Worst Convention Experiences?

We all love going to conventions. Part of the fun is getting to meet artists and writers you’ve always wanted to meet or hang out with fellow fans. Sometimes you’ll have an experience that isn’t great. It happens to all of us. I was just wondering what are some of your worst convention experiences?

I remember in 2002 I went to a convention in Madison Square Garden. It was really nice, actually. Jim Aparo was one of the people who was going to be there and I was excited to meet him because while I’m a Superman fan, his take on Batman is MY comic version of Batman.

As expected, his line was long. In front of me was a gentleman with a cart full of comics. When he approached Mr. Aparo, I thought he was going to take one or two comics out from the cart. He proceeded to take the entire stack out and plop it onto the table. He also didn’t say hello to Mr. Aparo. He just started taking comics off the top of the pile and putting them in front of him to sign. When he did speak to him it was “Sign here, please” or “Sign in the corner” To Mr. Aparo’s credit, he signed every book for the guy…I wouldn’t have. I’d have told him there was a limit or something. When the large pile was signed the guy put the comics back in his cart and didn’t even say thank you.

When I finally got to him, he asked me if he could have a minute or two because his wrist was hurting. Mind you, he was getting up there in age at this point. I said sure and used the pause to have a small conversation with him. When he was ready to sign, I had three items with me. To be honest, I felt kind of like a hell having that many but he was a class act and was glad to sign them. I made sure to say thank you to him not only for doing that but also for his time.

Why is this one of my worst convention experiences if it turned out okay? It was the first time I saw how rude some people can really be when meeting someone. You just know this guy was going to sell these on ebay and him not acknowledging Mr. Aparo in a polite and respectful way really got to me. That guy is the reason why when I meet someone I make sure I start up a conversation, I always say thank you and I always ask if they could sign it to me.

How about you all?

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How could someone not be polite to Jim Aparo? I’d have shaken his hand and thanked him for his dedication to a wonderful artform.

Some people.

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It’s what made the experience so baffling. Mr. Aparo was such a nice man. It doesn’t take a lot to say thank you…especially when you shove a literal stack of comics in front of him to sign.

I appreciate conventions these days that put a limit on how many items you can have signed. It’s considerate to the other people waiting in line but it’s also hilarious to see the people who bring tons of comics for one person to sign get upset. I remember when I went to meet Scott Snyder a few years back and they told the line only three items per person, and this guy in line looked pissed. He shouted “This is ridiculous! This is our livelihood!” The line promptly laughed and he didn’t say a word after that.

That person strikes me as the type who has a better understanding of comics than they do in interacting with other people and how to be tactful and professional in doing so.

I wonder what Aparo thought of him.

I don’t even want to know what Aparo thought of him. It couldn’t have been good.

Vroom, do you have any bad convention experiences?

Yeah I think that person just didn’t really know how to interact with others although I think its a bit rude to ask someone to sign a whole boatload of things at a con when there’s a line waiting. I only ever take one item when I’m planning on standing in a line for autographs because I know there will be other people waiting for the same. Its called common courtesy.

Probably the worst thing to happen to me at a con was of a more personal nature. I’d been walking around a con for several hours and my bad leg was acting up really badly because it had been stationary for the ten hours prior while driving to get to the con. So I did what I normally do whenever my leg starts to act up which is to find an out of the way piece of floor where there is minimal foot traffic and sit down with my leg stretched out for a few minutes until it stops hurting or until the muscles loosen enough to allow me to move on.

I had just done so and was massaging my knee when a con staffer stomped over to my out of the way corner and yelled at me to get a move on because I’d already been sitting there an hour. I looked at him and told him no I’d just sat down there two seconds ago and that I had done so because I needed to rest leg, which had a host of problems. I even went so far as to say that’s why I had picked this out of the way place to sit for a moment until my leg stopped acting up.He told me to get up right now or he’d kick me out of the con.

Not wanting to argue I got slowly to my feet and limped on but as if the above wasn’t enough already as I was passing he snidely said to a group of other staffers “have you ever seen such a fake limp in your life”. I turned to him then and said “excuse me but I really do have an old but still serious leg injury and it really does require me to stretch out my leg periodically when doing strenuous activity. So next time try treating others with a little common decency. I will be reporting you to the con com.” I did so right after.

Good for you! Sometimes staff can be a pain at conventions, especially the bigger ones where they hire whoever they can to help, but by that same token they hire ANYONE to help. And this person should’ve been more compassionate, staff or not.

@superby1 No, no bad con experiences for me. Last con I went to was a Star Trek one in the spring of 1996.

I just chimed into the thread because I adore Jim Aparo (my favorite Batman artist) and was irked that someone could be less than polite to him.


There are not a ton of cons around here and even fewer big cons. So I have not met a lot of comic book creators and the few I have had the chance to meet have been positive experiences.

But back in around 1996, when conventions were not what they are now at least in most places, a local comic shop and a toy and action figure shop teamed up with some others to throw a sci-fi and comic book convention. And while I have no doubt they tried to throw something special, they were clearly in over their head.

The building they were having it in opened up like 2 hours after they said for dealers to get set and over half of them got mad and left before then, so only like 1/3 of the dealers that were supposed to be there were so the dealer floor was like a dying ghost town. And of the guest a couple comic book artist were there (don’t ask me who, I long ago forgot) an actress from Babylon 5 who I didn’t know because I don’t watch it, someone from the original Battlestar Galactica and a couple actors from Star Trek: Voyager were on the list to appear… none of them showed up except for the Battlestar Galactica actress. Don’t remember what supposedly happened to the cmic book creators but the actors all got their tickets but never showed up something with the airline I guess. The convention was set for two days and a banquet… they cancelled it before the first day was up and said they would refund the tickets… they never did or at least I as far as anyone I know who went they never got it back.

Both stores throwing it closed within a year and while I got no proof that had anything to do with it, I do know me and my friends who went never got our refund for the second day (given what they gave us vs what they advertised think we should have been refunded for the whole thing, but not surprisingly they didn’t.) A lady I work with’s teenage daughter apparently paid for the whole 2 days and the banquet with her own money and her mom was livid and said she drove down the the con and went off on the guy throwing it when her daughter came home early the first day and told her what happened.

Bad deal all around. Sad thing was I honestly think the people throwing it wanted to give a good convention and try to get Oklahoma City on the map, but the road to hell and all that. They just got to ambitious too fast.

I cosplayed as Arkham Origins Joker a couple years back. This teen dressed as Batman kept sneaking up behind me throughout the con and putting me into chokeholds and it was seriously not cool. The first time was annoying, but I almost lost my mind the second time he did it. He was ruining my makeup and getting it all over his own costume, so I have no idea why he was a repeat offender.

Needless to say, it peeved me off so much that I’m cosplaying as Red Lantern Guy Gardner this year at NYCC.


@Dan Wow. That’s insane the celebrities did a no show. It sounds like the con was built on good intentions, but yea, the people running it were in over their head. It’s a shame because some of my favorite conventions are the smaller ones.

@Matt Wow! That is so uncool of that guy. Seriously, how did he think that was okay? Sorry you had to go through that.

The worst comic con experience I ever had (New York Comic Con 2011) has less to do with the con itself (which was great!) than the insane flu/cold I got after the fact and the full mug of scalding hot tea I spilled in my lap while trying to recover.

@ThedemonEtrigan Getting con-sickness afterwards is the worst! I guess with so many people in one spot, germs are gonna spread quicker.

I got a bad cold a few years ago at New York Comic Con. It was a Sunday and for some reason they put a barricade at the entrance which is normally a wide open space to walk to the tap-in area. Since fewer people could get in, a line formed…a line which wrapped around the Javitz twice. Imagine being out there but also when it’s cold and starting to rain. It was ridiculous.

I feel your pain!

Thankfully, I never had a bad experience at a con! :grin:

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Fortunately there are a few things you can do to reduce the risk of con crud.

  1. Get a flu shot at least a week to ten days before you go.

  2. Make sure you eat and drink regularly and try to bring some fruit (apples are great) because it provides both vitamins and calories.

  3. wash your hands before you eat anything.

  4. Fist bump your favorite creators instead of shaking hands (I got this one from Jim Zub)

  5. Carry some zinc lozenges (cold-eeze or a generic brand) and start taking them if you begin to feel something coming on.

  6. Take at least one shower daily and change your clothes every day.

What makes a fist bump better than a handshake?