While Apollocon 2012 was epic fail, the first annual Space City Con in Houston was epic win.
ApolloCcon in 2012 failed as a sci-fi convention because it lacked in programming, artist lineup and attendance.
Since this was the first of many intended conventions for Space City, I expected and anticipated there would be some trial and error issues to work out the kinks.
And there were:
A profound lack of organization and coordination. A volunteer staff that not only had intercommunication problems, but also were uninformed about itinerary and layout.
However, the staff was very friendly and tried to be accommodating, willing to at least attempt finding or directing guests to the answers about the con arrangements they didn`t know.
Scheduling of times and rooms occasionally did not go according to plan, and had to be altered.
Despite the almost inevitable logistical errors of an inaugural convention, Space City Con was actually quite good. An interesting and fun geek fest extravaganza.
Not only did they more than make up for the intermittent snafus with their programming, they made up for the grand inadequacy of this year`s ApolloCon.
Space City Con was what that other con should have been, and usually is: a showcase and celebration of science fiction, as well as the creativity and artistry of sci-fi fans.
The differences between the two Houston based conventions appear minor and subtle, and yet substantial and distinct enough so that Space City does not seem redundant or imitative. You might say Space City was a more stylish and sophisticated version.
I had the opportunity and pleasure of speaking with several artists (whose creative work got my attention) about their projects they had for sale on display.
They were all enthusiastic, friendly and knowledgeable in describing their work to me--- so it felt more like a conversation than a sales pitch.
As an art supporter, sci-fi fan and voracious reader, I of course bought several books to sample.
Among them were:
-first issue of The Manhattan Projects comic... about a peculiar collection of military and scientists involved in bizarre secret research projects; and The Red Wing , a socially conscious graphic novel drawn by Nick Pitarra and written by Jonathan Hickman... about a war fought across-- and through-- time.
-first issue of After Twilight, a socially conscious comic book based on an original short film script by Gary L. Watson... about resistance group forming to oppose the oppression of an American Church State.
-first issue of The Threat, a socially conscious comic book by Chutter Schmidt and Esteves Doud... about a scientist who creates a cure for a virus that causes mutations, which creates superheroes.
-first issue of Shifters by Terry R. Wagner of Mental Diversions... about a few individuals with multiple personality disorders who are not quite themselves.
-a novel titled Silverwolf, by Eric Fox... about an extraterrestrial human from a more technologically advanced world becomes a superhero on Earth.
-a novel called Conflux, by M.T. ZErkle... about a time and space spanning tale of esoteric mythology.
Plus, a Batman illustration by Adrian Nelson, working with LithoNinja.
Although I couldn`t afford it, I enjoyed the stained glass work of Nikita Leigh; and was intrigued by the Action Figure Labs, which could make a custom action figure of you.
Comic character illustrator Chris Foreman, whose work I`d seen and liked at a prior con, was also present with custom and original drawings.
Additional programming included various lectures and presentations rather than panel discussions.
A presentation/ Q&A with Gary Watson and Douglas Brown regarding After Twilight (which thankfully has nothing to do with sparkly pseudo-vampires).
A presentation on WesternPunk and the interrelation/ integrations of sci-fi and westerns.
A talk/ Q&A with author Breandon O Ciarrai on the science in science fiction and real life correlations.
A discussion with professional special effects expert George Giordano about practical effects related to inexpensive costume and prop making.
And presentation about a strange and campy film called Matt Mercury, by indie film maker Bill Hughes, in the style of 60`s era pulp sci-fi.
As if that were not enough, Nichelle Nichols-- famous as Uhura of Star Trek --was the guest of honor... on Sunday.
Also, author R.A. Salvatore was there for a Q&A session.
The con offered role playing game displays and gaming areas. And a set of battle simulator pods.
Oh, and the wonderful Cosplay!
Space City Con featured many people roaming and posing in the costumes you would expect to see at sci-fi conventions.
Among them: Star Trek, Star Wars, Power Rangers, Ghostbusters, video games, comics and cartoons.
Several were quite extravagant and well crafted.
There was a costume contest-- hosted by a comedian who was not without some comedic talent... but unfortunately and contrary to previous such contests I`ve seen, this one apparently only allowed the low budget level costumes to compete. And the sound system was poorly managed. Which made the event very less than impressive. But also unlike other costume contests I`ve seen, yet in its favor, most of the contestants put on a brief performance as their characters.
And that`s not even everything there was to see and do! Seems way too long since Houston Texas had a sci-fi con so big.
This new convention attracted a decent size crowd and, all things considered, Space City Con`s premier was a success. I`m looking forward to attending again next year.
For More Information: www.spacecitycon.com