As a rule, I have never attended Duke City Comic Con. We had a guest blogger cover it in Comics in the Duke City, but we have never (ourselves) attended. We have, however, sworn off the two other of TriCon’s Conventions for reasons which are laid out in We Attended a Highly Controversial Comic Convention and This is How it Went. It was of no surprise then that the day before the official start of the convention an updated story by the podcast Nerd & Tie broke regarding this convention and the alleged registered sex offender that heads up security at this and the other conventions by the same owner. This announcement prompted me to attend so as to fairly judge the atmosphere at this convention in comparison to the other TriCon Conventions for the safety of our readers.
The first blaring failure of this convention is their incapability of taking anything but cash. I spent a good hour wandering around downtown Albuquerque in search of an ATM as all four I was able to find in the convention center, where the convention was being held, were out of service. Unless you posses similar motivations to us in attending this convention I would say that this hard work to pay for admission was rather fruitless when I entered the single ballroom this convention took up. Having attended many conventions in New Mexico, TriCon Conventions among them, I must say that, TorC Con aside (see The Truth & Consequences at TorC Comic Con), this convention had the smallest ballroom and least to offer. There was one row of guests who looked very bored. A few rows of vendors, mostly local comic book shops, and the rest of the ballroom was taken up by vehicles and the single main-stage panel room blocked off with curtains. I personally enjoy rifling through $1 comics that the vendor just didn’t want to sort through for hidden treasures and I was not disappointed with the 10 volumes I walked away with, however, I am among the minority. So, if you attend conventions for the vendor hall I would not highly suggest this convention.
As for cosplay, I am sorry to say the offerings are also meager. I did not attend the cosplay panels so I cannot speculate on their contents, however, we are fans of Dava Rene who gave ‘Sensitivity Cosplay Creations’ on Friday and ‘COSPLAY SAFETY’ on Saturday. There was also the age old panel panel ‘Cosplay on a Budget’ being given on Sunday by a new cosplayer that I have not yet heard of, Berna Keshin.
A friend of mine was on one of the first panels of the day ‘Cosplay Naruto Shippuden Team 7: Reunion’ which, while not a cosplay construction panel, I still attended out of solidarity. I know very little about Naruto (I know, please keep the booing to a minimum) but in my estimation their panel at least ended on fire. The only other in character panel I’ve attended was a Seven Deadly Sins panel at SabakuCon last year (see SabakuCon on Ice) which I enjoyed for the in character answers and footage of the show they shared to comment on which drove the dialogue. The panel had a good flow and was very engaging. In that respect the Naruto panel did leave something to be desired, but it built up to an exciting activity at the end. Hell’s Fire Contest featured four audience members answering questions about Naruto. Whenever they got a question wrong they had to eat from a steaming bowl of spicy ramen. Unfortunate for the contestants, they all answered almost every question wrong. It was hilarious for the audience until many of them began turning unnatural colors. In the end one contestant finished the entire bowl, winning the challenge though he looked worse for the wear.
Afterwards, there was what can only be described as an impromptu decision by the convention head to have what I am embarrassed to describe as a Pride Parade, though it was, in fact, listed at the bottom of the Sunday schedule as ‘Cosplay Pride Support Parade.’ As this convention fell on the weekend of Pride I guess I understand the tie in, but as a member of the LGBTQI+ community this desultory seeming decision only came off as disingenuous which did more harm than good to an already tainted reputation by this convention. All the same, their main cosplay guest Kitty Kaboom and the owner, Jim Burleson, along with their head of security and a scattering of no more than ten attendees with varying levels of enthusiasm walked unceremoniously around the complex behind a rainbow flag with a marijuana leaf which they scored off the back of one of the attendees who was wearing it as their costume’s cape.
This obviously left a bad taste in my mouth for this convention and I was about ready to leave. I was swayed, however, by my friend to make one last stop by one of the guest’s booths that I’d been pacing around the whole day. The incredible Thunderbird Dinwiddie was somehow convinced to visit New Mexico for this convention. I know her from Elena Undone, but more people would know her from The Walking Dead and Supernatural. She was as gracious as she was beautiful and I was able to end my convention experience that day on a positive note.
Given these incredible failures that have been the main comic convention scene in New Mexico for years, we are thrilled to announce that we will be attending the New Mexico Comic Expo in August as press! Don’t miss their watch party at Dave&Busters on July 10 for the New Mexico United game and stay tuned for our next blog which will feature insider insight into New Mexico’s newest comic convention!