Unexpectedly long lines and preemptive attempts to avoid the same have caused some ruckus on the con circuit.

This past weekend’s Motor City Comic Con in Detroit was the latest show in a growing number to have more people than they knew what to do with—even folks who had brought tickets meant to avoid standing in line ended up queueing for hours, and the con has issued an apology.

Fans eager to see Marvel Comics legend Stan Lee, 90, and other pop culture and comic stars jammed streets and highways near Novi’s Suburban Collection Showplace. Lines to enter the venue wrapped around the building, with some patrons waiting more than two hours to enter. Waits for autographs were even longer.

“We were literally hit with a humanity bomb,” said Goldman, who estimated attendance for all three days at more than 30,000. He said his staff worked hard to get guests inside “as fast as possible, which we realize wasn’t fast enough.”

Growing from 18,000 to 30,000 people in a year is pretty impressive. According to Crains “Those numbers represented a 20 increase in dealers, a 15-percent increase in comic guests and a 20-percent increase in celebrities.

Lessons were learned:

Given that we had every one of our employees and volunteers working diligently to get attendees in quickly , we were unable to respond to the multiple e-mails and social media messages alerting us of the issues you were having. Next year we will plan to have one person dedicated to e-mail and social media communication to better serve attendee's needs. We learned some valuable lessons this year and are already working hard to prevent these issues from happening again. We have already been in talks with Showplace management to begin working on solutions for 2014, which will be the 25th anniversary of the Motor City Comic Con. We truly hope you will accept our sincere apologies for any delays or inconveniences you may have experienced and will come back next year, as it will be better than ever.

Basically, if you can put together enough money to afford Stan Lee and a few Walking Dead cast members, you need to plan for lines. As we’ve noted several times recently, as con culture grows, haphazard planning will quickly be exposed. Not saying that’s what happened in Detroit, but the casual nature of old skool comic-cons and the current reality are two different things.

Another show, Japan Expo USA, an offshoot of a French manga festival to be held in Santa Clara this August, went too far the opposite way, and initial show information said that there would be no ins and outs — so if you needed to drop off some stuff in the car, or go out for decent food or just get some fresh air and decompress…you couldn’t get back in. This plan did not go over well, and the show quickly reversed the policy.

Hey everyone–After a sound beating with baguettes, management has dropped the one in/one out policy!

This policy was based on our French model, but we recognize the value of adapting to our market and being responsive to fan desires and needs :)

We really appreciate the time that everyone took to respond. We hope to see you all in a few short months, and don’t forget registration opens shortly!

We’re sort of curious about a venue where a no ins and outs policy would make sense, but order seems to have been quickly restored in this case, anyway.

[Photo of the young girl cosplaying as Stan Lee from Cosmic Brownie]


  1. The problem I always have is the same…you are the ones selling the tickets…therefore any “wow, too many people” is just a BS PR response designed to obscure the cackling and money fights occurring behind the scenes.

    Here’s the the thing. Too many people? Stop selling tickets! It’s amazing how they try to spin this as if there is just no conceivable way to reduce the horde of people.

    The problem is less “incompetent” management and more “sell as many tickets as humanly possible and then worry about fake apologies later”.

  2. After Motor City on Saturday, Stan Lee and crew flew out to the Big Wow! Comic Fest in San Jose for Sunday. It certainly helped bump up the foot traffic for the day but there were more problems with lines and all. Are these just con growing pains? Is this more on Stan’s people setting this up or the convention? Any word of the numbers at Big Wow!? I have to think attendance was up over previous years.

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