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Our Canadian neighbors have the reputation as being a friendly, generous folk but they are not immune from poorly run comic cons. Or at least that what webcomics creator Michael McAdam claims in a post about C4 Winnipeg. C4 stands for Central Canada Comic Con, and this year’s show, held last weekend, had some problems, according to McAdam.

Blanket statement that remained true for the entire weekend: No volunteer anywhere could answer any questions. They were confused, lost, disjointed, or had incorrect information. In fact, a Facebook friend of mine tried to attend on Saturday- and was given so many incorrect directions to registration that he gave up and left without entering the con! Think about that: a paying attendee, who wants to come in and spend his money, can’t even get directed to the proper entrance due to absolute incompetence and ignorance. How many people do you think gave up? How much in terms of potential earnings was lost due to stupidity? (Fortunately, my buddy chose to return on Sunday to buy from me, but only because he wanted to meet me and was motivated to do so!)

Among the other problems McAdam reported:

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– Registration was accomplished by means of index cards and took forever

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– Because he registered late, McAdam was given a table in the Indie Gaming section and it was literally that – a table with no chairs.

– Lots of problems with schedules, maps and finding anything.

– The show close was listed as 5 pm on the website, but at 5 it was announced the show was actually closing at 6. But then they told people to leave anyway.

– And in a detail that makes these kind of bad con stories so vivid, a puddle of urine in a mens room was never cleaned the whole weekend.

Some other details – bad cabs, a near mugging – aren’t really the con’s fault.

There are many corroborating comments on McAdam’s posts, incluing one points out that the index card record method may be outdated:

Registration is alway frustrating because people have no patiences and have to got through 1000’s of forms. a computer is an excellent idea mabye someone can set that up for the crew at registration. I would come back if the 3 tables weren’t sold at such a high price. I do know if you register one day early you get electric for $125 instead of $175.


The show’s Facebook reviews are equally harsh. If you want the full report, here’s a detailed one.

Last year when we were paying for this year we were all told if we pay in cash we would get a discount. However we were not given proper receipts for this just a little scribbled piece of paper and we were promised formal recipts would go out, they did eventually..11 months later. We also never recieved a formal contract or anything like that. This year when I asked a staff member about closing times on sunday he said “well check your contact” very snidley. When i told him we never recieved a contract he replied “well thats not my fault” which was all very rude. If we didn’t have contracts how were we supposed to know that you guys made a typo on the main page of the website. This was very frustrating as people had planes to catch and long drives ahead of them and to be told we couldn’t leave at the time your website said we were done? This is rediculous. To have a guy come over the speaker to say “we are open till 6 dont pack up” and then not even 5 minutes later he came back on and told patrons to make their final purchases and leave.. so we had to sit there for an hour and do nothing.

To be fair, on the FB page there are many positive comments as well. And to their credit, the con people have been replying to many of the comments and complaints:
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Still, you’d think the closing time for the show would be a major detail of a show.

C4 has been running for over a decade (it was to become part of the Wizard World family at one point may years ago) and to be fair, its problems seem to be mostly disorganization not ripping people off. The Winnipeg area draws from North Dakota as well, and a report on last year’s show says it drew 48,000 people. I’m not aware of any other large shows in the area (but I could be wrong) and it’s definitely a market that deserves a good show. The comics guest list is modest, and the nerdlebrities are corralled in an area called “Guest Alley” a term I’ve never heard used before but maybe it should be used more often.

I’ve reached out to showrunners for a response to the bad reviews and will update when I get one.

6 COMMENTS

  1. “To be fair, on the FB page there are many positive comments as well. And to their credit, the con people have been replying to many of the comments and complaints:”

    Actually, they tend to delete any negative comments on their posts and as such you will generally only see the positive stuff. I have seen it happen too often. I believe they can’t remove the reviews though, so there’s that. Many people are also scared to attach their name to their complaints (myself included) as the people who run C4 tend to go on the offensive and verbally abuse/go after anyone openly offering up criticism or anything in the way of negative feedback. They also lie about a lot about their convention to attendees, vendors, artists, volunteers and guests alike. For example their attendance numbers are nowhere near the numbers they boast. Sometimes they lie by omission: guests cancel but they never tell anyone about it and attendees find out after they’ve already paid for tickets and are at the convention.

    There are many other conventions in Winnipeg. However, a good number of them are also run by the people who put on C4 so it’s good to be wary of that as some of these problems tend to carry over.

    FanQuest is an up & coming con to keep an eye on. This will be its second year. Perhaps one day the two cons will be in a good place for healthy competition & maybe then C4 will see a reason to improve.

  2. This type of behaviour has been ongoing for a few years now, and I am amazed that its only this year that people are finally seeing it for what it is. A flea market with outdated guests, the same artists year after year, and nothing to offer for the value of a ticket. The same organisation also puts on what they call a “horror-con” which is a small pop culture gathering (flea market) that has less to do with horror and its sub genres than anything else. Its all a cash grab to help supplement the owners pocketbooks now.

    This year however has been the most vocal I have heard in the number of complaints from con-goers to vendors. At this point, Fan Expo (if they are looking to expand their market) might want to look into Winnipeg as their next target. After the issues and fiasco of C42017, there are many who would support it.

  3. I agree with comments from “Playing With C4 Is Dangerous” & “Been there, done that”.
    Many of the people involved would rather sink their time into being nasty & vindictive after the fact than actually build a better convention. If they find out who you are, they will cause you problems.
    That is wrong and should not happen, but it does.

    I can relate to the many of the problems in the original McAdam post.
    (the times, the info, treatment just everything…)
    I last attended/worked at it about 3 years back. I have been on all sides as an exhibitor, a regular attendee & behind the scenes.
    I was witness to volunteer abuse, poor organizing, lack of info for attendees and vendors/celebrities.
    Multiple blow-ups and disappointments for celebrity guests and so so much more.
    It was embarrassing to see.
    If you spoke out about things, you were threatened.

    1 year there were no programs and no wifi. No real signage either.
    People missed paid meet & greets, workshops and Q+A sessions. Major celebrities spoke to half empty auditoriums.
    Uninformed & unqualified volunteers are placed in situations and jobs that should be a done by paid professional.

    Over the years, many frustrated artists, celebrities, vendors and attendees have just banned going to C4.
    It just isn’t fun because of all the major disappointments and problems.
    It, or rather the people that run it, have forgotten the core of what it is supposed to be…fun.
    They have gone to the dark side and only serve their own purposes.
    If it hasn’t matured, learned from mistakes by now and/or keeps taking advantage or abusing, then it just has to go.

    FanEXPO moving in is a great idea, but people need to be willing to pay for it and not cheap out.
    (ie: higher pass prices, but shwag bags a few more included forms of fun & entertainment, a more kid friendly environment, etc…)

    Toronto’s Atomic Lollipop is a good template to follow,
    involving everything from music to pop culture.

    Please support smaller, enjoyable, friendly start-ups such as Fanquest & Prairie Comics Festival.

    http://www.fanquestcon.com/
    http://www.prairiecomics.com/

  4. I was a guest at C$ maybe three years back.

    Was a bit of a disappointment, especially considering Winnipeg is my home town.

    They scattered guests all over the area with no sense of who would want to see them. Ken Lashley, van Sciver and I all relocated ourselves into one area, despite the organisers’ protests and made the show better for all of us.

    I was surprised to find the show had been running for a few years already since it felt like a very new and disorganised event.

    It’s unfortunate it sounds like it hasn’t improved and, maybe, gotten worse.

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