Comic Con Copenhagen - As seen from a far
I spent my time reading every post in the discussion forum for Comic Con and also talking to a lot of people in order to get this straight. Hence the extra few days. Thanks to all of you that commented on the facebook post I made about this! I love that people directly challenge me and ask me to check myself as I state my opinion, and it will help me to grow in the future. Sometimes we all need a good reality check. Here is what I wanted to get out about my opinion on Copenhagen Comic Con.
For those that don’t know this weekend Copenhagen held their first Comic Con through the MCM brand that has been expanding into the Nordics the past few years! The event has come and gone, but there have been some impressions that I have been gathering as I was at Japan Weekend in Madrid getting ready for a different event.
As such, I didn’t visit Copenhagen Comic Con, and intended on writing a post here on my opinions, on the commentary before, after, and the information organizers have been giving me (which I won’t be including in this since its not relevant to the general opinion). I went to Spain to visit a different event, and I did that because I had some actual work meetings, and because I felt that Comic Con didn’t live up to my expectations. I might make a post about my ideal Comic Con for the Danish Community after this, but that is a story for another time.
Caroline from Sweden asked me why even write a post, or was it because “I was that event guy from Denmark“, and Christian from Denmark wrote that he loves me, but thinks I should refrain from writing anything, since my original facebook post was quite negative off the bat (I agree with you man). You can see that post here, and I agree with him on that. Here is the direct citation:
I have so many fucking messages about comic con in my inbox and I feel super bad, but I feel like I know what the problem is and it won’t be “fixed” by experience and it’s only the first year the con exists.
I knew this was coming and I’m happy I chose to go to Spain for Japan Weekend. Today I hung out with Yaya Han and had good times with cosplayers.
I feel super sorry for anyone that paid for comic con. When the true content that made it worth while seems to be Gamestop Expo and th hard work behind Jpopcon and Their cosplay.
I feel almost hugely bad about how the geek culture has become a huge money grab and people know that this is what it is.
Needless to say the opinion and state of mind I had was of the messages I had gotten that were over 20+ and I realize how biased this is, and want to try to amend my views and write a little bit more objectively and explain myself. I even went as far in my sillyness to give them a one star rating (which I have since then deleted) based sorely on the fact that there didn’t seem to be any comic content there for any guest and poor judgement off my part. As many know I can be pretty immature about these things, and might as well just adult it here, and make sure I get the proper message I want across.
I was writing this facebook post in direct relation to their messages, posts, and call to get them to post their opinions directly on an open forum so that all the people I know could weigh in and comment, because I know that there are different types of people that go to Comic Con and for different reasons. I’ve had a huge variation of opinionated feedback, and this is what I aim to address. Needless to say, a lot of people haven’t replied there. Now I am writing this piece to make sure that people understand that I don’t want to hammer them or come out swinging, but actually create debate which can translate to a better community. A lot of people see the event as a first time event, but the organizations that hold the brand have been doing this for years, this is why expectations were a bit high for some of us.
Why did Comic Con get such a mixed review?
When you ask someone what is Comic Con, they will have an opinion. Sedra from Sweden has been to San Diego Comic Con and some other experienced con goers have been around, and they have a pretty concrete opinion on what that is. However in Denmark we have a novice state of Comic Con guests and they haven’t had an event like this for ever. Those that have been mad have been the experienced type, and their opinions include a lot of what the event should contain. So you have this as the main veteran perspective.
This is where pretty much me and a lot of people get slightly (if not quite) elitetest on some of the content. Something we should really think about in order to welcome in a new event. A lot of the negative publicity came before the event form the actual launch of the schedule that included a lot of guests that didn’t fit our particular vision and perspective of what CC should be focusing on. This came from “our group”. People with expectations, and a set view of what Comic Con should focus on based on the years of events they have been hosting.
Youtubers, eSport, Games had gotten a pretty sizeable set of focus, and that didn’t sit well with us. So as everyone on the internet knows, we headed to hit the drums and proclaim on the facebook page that this is not what “we” want. This is where it is very important to remember that a lot of us saw Comic Con as part of MCM with years of experience, and a part of the Nordic franchise which has held events in the nordics before.
As such the organizers decide what they want to create and they went with partnering with GameStop Expo which I attended last year and that made huge sense. The guest base is the same, and the events compliment each other a lot, especially for the fanbase. This made perfect sense. They have a great gaming partner, and that would fill half the event, and their event last year was super cool. From here on in we were hoping that Game Stop would focus on games, and Comic Con, on Comics, Guests, and content for the geek community. Here is where views split. New visitors with no expectations, were fine with the content brought in by Comic Con, but the rest of us felt like our entire fanbase was being ignored?
A very well respected event manager from Denmark, Johnny Skov wrote his reasonings to what his perspective was, and I agree on all points. Here is his take on things.
Try to enjoy it for what it is though. GameStop is almost never open to anyone but GameStop employees. You get to see games before their release and even talk to a developer or two. You get to have fun with activities in the gaming area. You ALSO get to meet fellow cosplayers, meet artists and famous actors, alas it might not be lead characters. You get to see a cosplay show and attend the panels.
What is there not to like? Did people expect this to be San Diego? I really think people got a lot more for their money here than in Malmö, so who are all the angry people? The only thing I REALLY didn’t like was having to stand in line for fucking 40 minutes to buy a drink and a sandwich.
I think it explains very well the way we should look at Comic Con Denmark. It’s the first time, in and they were hooking up with an already proved and tried event that filled a lot of the content space. The thing is a lot of the people behind CC Copenhagen are new. It’s a Franchise and as such they need to learn about their community.
The slight focus on games from the Comic Con side of the event seemed to overpower the simple lack of Comic content, events, and activities that were in many peoples eyes their responsibility to provide. They did however do what they could to help bring in the Danish community on this with content for Cosplay!
They contacted J-popcon and Lea Olsen took charge of a lot of hard work to get that segment going, getting a huge international qualifier event going and making sure that everyone had a good time as far as Cosplay goes and making sure that the event was cosplay friendly. This was a great move. They were just missing that kind of community contact with the people events such as Copenhagen Comics, and this is the main community that know and wants a Comic Con type event in Denmark. The message of the event was lost based on what they were posting on their facebook page.
I am sure that they worked as much as they could to get some Marvel Artists to the event, but I think with more time things will get better.
We needed more of this contribution and community outreach in my eyes. Like the great guys at Faraos, Fantask, or Copenhagen Comics, that have a vast network that could have helped!
The entire problem comes down to how they message got put out there. The way I interpret it is that Cosplay went well, because they had established and well versed cosplay organizers in the form of J-popcon and especially the work of Lea Olsen hosting it, so the content, was clean, understandable, and this is why there were at all even that many cosplayers at the event. Their brand, and approval made a lot of people feel much more comfortable and happy to come out. Then there were all the other people that felt they finally found a great convention to cosplay at outside of the usual places in Denmark which is amazing. This is a pro.
The con is when the organizers asked directly on the page “who do you want us to invite, and what kind of content”, and it showed a sense that the organizers might have lacked the understanding of the fan base in Denmark. It’s also fair to attribute this to trying to appease the fan content, but almost none of the comments in that post were addressed. This led people into having some pretty “hefty” opinions on the matter stating that the organizers probably didn’t know what they were going for. And I for one agree. There was a lack of listening, trying, and replying.
Making sure that the convention guests, understood that this was a first time event in Denmark, because for some when you brand MCM Comic Con, it should feel like the organizers should know what they are doing. This is however not how the organization is built up, and that is one of the main problems. The event was sold as MCM Comic Con & GameStop Expo. So people were expecting MCM Comic Con level content. I feel like I have to repeat that a few times, since that message isn’t getting through to some.
Like Kimberley put in my post just now, This isn’t the first time the group behind Comic Com MCM in the Nordics are organizing this. They did Malmö the year before, and they do Stockholm Gamex/Comic Con. So they have had three events under the belt so far, but with different community organizers, and different head organizers, so thats why the events swing so much in their content quality. However they professed, this was Comic Con, and this is what people expected. This is why so many of us hold it to such high standards.
Nerd rage is a horrible thing. We should all just appreciate that they are doing something in Denmark and support them tbh. However some semblance of understanding both ways is allowable. We know they are new to the scene here, but when you brand something Comic Con, especially the MCM brand, you should know what’s up. Still lets al try to stay positive. I for one am just happy that someone tried, I however disagree on various parts of how the event was handled, but it’s their event to handle. The reason I am making this post is that hopefully someone will read it and try to address some of the issues.
Needless to say, this is the first time the event came to pass, and we can only hope that they will work at it. There were other problems with the event, that I see as establishing pains, that affected the event, but were acceptable. Autograph signings had some hickups with having to wait in individual lines for individual actors, that pained some on the posts as read on the comic con copenhagen facebook page. And even a pair that had to leave without their autograph because they had to catch their flight home after waiting hours for a print.
However it seems that a lot of experience came just from the first day, as some issues were addressed immediately. All in all I think that it’s fair to give an event the chance to hit the ground and build from there. Everyone should have a chance, and I think that one of the reasons I and others have been so vocal on their page, is that the perspective, and branding as Frederik put it, leads a lot of people to have a lot of different perspectives on what that event should look like in their eyes.
Now I just think we should appreciate the hard work that was put into the event, and that a lot of people did have a great time at the event, and if you are genuinely annoyed or feel horrible about the event you shouldn’t just whine about it, even like I did. (Which was just stating the obvious). For me a Comic Con without any Comic Guests, is just wrong. And this is why I didn’t go. I felt it was a money grab, and that the organizers behind the event don’t care about the community.
However since they are a commercial convention, their interest is of course to cater to the community that pays to come, and in that interest I am sure that they will do everything they have to do in order to improve their message, content, and communication in the future.
I am just happy for their sake that they held the event in Denmark, which hasn’t had this kind of event before. The same thing happened in Stuttgart as here, and that event was a complete disaster. I love the fact that CC through MCM is in Denmark. I felt like I had to address some of the issues, but I feel for one that I forgot to address all the positive aspects of the event.
For inexperienced convention goers this event is a great place to go, there is plenty of content, and they have a lot of unique content as well. However I feel that the need to address credit has to go a bit farther if the event wants to continue good standing with some people. Cosplay was organized by Lea Olsen, and J-popcon, and in many posts this wasn’t even mentioned. The community for cosplay in Denmark is tightly knit, so crediting volunteers for their hard work, is a must!
Cosplay was awesome, families had great experiences, and the video games were boss. I guess in the future more effort has to go into the guests, and the content that the event gets. It’s the start of the event so we have to give them a chance. I for one will try to be less biased, and give the event a shot next year. All in all I think a lot of people had a great event.
I just hope they get their message on point. They have set their standard, and expectations have been engrained in the community that attended first year. Let’s see how it goes next year yeah?
Let me know if this is something you agree on for the future in the comment section.