Detroit Fanfare: Go. Or You'll Seriously Miss Out.

by Wombatapult on October 28, 2013


Detroit Fanfare Comic Con is fun for the whole family, and there's a ton of stuff to do there, and blah blah blah. We know the advertizing spiel.

But we're fanboys and fangirls, geeks and nerds. We want to know on our own terms that it's a good convention because advertizing consistently fails us in the real world.

Let me reassure you: I am a true nerd. I have a comic collection spanning decades, a legionnaire ring, and a poster of the Fantastic Four hanging in my bedroom. And Detroit Fanfare Comic Con is more than I expected, everything I wanted it to be, and everything a local con needs.

Firstly, for a smaller convention there was a huge amount of energy. Co-founder and co-promoter Dennis Barger and media contact Larry Poupard generated a huge buzz of excitement leading into the three-day show, and the passionate enthusiasm of the independent writers, artists and publishers present was tangible from beginning to end.

Of course, a con is only as good as its guests. Fortunately, the guests were fantastic. The celebrity guests from every corner of the convention were as engaging, genuine and friendly as anyone could hope for, and the unique floor setup generated constantly moving traffic that made them perfectly accessible. If lines formed, they were never long. The impressive media guest list included fan favorites such as John DiMaggio, Brian O'Halloran, Billy West, Chris Yost, Esme Bianco, Dan Fogler, Tyler Mane, and many more. The cast of comic book guests included industry favorites like Ryan Stegman, Whilce Portacio, Jamal Igle, Ethan Van Sciver, John Ostrander, Norm Breyfogle, Jeff Smith, Keith Pollard, Eric Powell, and honestly too many more to name. So many of these guests were willing to just sit and chat, which made the atmosphere that much more electric as fans got up close and personal with creators they admired.

Another essential part of conventions is buying a bunch of cool crap you don't need, and Detroit Fanfare's merchants did not disappoint. There were a wealth of different exhibitors and vendors offering great prices on merch, memorabilia and (most importantly) books. Loads of comic stores and collector's shops were represented, many of which had longboxes full of fifty-cent comics that would sell elsewhere for far more. I bagged a few great pieces for my own collection, paying pennies on the dollar.

There were great events for people who get bored with hall-wandering, and the Zombie Walk, Convention Party and numerous panels and workshops offered a splash of variety to the show. Of particular interest was the Blood 4 Comics blood drive, sponsored by the American Red Cross and generating generous donations. A 24-hour video game room gave the more game-inclined con-goers a respite from the largely comics-focused convention halls, and several advanced showings of new movies and shows gave attendees a chance to be entertained without so much walking. There was the obligatory midnight showing of Rocky Horror, Sci-Fi Speed Dating, auctions, raffles, and the Shel Dorf Industry Awards for renowned creators and publishers.

Everyone present seemed to agree that the sense of fellowship and camaraderie was high—the openness and availability to chat with famous and established artists, writers, actors and publishers was fantastic, and the visible optimism and heartfelt enthusiasm of the independent and newly discovered creators was contagious. In every respect, this was a convention worth attending. I hope to see you there next year.