This weekend a multitude of nerds, geeks, and fans of comics and pop culture converged on the Stockton Downtown Arena for the third annual Stockton-Con. An event gaining so much momentum (and at a neck breaking pace) that they had to add a second day.
My Saturday started in a line, a very long line stretching about 80% of the way around the arena. The line eventually got so long that organizers had to start wrapping it back the other way around the building. Once the doors opened it only took us about 20 minutes to be admitted to the show. Not bad at all.
Now that you’re in, the show is laid out like this; collectables dealers and artists on the main floor, additional vendors and gaming on the outer ring, and celebrities and clubs are on the second floor. Every bit of space is spoken for. Panels are held at the hotel next door. Is it possible that this show has already outgrown its digs the second time at this location? I believe so.
I honestly thought that the event being two days would mean I’d have the place to myself on Sunday afternoon. Not so! The event felt just as busy the second day as the first. Also, I noticed a lot of half empty tables Sunday. I take that to mean vendors sold more than anticipated.
With bullet points, here are some of my favorite things this year:
- Anchor Comics booth (The Original & Redshift)
- ECV Press booth (Union St Choir)
- Todd Bridges (actor)
- 501st (Star Wars club)
- Angus Oblong (artist and creator of The Oblongs)
- Ramon Villalobos (Marvel Comics Artist)
- Loaded nachos (so tasty)
- A portion of the organizer’s proceeds go to charity
Stockton has been on the receiving end of a lot of bad press lately. Crime, home foreclosures, and a recent bank robbery that ended tragically have all garnered national attention. Although people would love to define Stockton’s residents and lowlifes and criminals, events like Stockton-Con prove otherwise. This weekend I saw thousands of fans, families, small business owners, and friends all bound together by a mutual love of comics and pop culture. This is what Stockton, once the crash site of the Fantastic 4, should be known for.