It was a drizzling Saturday morning as I joined the line standing the length of Dave & Buster’s at The Outlets of Orange on January 23rd. While the weather may have been uncooperative, it was, however, an auspicious start marking my first comic book convention of 2016. Organized by local comic book store Phat Collectibles and Toys, it was my third time attending this annual free one-day event.
The guest of Honor was artist Rob Liefeld, known for his work on Deadpool, Cable, and X-Force, and he was joined by fifty writers, artists, vendors, and cosplay associations representing established and rising talent in the industry that included Shannon Eric Denton, DJ Kirkbride, Tom Hodges, Ron Joseph, and Tanya Bjork, just to name a few. With that many guests, the con spread across a handful of dining areas and filled the banquet room. Although a small con, they had lots of freebies and a costume contest, and Dave & Buster’s had food and drink. And, while Liefeld had a long line during his hours of appearance, attendees were definitely making the rounds, and, at various times, it seemed that most of the booths were engulfed with fans looking over the wares and making purchases.
The first year I attended this con, which was held in just the banquet room, I waited for well over an hour to get in. Last year, the con expanded into the two areas, decreasing the wait time by half, but this year my wait was perhaps 15 minutes. I think there were still the same amount of attendees; the organizers figured out a better way to manage the lines, and it worked well this time.
What I really like about this con is that it has a laid-back, positive, and hometown friendliness about it. It’s a great way to ease back into the con schedule and chat with con friends I haven’t seen since Stan Lee’s Comikaze last autumn. The Dave & Buster’s staff were friendly and attentive, and I cannot lie – I love that I didn’t have a long drive!