Silicon Valley Comic Con is on March 18th – 20th at the San Jose Convention Center, around the same time last year when Big Wow Comicfest was held and that’s no coincidence. In true Valley fashion, the Silicon Valley Comic Con acquired Big Wow Comicfest, partly for their history of running and planning comic conventions and because they needed to secure a date and venue for the 3 day event. Even though Apple co-founder Steve Wozniack is only lightly involved in the planning, you can bet that his sphere of influence will resonate throughout the entire event. From special guests to technology themed panels, SVCC wants to differentiate itself from every other comic con in the world. The big question is whether or not con-goers will buy into it.
Having been to several cons the last few years, I’ve always felt Big Wow Comicfest lacked high production value. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a perfectly fine show, but smaller conventions in and around California seem to put more marketing promotion behind shows and put higher design quality of the convention floor. From the registration booths, to the floor design and presentation, it always looked bare to me. The fluorescent lights and low ceilings also tend to dull the colors and atmosphere. For perspective, I believe Stan Lee’s Comikaze to be the highest production value convention for a mid size con in California. Stockton Con, East Bay Comic Con and Sac Con are relatively small time events, but I never felt their size to be detrimental to the experience. They are always very lively, fun and run really well.
Big Wow Comicfest is supposed to be the big Comic Con in the Bay Area (note to CCI: bring WonderCon back to San Francisco!). Size wise, I feel it falls somewhere between Stockton Con and Comikaze down in LA. Maybe it’s a symptom of the size of the San Jose Convention Center, but the last time I attended, the con never felt full. For popular shows, I’m use to attendees waiting in huge lines outside to get in. Or tons of cosplayers doing their thing all weekend long. I never felt that vibe with Big Wow Comicfest. Hopefully Steve Wozniak and the Silicon Valley Comic Con team generated enough hype this past year to surpass all my expectations.
What makes Silicon Valley Comic Con different from every other con in the world is its emphasis on science and technology. There will actually be an App Alley where software developers will be able to showcase their apps, and it’s my understanding that all apps approved have some sort of pop culture connection. The current number of apps being showcased stands at 7 (as of this writing). Hopefully the next few weeks will bring in other developers. I expect App Alley to remain small for the first few years while the show tests its viability in a Comic Con. All that’s missing is the Startup Battlefield and Michael Arrington.
There will also be several technology and science emphasized panels. They have some local big names coming out – from Alphabet’s Astro Teller to NASA engineer Bobak Ferdowski. Mythbuster’s Adam Savage will also be participating which will certainly liven up any panel. They’ll touch on topics such as space exploration, gravitational waves and superbabies versus A.I. Check out the full official list http://svcomiccon.com/the-show/the-panels/.
All the traditional comic con activities will also be present. I suspect cosplay will be bigger than previous years due to the official contest on Saturday. Pop culture panels presented by creators, writers and artists should be familiar to all con-goers. A big pull this year is the appearance of the cast of Back to the Future and Stan Lee! Stan Lee autographs are first come, first serve and are $100 a pop. They’ll be working with Anastasia’s Collectibles. More infomation on the cgc board.
In my imagination, the show floor would look like a hybrid between Big Wow Comicfest and Techcrunch Disrupt. Obviously the production value should be significantly higher than any previous Big Wow Comicfests. I feel this is a big test on whether a big sized comic con can thrive in Silicon Valley. Will SVCC be the new SDCC? No. But if it can emulate Comikaze or WonderCon in Southern California, I’ll be a happy attendee for years to come. Visit the official site here: Silicon Valley Comic Con. We’ll also follow up this post with a cosplay round-up and thorough review after the con.
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