quite small. I didn’t see anything that I felt like I really needed so I just kept wandering. Artist alley later bumped into more official shops like the Star Wars shop and the Marvel booth, both which had statues and things to take pictures of/ with. Star Wars had a couple storm troopers you could take a picture with and they were taking donations for Make a Wish. Then we found a bookstore with English options and a ton of notebooks and I regret, for my wallet, that I purchased a Hufflepuff notebook and the Hannibal cookbook. (The latter is more of a regret for when I eventually move and have to lug that across the ocean with me). I’m actually very happy with both purchases and I get really excited whenever I find books in English. I’m impressed/proud of myself for not buying more. We also found where the signings/pictures were hosted and we looked at the pricing which was more/ if not the same price as to get in and decided maybe it wasn’t worth it.
Then we ended up in the food section which was a couple little kiosks including a Monster kiosk giving out free samples. (aka full size Monster energy drinks) I gave mine to my friend.
Then while she ran off I watched a little bit of the panel that was happening with Pom Klementieff, who plays Mantis in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. I thought it was kind of nice that it was out in the open so that even if you didn’t grab a seat or were early enough you could still listen and watch from other spots in the room. But it also kind of showed me how small the convention was. Essentially panels were being hosted in the food court.
After that we did one more quick loop, watched some people playing dance dance revolution and then that was it, we’d seen the whole con and it wasn’t even lunch time yet. I’d expected it to take the whole day. But it hadn’t, but it was probably better for my wallet. So after making sure we had everything we wanted and there wasn’t anything we wanted to go back for we left and headed out to lunch.
I know not every convention is as big as C2E2 or ACEN. I’ve even hosted a small for charity convention before that people could finish (If they wanted to skip panels and showings) in about a half hour or less. I’ve even attended a convention that was only like 3 rooms. But this was Seoul Comic Con. Essentially a big city convention in a country that makes it’s on cartoons and animation and comics and that was it. I don’t know if it’s because I went on Sunday but I was a bit disappointed. Though the cosplayers were great.
Seoul Comic Con tends to happen annually at Coex mall during the first weekend in August.