COMMENTARY | On September 24 and 25, 2011, Detroit Fanfare at COBO Hall made area and industry history by being the first comic book convention held in Detroit proper since 1975. I attended both days and was impressed by the improvements that were made over last year. I also found some areas where the convention promoters can improve for next year.
This year, Detroit Fanfare had multiple lines to check in or purchase tickets. This was a great improvement over the single line that they had last year. This reduced the lines and got people in quicker. I would like to see more than one credit card machine in use next year, as this was the only aspect that slowed the line down.
The 2010 Detroit Fanfare was the first year for the convention. One of the most common issues that I heard of was that the volunteers were not as knowledgeable as would be expected. This year, that was completely different, as the volunteers could answer most of the questions that you had, or at least knew how to get you the answer immediately.
Announcements that were being made over the speakers could not be understood in most circumstances. This is more of an issue that was caused by the sound system at COBO than anything else. A backup idea for making announcements could eliminate this issue in the future.
Another issue that people had with the inaugural Detroit Fanfare was that it was difficult to maneuver around due to the closeness of the tables and the amount of people. This year, the convention was spread out over a larger area. Vendors and comic creators were not right on top of the next. People could move around without bumping into anyone else.
This aspect could be improved next year by the better use of open areas. There were some dead space areas that could have benefitted from the placement of something (anything). Next year, if dead areas occur, I would suggest offering some extra area to some of the vendors that have large displays or amounts of product. Some of the vendors had extra product that could have used some extra space.
Events and scheduling
For the most part, everyone at Detroit Fanfare did a much better job than last year to ensure that events started on time. The day started off rough when one of the celebrity guests was running behind, but the promoters were able to shift some of the events around and came out on top. Again, the sound system and acoustics inside COBO are not the best. Since the COBO sound system is supposed to be replaced in the near future, I expect this to be improved next year for the show.
I thought that the variety of Fanfare vendors was improved over last year. I would remind anyone with complaints about not having enough of one type of vendor or another that this was a comic book convention, so comics and comic-related vendors should dominate. While some people thought that the celebrity guests were a step down from last year's Stan Lee, I would tell them that there are very few people who can compete with Stan the Man.
Overall, I enjoyed myself and found that most of the attendees did, as well. I am happy that the issues of the first Detroit Fanfare were improved upon, and I look forward to the promoters and organizers of the event continuing to improve. I will be back again next year and would invite any other fan to attend as well. I hope that the show continues to grow and last for many years to come.
L. Vincent Poupard is a former political/business consultant who specialized in helping businesses gain a foothold in their communities. He is a writer who spends as much free time as possible enjoying all that Michigan has to offer.
- Detroit Fanfare