Motor City Con is Michigan’s largest show and one of the top ten largest in the nation. This year’s show was highlighted with appearances by Comic Book legend Stan Lee and Norman Reedus, star of The Walking Dead. Other guests included Walter Koenig, Sean Patrick Flanery, Curtis Armstrong, Edward James Olmos, Casper Van Dien, Marina Sirtis, Robert Carradine, Lou Ferrigno, Eddie McLintock, Geroge Perez, Simon Bisley, Billy Tucchi and dozens of others. The show by far drew its biggest crowds in its 20+ year history. I have never heard an eruption of applause and cheers as I did when Stan Lee took the stage for a Q & A session with the fans. At age 90, Lee still has incredible energy…we should all be so fortunate. He entertained and held the assembled throng mesmerized in a way that few others can do.
The lines to meet Norman Reedus were massive. Fans waited as long as five hours to get The Walking Dead star’s autograph. Despite the long lines Reedus was engaging and gracious, hugging the women, shaking hands with the men, and high-fiving the kids. At the show’s scheduled end time of 6:00 on Saturday there were still about a hundred people in line, but Reedus continued to sign until everyone who was in line was taken care of which was past 7:00pm.
There were more cosplayers than I’ve seen at any previous MCCC and we’ve selected several below for you to check out. But the show also had its share of problems. While Friday was a breeze and came off without a hitch, Saturday, when Lee and Reedus appeared, was another story. With the large crowds came many complaints. The show’s organizers had touted that the long lines of last year’s show to purchase tickets would be alleviated with twice as many ticket sellers and the ability to purchase advance tickets online. With an advance ticket you could, presumably, walk right past the line and walk in. Such was not the case.
On Saturday show goers were treated to colossal backups on the I-96 Freeway, and Grand River Avenue, the main road leading to the Suburban Collection Showplace, the venue for the show. As I inched along in traffic, I saw people parking as far as two miles away and walking. Once getting into the lot and actually finding a parking spot, I was herded along with the rest of the fans to the back of the building instead of entering through the front as normal. I estimate that this was a good ½ mile to ¾ of a mile walk. Once there the fans’ anger began to boil over as advance ticket holders found themselves having to wait in line with people waiting to buy tickets. Now fortunately, I had a press pass so was able to walk right in.
Once you got closer to the entrance they finally separated the crowd into advance ticket holders and non-ticket holders, but even those with advance tickets waited anywhere from forty-five minutes to two hours to enter. This was the first hot weekend of the year in Michigan with temperatures into the low 80s and I heard several reports of people passing out in line. It’s clear that the show’s organizers were ill-prepared for the crowds and WAY oversold the show.
Inside, the lines were brisk for most of the guests with the exceptions of Lee and Reedus. Fans were treated to volunteer workers--who I firmly believe were off-duty prison guards--barking orders at fans in the areas around these two notable guests. But if you could put up with the lines on the road, waiting to get in, and inside, the MCCC does present a show with a diversified group of media and comics and an eclectic collection of dealers. But it’s painfully clear that the show needs major changes. Facebook lit up with complaints from fans, many vowing to never attend again. A larger venue with better parking is sorely needed if crowds like this become the norm.