Ace Comic Con Take 2

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flarrow17
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Ace Comic Con Take 2

Post by flarrow17 » January 15th, 2018, 8:29 pm

This weekend I went to Ace's second con in Arizona. By now everyone knows about the Chris Evans fiasco, but I'll start from the beginning.

The con started off very well. You could tell that Ace had learned from the mistakes in Long Island so the check in process for VIPs was much more smooth. They had early check-in for VIPs at a Dave and Busters next door on Friday afternoon to try to reduce the crowd size, but I didn't get into town early enough for that. They also learned from the Justice League panel mess, so they put the Captain America panel as the first thing Saturday morning and had VIP check in starting 3 whole hours before that. My biggest problem with Ace is that pretty much everyone has some type of VIP, and there are so many VIPs for each group, that VIP basically means nothing.

Anyways, I walked by the venue at around 8am on Saturday just to see how they were setting up and there were already over 50 people in line at the check in gate. Check in didn't begin until 9:30 and the Captain America panel wasn't until 12:30...I went to get some breakfast and then decided to join the line. At around 9 they started letting all the people who had gotten all their stuff at Dave and Busters the day before, which kinda sucked for me because now all those people were ahead of me in line. Then at 9:30 they started all the other people with celeb VIPs through security. This time they had all the bags pre-made and there were like 10 check-in stations, so the process was very smooth and quick. They then directed everyone to this courtyard where they lined up people by first and second seating based on what VIP you had. I guess they just assumed that everyone who got theses packages wanted to go to the panel, which was the case for most, but I heard a few people say that they hadn't planned on going to the panel.

After the panel, I went to get my autographs. My first auto was Chris Evans and the arena staff, like LI, had no idea how to separate the different VIP groups. So, even though the autograph schedule had blocks for the different VIP levels, basically everyone just went to the earliest time. It worked out for me though and I was done within 30 minutes of sitting down. Later in the day though, by the time I got to Tom Holland's auto, everyone had been informed and different VIP groups were being separated.

I think the only great thing about Ace being in arenas is that you can sit in the sections while waiting for autographs rather than be crammed standing in those cattle lines at convention centers. For this one though, they chose to have the autographs in the 200 level of the arena, which meant the the seats in the sections were very steep and there was barely room to walk. One of the volunteers in directing traffic in the Evans area actually fell and rolled down two rows of seats.

For photo ops though, the arena did not work. Unlike LI where the photo ops were in a different wing, the photo ops here were lined up at one end of the floor of the arena, and the actual booths were through kind of a tunnel to the service area of the arena. This made the lighting really dim and kinda weird for the pictures. The entrance to the line up area was right by a row of vendors, which coupled with the metal detectors just made that area a mess. Also, the sales and redemption area was tiny compared to what Celeb Photos has, so that line spilled onto the floor too.
However, they did drastically improve this on Sunday. They had the overflow for the sales and redemption line sit in the stands on one side to wait, and they had everyone who was waiting for a photo op sit in the stands on the other side to wait. They would call a specific photo op with a megaphone and only then were the people in the stands allowed to line up for security. This was a great idea and drastically cut down the time it took to get through the metal detectors.

I still think it's completely stupid that after pre-buying photos and autos, I have to go wait in another line to change them to cards. But other than that, day 1 went fine for me and I got autographs from Chris Evans and Tom Holland, their dual photo, and a photo with Sebastian Stan.

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Day 2 is when everything went to shit. The email went out that Chris Evans was sick and that his availability was "uncertain". (Actually earlier in the morning it was announced that Karl Urban cancelled due to illness but everyone forgot about that after the Evans situation.) All of Evans' autographs and solo ops were "on hold" and the group ops would continue. If he missed them but came back later, you would get a solo op with him. Well all that went out the door because he then cancelled completely. All of a sudden you just saw this mass of people rush the Celeb Photo Ops sales booth. Basically, in the message that was sent and announced, if you had a Chris solo op or VIP, you could exchange that for a Tom Holland photo op. For the group VIPs you would get the group photo without Chris and get a partial refund. However, there was no mention about the dual ops or what to do if you didn't want the Tom Holland solo op.

I did exchange a solo Evans op for a Tom Holland photo, and they were using Karl Urban cards for this exchange. I originally had a Karl Urban op, which was refunded when he cancelled earlier, but I still had the card, so I was able to mooch an extra Tom Holland op. (also poor Tom now had double the number of photos to do after doing photos for 4 straight hours on Saturday). After that photo I went to deal with the mess that was customer service to try to get my money back for the dual ops I had. The line was well over 100 people long, but I met up with someone I knew who was near the front and it still took me close to an hour. The photo op refunds were actually much simpler because they were bought online and the guy could just refund my purchases, but for people who wanted parts of their VIP refunded, they would have to be MAILED A CHECK!
Anyways I had a Hayley Atwell/Chris Evans op, and I was just going to get the solo Hayley and the partial refund, but the guy told me it would be easier to just refund that op and buy a solo Hayley. Well I went back to Celeb Photo Ops and they wouldn't sell me the solo Hayley because "her solo time slot had passed". wtf.... well after much arguing I took a staff member with me to the guy at customer service who was like "you couldn't just give the poor girl a Hayley photo!?!" He was pissed off and said that "someday Chris Evans is going to discover customer service". But he gave just gave me my card back and crossed off Chris so I kinda mooched the Hayley solo op as well.

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All in all it was pretty hectic, but I'm glad I got the Chris Evans stuff I really cared about done on Saturday. Also added Tom Holland to my Avengers poster and I'm gonna try to see if the artist can add parts of Agent Hill, Vision, and Spider-man to the piece. Hopefully I can add Chris Hemsworth's auto someday to finish it up.

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By how Saturday went, I think Ace really improved and learned from their mistakes from Long Island. This con had the potential to be really smooth and if it had been, I think there would have been a really good chance of another Ace con. But, they must've lost at least 100k on Sunday so I'm not sure if Ace is done.


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oldschoolwwwf
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Re: Ace Comic Con Take 2

Post by oldschoolwwwf » January 15th, 2018, 10:46 pm

You definitely lucked out getting him on Saturday! That poster is awesome. Another great convention experience for you!

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Btvsp3
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Re: Ace Comic Con Take 2

Post by Btvsp3 » January 15th, 2018, 10:47 pm

Yeah I was reading on Facebook the shitstorm when Chris Evans cancelled. Great photos! I hope they come back next year.
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WOODMO
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Re: Ace Comic Con Take 2

Post by WOODMO » January 16th, 2018, 8:20 am

Excellent photos! Glad you had as good of an experience as possible.

The mailed a check thing is amazing and quite bad. I wouldn’t be holding my breath though

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Greg2600
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Re: Ace Comic Con Take 2

Post by Greg2600 » January 16th, 2018, 9:41 am

Well glad that you got most of what you paid for. Great report, and read, since most of us were not going. I'm not sure I would have been able to handle more ineptitude within a month later. Photos are great, that signed piece is superb, though I don't know about adding characters to it, doesn't seem to be any room.

PS: My GOODNESS Ms. Atwell!!!
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Cozmik
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Re: Ace Comic Con Take 2

Post by Cozmik » January 16th, 2018, 10:50 am

Great pictures. Glad you got Evans while you could. I really don't think he enjoys doing cons and is not likely to do many, if any, in the future.

flarrow17
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Re: Ace Comic Con Take 2

Post by flarrow17 » January 16th, 2018, 2:42 pm

Thanks guys!
WOODMO wrote:
January 16th, 2018, 8:20 am
The mailed a check thing is amazing and quite bad. I wouldn’t be holding my breath though
Yea people were like how do we know you're going to mail it, and the customer service guy said you're just gonna have to trust me...
Greg2600 wrote:
January 16th, 2018, 9:41 am
Well glad that you got most of what you paid for. Great report, and read, since most of us were not going. I'm not sure I would have been able to handle more ineptitude within a month later. Photos are great, that signed piece is superb, though I don't know about adding characters to it, doesn't seem to be any room.
I'm thinking there's possibly room for two on the sides, but if not I'm happy with it as is. I contacted the artist and he said he would try out some digital mockups

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MrTonyRuben
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Re: Ace Comic Con Take 2

Post by MrTonyRuben » January 16th, 2018, 10:42 pm

Great photos as always!

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class316
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Re: Ace Comic Con Take 2

Post by class316 » January 16th, 2018, 11:38 pm

Wow. Goes to show you that when it comes to this even guarantees are not a guarantee.
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