CONVENTION REVIEW: Terrificon 2017

Terrificon 2017 was held August 18, 19 and 20th at Mohegan Sun in Connecticut.  I had the pleasure of attending all three days and I’m happy to tell you that it’s one of the best comic conventions that I attend all year.

I will be up front with you and tell you that I don’t go to check out the vendors.  I don’t buy a lot of back issues anymore and have more than enough memorabilia of the hobby that I’ve never been able to give up.  What I do go for is the chance to rub elbows with the artists and writers that I’ve been fans of for over 40 years, the opportunity to meet and talk to celebrities and basically be with my people.  Comic book fans, superhero fans, art fans, cosplayers, autograph seekers and industry professionals all gathered together to revel in our own special brand of nerdom for a few hours.

For fans that have been to conventions before it’s worth talking about the venue.  Mohegan Sun does it right.  The convention area is large, but not TOO large, the aisles are wide enough for traffic to pass relatively easily, and most importantly, the entire area is carpeted.  After spending hours on my feet at Boston Comicon last week on the unforgiving cement, I was very happy for a little give.  The layout was for the most part well-planned out.  As soon as you enter, fans were greeted with a very Kirby-like sculpt of a menacing Galactus from the people at Decimated Designs, a company known for foam fabrication and makeup effects.  The entrance hallway was setup with tables for the celebrities to meet the fans.  Acting as emissary of the con with easily ten tables in between the entrance doors was the legendary Neal Adams.  I’ve met Neal before and we exchanged hellos all three days of the con and I found him to be very friendly and talkative, though salesy.  Definitely not the same experience I’ve heard he’s had with other fans.  At the end of the entrance hallway were tables set up for Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo, easily the biggest current names in the business.  Whenever they were at their tables their lines were very long with fans waiting for their books to be signed.  The celebs were here too and for the most part one handler and no security, making it very easy to approach and have a conversation.  I personally chatted with Chris Sullivan, Taserface from GotG2 and Stranger Things for a good 10 minutes on Friday with no one moving me along.  The more gracious celebs were Finn Jones and Jessica Henwick, both from Game of Thrones and Iron Fist, and Echo Kellum of Arrow who was seen several times over the weekend coming out from behind his table and just hanging out with people.

The main convention area was chock full of vendors selling everything from comics to t-shirts to shot glasses, and from the few I talked to business was very, very good.  The fans came and brought their wallets.  The back wall was lined with props from the ’66 Batman tv series such as the Batmobile, the Batcopter and the Batboat.  Adam West was originally billed to be at Terrificon along with Burt Ward and Lee Meriwether, but with his passing the con took on celebrating his life with Adam West con shirts and button giveaways with the bat insignia saying ‘Goodbye, old chum’ around the outside of the button.  As you could expect it was impossible to get close to either of them, as well as Dean Cain, unless you were willing to wait in the very long lines.

By far the biggest attraction in the main convention area (for me, anyway) was Artists Alley.  In my opinion the most active Alley out of any of the cons I’ve been to.  Huge name artists and writers from yesterday and today mingled in with up and coming independent creators and vendors selling original art.  Some of the names this year included Ron Lim making his first east coast appearance in over 20 years, Peter David, David and Meredith Finch, Mike Zeck, Sean Chen, Kurt Busiek, Steve Englehart, Paul Kupperberg, Barry Kitson, Kevin Maguire, Keith Giffen, Howard Chaykin, Joe St. Pierre, Roy Thomas and many, many more.

Upstairs was reserved for the panels, ‘kids-con’, professional cosplayer booths and on Friday and Saturday, the Jack Kirby museum was present.

If I were to have any criticisms on the con I would have to say they were a little disorganized.  Certain creators were moved from place to place between days, as well as the celebrities which made it a little confusing.  The guide that was in the convention book looked absolutely nothing like the actual layout as far as where creators were.  There were also a couple of artist no-shows which isn’t new to the convention scene.

Overall, this is my favorite convention to go to every year.  When you’re done if you’re not ready to go home you can go play some poker or hit the slot machines.  If you’re hungry you can go to one of the many restaurants on site.  If you’re thirsty there are plenty of places to get a drink and you never know who you might run into ( I bought drinks for Kurt Busiek and Steve Englehart one night, chatted with Roy Thomas another night).  And if you want to go all three days, you don’t even have to go home!  Just stay at the hotel which had semi-reasonable con rates.  Not at all reasonable if you don’t get the rate.

Overall I would give the con 4 out of 5 stars.

‘The Professor’ Bud Young

Host of No-Prize podcast

*A Very Special Shout Out and Thank You to Mitch Hallock and the amazing Terrificon team as well as the Mohegan Sun Staff!

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