illmindz was at the Raleigh Supercon on July 15th, 2017 and we had a blast. The event was held at the beautiful Raleigh Convention Center in Raleigh, North Carolina. Attendees buzzed around the building taking pictures of the many great cosplayers, celebrities, and merchandise booths that filled the main room and trickled throughout. We managed to get a few autographs and a picture with Austin Tindle of Tokyo Ghoul fame. There were many great independent artists showcasing their work; Most notable for us was the team behind Tuskegee Heirs.
As we walked through the main room we came across Greg Burnham who took the time to tell us about this exciting project and immediately, we were hooked. If you haven’t had a chance to check them out, I highly recommend you do ASAP!
Food onsite looked good; I say looked because the lines were too long to bear and from what we were able to overhear, the food was actually prepared in another area of the convention center and brought down to the main hall therefore, when a particular stand ran out of food, they had to wait for a runner to come down with more food. That, along with the long lines, and hiccups at the registers forced us to go outside of the convention center for food. Luckily there is a McDonalds about 2 blocks away where we were able to grab a quick bite and head back to the Supercon.
Aside from the merchandise booths that filled the main room, there were several Q & A sessions, conferences, game rooms, and even a manga library available. We grabbed a seat for the Q & A sessions with Justin Roiland (Rick and Morty) and one with Allen Bellman (Timely Comics/ Marvel Comics). Justin Roiland answers questions from many fans anxious to know what his favorite episode was, which character is the most challenging to voice, and would he be willing to go on an adventure with Rick in real life. As you can imagine, the session was hilarious. Allen Bellman shared his testimony of how he got his start in the comic book business. He explained that as a youth his father always encouraged and supported him in his career as a comic book illustrator. He gave us a bit of insight into the character of a young Stan Lee and urged us all to honor and respect each other.
In the main hall we pre-purchased tickets to have professional pictures taken with Ric Flair as well as a duo picture with LeVar Burton (Geordi Laforge-Star Trek The Next Generation) and Brent Spiner (Data – Star Trek The Next Generation). While we enjoyed meeting these great individuals. the experience of waiting in line to take the picture and waiting in line for the printed copy with rather poor. Apparently some of the photo ops took longer than expected which resulted in every other photo op being delayed, causing the lines to be incredibly long. Things became particularly frustrating when we arrived one hour ahead of our scheduled time to make sure we got a good spot in line and we were told by convention staff that although we had gotten there early, they were going to allow all those that arrived after us to cut ahead of us to make sure they had their opportunity to have their picture taken with their favorite celebrity. The end result was that people that arrived late to their photo op were essentially fast passed to the front of the line for free, which is actually a privileged that Raleigh Supercon charged for on their website. The printed copies were handled in a very disorganized manner that descended into mayhem when one of the printers went down and people waited upwards of half an hour for their photo only to find the colors streaked. Luckily our photos came out decent enough however, streaking on the dark colors in the photo was easily noticeable; something that should not be acceptable at a paid photo op.
We ended the night attending the final cosplay contest where we witnessed many incredible cosplayers (many of which you’ll see in our highlight reel). Immediately after the cosplay contest we headed over to the adjacent room where Austin Tindle filled the room with laughs with his rendition of Shakespeare. This turned out to be the perfect way to end the night as at this point we were exhausted and decided to leave on this high note.
All told, I would say the Raleigh Supercon was a great event and we will definitely be going to the next one. To the first timers here’s a bit of advice; Take lots of pictures and video if possible. Cosplayers are nice people and most (if not all) will be more than happy to let you take their picture or even have your picture taken with them. Don’t be afraid to make friends and ask questions to fellow attendees, the people that attend these events are happy to be there and are typically excited to answer any questions about the event or their favorite comics/movies/anime/video games/etc. If you are interested in a professional photo op, be prepared to wait in line for an hour or more. Make sure you check the schedule before hand for any specific celebrities to wish to meet and get their autograph. I made the mistake of leaving my first issue of Tokyo Ghoul at home and was kicking myself when it came time to get Austin Tindle’s autograph. Lastly, dress comfortably, make a plan of the things you want to do at the event, and have fun!