RealmsCon is currently Corpus Christi’s only major geek convention and is in its sixth year of bringing anime, horror and sci-fi fun to the Sparkling City By The Sea. I heard somewhere that the con’s original intent was to have the different “realms” of geekdom in one con, but over the years, it appears to have morphed into yet another anime con, or at least that is what it felt like last year. Michael Berryman, Irwin Keys, Jonathan Joss, Elektra Knight, Steve Blum and James O’Barr were some of the big name guests for 2010, so it looks as if RealmsCon is trying to get back to its roots and have a little something for everyone.
In contrast to the cramped hallways of the Holiday Inn Emerald Beach last year, RealmsCon was held within the spacious confines of the American Bank Center. The American Bank Center was a great location with plenty of room for everything. There were a few minor hiccups, such as some power problems on Friday, and a few complaints about the air conditioner making things a little too cool, but overall the venue was great.
I was once again manning the First Storm Manga table, handing out copies of our 3rd manga compilation and talking to folks about our group. Attendance at RealmsCon appeared to be good, there were plenty of people there, many in all of their costumed splendor. I can’t really say much about my own experience, having spent most of it at our table in Artist Alley, but the attendees and guests I spoke with were very complimentary, and I had a good time as well.
My only complaint would have to be in regards to communication: we were originally told that Artist’s Alley would be shutting down at 8 on Friday, so we closed things down for the day and went for a bite to eat. Upon coming back, we were told by friends that Artist’s Alley was to remain open until 3AM. That would have been a good thing to know ahead of time, especially for my artist friends who probably missed out on some sales. Their website has also been a mess for quite a few weeks now, but that’s neither here nor there. The con itself was a lot of fun and I will be coming back next year.
Realms Con was great this year. Artist's Alley was large but I didn't really see too much traffic. The Artist’s Alley stretched alongside the viewing room, haunted house and one panel room. These features weren't major draws unless people are browsing the alley after visiting the rest of the con. The top floor above us was filled with the Dealer’s room, video game room and additional panel rooms. So the upstairs had more traffic while Artist’s Alley was tucked away to the side.
As for the guests this year, in my opinion, it was great to see people that were outside of the circle of anime voice actors. They had live-action actors or "Real Actors” as I would call them. Michael Berryman and Irwin Keyes even browsed Artist’s Alley. Jonathan Joss and Elektra Knight were very visible the whole con. This was despite Elektra having to do double duty, as she was also appearing at the nearby car show as well as being at her con booth. Steve Blum and Greg Ayres were two folks that I didn’t see at all the entire time I was at the con. Most of my time I spent in Artist's Alley, so I couldn't say whether or not they were there at all.
One of my biggest complaints about the guest list last year was that it was filled with what I called: "people dragged off of the street" that were given guest status. This year they filled their bios with past events and remarkable things that some of those people had done, which made me feel better about seeing those "cosplay guests" again.
As for the con itself: the planning could have been handled a little better. I heard lots of stories from people trying to set up panels that never received word back on whether or not anything was happening until it was too late. It seemed like they were scrambling for time at the end because every panel was given a two hour block. Those are a few kinks that I hope will be ironed out for next year. Realms Con has always been a blast for me and I hope to see it improve more next year.
- Chris Holm