We’ve reported on many “When a con is crap” moments over the years, but this weekends Space City Comic Con in Houston seems to have combined the biggest ripoffs with the biggest stars for a planned Sons of Anarchy reunion that…well, it didn’t quite pan out, as someone named Ava Jade reports:
While talking with Mr. Coones, it became clear that many of the reports on social media were correct. I refused to report on any of it, until I had information directly from a source. Upon arriving at their hotel, the cast was told that the credit card provided by the promoter would not be accepted, it would be cash only for their rooms. When they arrived at the convention, Charlie had it out with the promoter to get to the bottom of it. He took his check to the bank to cash it, because he knew something was up. There he found out that the check that was given to him was written from an account that had been CLOSED. This happened to the entire cast. Many of the actors went to the promotors office to demand payment, where the promotor ended up calling the cops because he was “being held hostage”. WTF right? The panel schedule was completely jacked up, the cast was not given the correct times for photo ops and for panels. The Friday panel was canceled due to the AVI team refusing to allow anyone onstage until they were paid. They were promised payment upfront, instead they weren’t paid and pulled the plug on the event.
So just to recap there, the show, did not pay for the hotel rooms, and the cast, including Charlie Hunnam and Ron Perelman revolted. And when the complained to the promoter, the promoter called the cops on them. And the result was this:
— Mary C Nubla (@_extraordiMARY) May 28, 2016
I’ve also seen social media reports (not confirmed) that one of the con’s co-owners was escorted off the premises by police on Sunday afternoon. Whether true or not, you can see it was evidently an exciting weekend!
This was not a small, rinky-dink operation, but a show big enough to draw Valiant, IDW and the Stan Lee Foundation as sponsors. These entities have been through many a rodeo, and they would not sign up for a fly by night operation. Indeed, there were also good times t be had at the show, including a proposal in the Valiant booth!
https://twitter.com/ValiantComics/status/736679505679527936 There was also severe disappointment among fans who had paid good money to see celebrities who left in a huff. And I can’t say that I blame the nerdlebrities OR the fans. Here’s an account from the comments on the Jade post:
But let’s take a step back and assess the actions of Mr. Hunnam. Supposedly after finding out that he was not going to get the money that he was promised in pre-sale tickets Mr. Charlie Hunnam decided after Saturday had concluded to leave the convention and head home. Regarding the situation with my wife and I; we had to save up for a while to purchase the pre-sale autograph tickets for Mr Hunnam and of course the rest of the SOA cast members and photo-op with Mr. Hunnam. We are from Dallas and didn’t have the money for the 3 day pass or to stay in Houston for the 3 days. Nor we couldn’t leave work to attend the full 3 days. So we decided to leave early on Sunday morning and we got there at 1100 am right when the convention opened for the 3rd and final day. Once we arrived we were told by one of the volunteers who were honest and knowledgeable that not only the 12 pre-paid autograph tickets were not being honored but Charlie Hunnam was not there. We were told about the whole fiasco situation and of course were confirmed by others at the convention. With what little money we did have in our account we did purchase some autograph tickets but we couldn’t buy all what we originally had because the money had already been spent for the pre-paid tickets. So we had to pick and choose who we got to see, unfortunately with my wife being a huge SOA fan and a bigger Charlie Hunnam fan. She was totally disappointed with Charlie Hunnam not being there for autographs or the photo-op that we were going to do as well on Sunday.
Me I am just pissed … I get the convention royally screwed over Mr Hunnam, I totally get that but when you screw over your fans and punish your fans because of it well to me that’s totally unacceptable. I heard stories from several attendees who flew from New Zealand, Canada, Mexico and even Australia that they were coming to see SOA cast and in particular Charlie Hunnam. I heard other stories of people who were there Saturday in line for 5 hours for an autograph for Mr. Hunnam and never got the opportunity to see him that day with all the delays. So they just came back the next day thinking they will just get his autograph or his photo-op on Sunday only to be told that he packed his things and left Saturday night to go home.
Obvously there is a lot more to this story. It’s understandable that fans would be disappointed when expensive autograph opportunities don’t come to fruition, but the show apparently has a good rep before that. Space City Comic Con launches in 2012 and has regularly hosted major celebs and comics creators since, as the shows bio claims:
Space City Con is about “bringing fans together.” Launched in August 2012, Space City Con (www.spacecitycon.com), thrilled more than 2,000 fans with its first show. By summer 2013, the convention had grown by a factor of six, filling its Houston-area venue to capacity with more than 11,000 eager fans attending over three days. The Festival’s vendor and exhibit hall grew 50 percent and the number of celebrity guests skyrocketed.
On July 31, 2013, organizers provided the celebrity guests for the historic unveiling of the original Star Trek™ series scale prop, the Galileo shuttlecraft, at Space Center Houston, with a VIP dignitary tour of the NASA Johnson Space Center. Space City Con 2013 also received the honor of the world premiere of the completed Lucasfilm-blessed Star Wars™ fan film “The Pink Five Saga,” hosting the international leadership of The 501st Legion professional Star Wars costuming charity organization.
Maybe they just grew too fast?
We’ve been writing for a while that there are simply too many comics and pop culture events in North America right now. Debacles like this may point up the need to be extra cautious about dealing with reputable promoters. While informal networks of bookers and exhibitors share information on which shows are crap, perhaps the time has come for some kind of accrediting organization or other oversight to protect both fans and nerdlebrities.
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.