Convention Report: ACEN 2016 (Part 1 of 3)

 In conventions

Spring is the time of year that brings more temperate temperatures, some warmer sun (but a little rain, too), and yes – Anime Central! The second largest animation convention in the country, and one of my favorite shows to attend, is back. And this year, thanks to less hiccups than last year, I was finally able to attend. My buddy, Alan, has secured tables for us, and we were right smack in the middle of artist alley (my first time being in artist alley, since in year’s past I had been a guest of the show). ACEN was a unique experience because of this, but one worth doing.

Why was ACEN worth it to me? Well, because it holds a special place in my heart. I get to see friends I only get to see at this show, sure, but also the attendees are just awesome. Everyone’s in good spirits, the panels have great attendance and engaging questions, and the cosplay – my goodness – there’s some talent right there. What do you love most about ACEN?

Alan drove in super early on Friday and we packed up the car with my stuff and headed to the con. We only had 2 hours to get there, park, get our badges, and set up. Thankfully, there were no delays along the way and we got there with plenty of time to set up before the doors parted and the sea of people washed over us.

All set up for selling at table E9-E10, Anime Central 2016

I had all of my books on the table, and was excited to see how the new stuff might go over. ACEN has historically been a strong show for some of my older books, since I’ve been coming here since I started my career in comics, but the new books were quite different in tone. Thankfully, I was not disappointed to see that they were a hit with this crowd, as well.

The crowd of people continued throughout the day, with very few gaps in traffic on the floor. Not having attended this show in years, I’m never quite sure what people do during the day. There are viewing rooms, panels, video games, cosplay meet ups and more – but there’s also shopping! What do you do when you attend a con? What sticks out to you or is something you look forward to every year?

After the floor closed, we broke down and headed to the Hyatt bar for a meet-up we had scheduled with our friends and fans. People had been wanting to hang out with us, and since we weren’t staying at any of the con hotels this year, this was our opportunity to do it. And it was a huge hit! We had probably 15-20 people at the event by the end, and we had some drinks (and some food), and had a blast hanging out and chatting. It was relaxing, and a fun way to kick off the convention weekend.

Photo-bombing my own after-con get-together

At the end of the hang out, we headed downtown to grab dinner at Pony (a pub in my old neighborhood, with some fantastic burgers and tacos), and then loaded up on Jenni’s Ice Cream (a favorite of Alan’s) before heading back to my house for sleep.

Day one was down, but we still had the biggest day ahead of us….

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