Elite Con, will be held one day only, Sunday March 12 in Tampa FL, and it’s a little different, a a trade show/collectors event. It has many unusual features, as laid out on its website, and it fancies itself a bit of an upscale collector marketplace:
A Premium Collectibles Marketplace.
Are you an advanced collector of certified and raw comics, toys, Legos, Pops!, and pop-culture related artwork? Have you soured on attending modern “media-driven” conventions, because they often have too few of the quality items you are looking for? Do you enjoy the hassle of long lines, cosplayers, crowded aisles, and endless rows of stuff you have no interest in buying? Well, as collectors ourselves, we don’t either.
What if there was a convention where the vendors were hand-selected because of the quality of their merchandise? What if your collecting interests were known to those vendors ahead of time, so they could better tailor their show inventory to you? What if everyone in attendance was also a serious collector, with similar interests, and you were free to network, trade, buy, and sell with them?
‘What if’ is now ‘What is’……welcome to EliteCon.
Oh my! So Wimbledon Green!
Now if you read the above you may have noticed that among the hassles of comic cons, along with long lines and crowded aisles, they mentioned…cosplayers. Indeed Elite Con does not want cosplayers sullying its oh so refined atmosphere. In a now deleted post on FB, they came right out and said it:
After that post garnered hundreds of angry responses, it was deleted and a new statement put up:
OK, so as it appears the outcry will continue I want to consolidate to one post if you would please be so kind. While we continue to hope for a respectful dialogue it appears that may be asking too much based on many of the posts we have received. We do not wish to suppress your opinion of dissent, we only ask once again that you try and keep the comments civil.
Since we cannot respond to all of your posts individually just want to address some common themes that have come up. We are not trying to engage in argument but simply to clarify some points.
1. No offense was intended, plain and simple. We have not said one single derogatory word about cosplaying and any such negative inferences are inaccurate. We have many friends who cosplay ￼:)
2. Our show was named Elite “Con” meaning convention or gathering of people.
3. We have made it known since day one in our posts, videos and website that this would be an event focused solely on the collectibles and not cosplay, autographs or panels. So no deception there as suggested. No one needs a refund because it was made known right up front many months ago and many times since then.
4. While we appreciate the concern for low attendance, we are a small show in a small venue that could not hold all of you even if we were to have cosplaying. The larger conventions are better equipped to handle that volume of attendees and activities that are not vending related. Our show is focused on comics, action figures, lego, die-cast, funko pop and artwork. We honestly do not have anything in the way of cosplay vendors.
5. The “Elite” name is in reference to the collectibles. Not elitist even though that is convenient. Our show is designed for collectors who are seeking items they are not likely to find at a “flea market” “garage sale” and yes our dealers are regulating what they bring to meet a higher standard and at fair prices. We have posted hundreds of pictures and some videos to show attendees exactly what to expect. So again no deception here.
6. The people who have expressed interest in attending our show (a lot more now actually since this went kinda viral) generally like the idea of having the option to attend a non cosplay event and do not mean that as an insult to anyone. There are so many shows that do accommodate cosplay I am not entirely sure why so much backlash to just one that does not. To say that we cannot have an event called a “con” unless we have cosplay is debatable and we will agree to disagree here.
7. We have put together and worked very hard towards a show that we feel directly meets the requests of so many collectors that we have spoken to over the years. Our show is not about excluding anyone but if attire is paramount over the collectibles then we agree with you that this may not be a show you want to attend. It was not designed to simply draw large crowds there are shows for that. It is meant to service a specific niche of collector who sees the collectibles as paramount over the attire.
So, we know this breaks from all accepted conventional wisdom these days but that is our show and we hope those who attend will be pleased. One final note, and then the bashing can resume. A lot more bullying going on here than productive commentary. That is unfortunate. Best Regards to you all. We honestly mean no ill will to any of you. Even the bashers ￼:) By the way, love the memes!
While one appreciates the attempt to stand out in a very, very crowded con marketplace as a high end selling show, the claim that “We have not said one single derogatory word about cosplaying” would seem to be contradicted by calling them one of the “hassles” of going to cons.
As opined by Nerd & Tie, Elite Con was certainly in its rights to have a policy like that…as dumb as it is. Why would cosplayers WANT to go to a boring old selling show for items $50 and up only? By banning them outright, Elite Con created this whole uproar.
TCAF, one of the three greatest shows in North America, also discourages cosplayers, but for opposite reasons:
We don’t encourage cosplay for the safety of the cosplayers and the public. To make it as simple as possible, comic book conventions, regular comics events, are a ‘safe space’ for people to express themselves without fear of criticism or rejection. There’s a sort of mutally-agreed-upon pact between attendees, about “letting your freak flag fly” to use an olds expression. TCAF takes place in a public library, with a lot of people who don’t consider TCAF to be a comic convention (including me, including the public, including the thousand people there just to use the computers and check out books). There is no mutually agreed upon pact between attendees of TCAF and the members of the general public at the library that day, other than the general social contract that governs us all in our day to day… and that general social contract doesn’t make a lot of room for dressing as characters from comic books, which means the verbal gloves can come off, to mix a few metaphors there.
I don’t want anyone at all to be hurt by mean words or bad encounters at TCAF, and because we can’t guarantee a ‘safe space’, a non-agression pact by everyone who’s going to be there, it would be flat-out irresponsible of us to get on board with cosplay. But as always, we respect an indvidual’s right to express their identity, and like I said, no one should be a jerk to anyone else whether they’re wearing a costume or otherwise.
At the end of the day, Elite Con looks to be a boring afternoon for gentleman collectors. You do you. And there are certainly places where cosplay is less desirable than others, acorss this sqath ofhundreds and hundreds of nerdish events around the world.
But to brand it a hassle? Gimme a break. Like it or not cosplay is one of the BIGGEST reasons why con culture has taken off, both in a participatory manner and as part of the spectacle and carnival nature of comic cons in the 21st century. Elite Con had every right to run their show as they see fit, but their PR skills are awful.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.