By Mark Fenton
MegaCon Tampa Bay was held the weekend of September 29 – October 1st at the Tampa Convention Center. This show along with its sister show Megacon Orlando are put on by Informa Exhibitions. While Tampa Bay had a smaller guest list than Orlando, it made the guests it had count. Stan Lee, Kevin Smith, and John Barrowman were the main celebrity names and Jimmy Palmiotti, Amanda Conner, Mark Bagley, and Ed Mcguinness were the comic book draws.
The convention center was a great size for this event and the layout left enough room to maneuver down the aisles. Unless you were staying in a hotel within walking distance, however, getting to the show was difficult. The parking garage for the convention center was regularly full and street parking was rare to find. The ticketing lines were short and easy to move through with knowledgeable volunteers on hand. The food choices were limited and pricey inside the convention center. I paid $17 for 3 cans of soda and some Dippin’ Dots.
The guest list was fairly limited in comparison to the Orlando show. Kevin Smith was billed as a guest, but I did not see him on the floor at the show. Convention regulars John Barrowman and James Marsters were on hand and fan friendly. Alex Kingston, Katie Cassidy, and Ruth Connell were some of the other big name celebrities on hand. The volunteers were extremely knowledgeable on signing times for all of the celebrities.
Artist’s Alley had a good mix of veteran professionals and new talent. The layout of comic book guests could use some improvement as lesser known creators were mixed in with vendors. Fan favorites Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Conner were on hand for all the Harley Quinn fans. Tini Howard and Kyle Starks were seated next to each other for all of the Rick and Morty fans at the show. Chuck Dixon, Tom Grummett, and Neal Adams were some of the veteran names at the show. And of course Stan Lee had his own entire section at the convention.
Cosplayers were in full effect all weekend, from cosplay guests to fans in costume. Plenty of Ricks, Mortys, and Spider-Men were on hand for photo opportunities. Professional cosplayers seem to be growing in number as guests of conventions each year. The show had a few vehicles as well, the Batmobile, a Battlestar Galactica ship, and Ghostbusters Ecto 1 were on the show floor.
Overall, I give this show a 3 out of 5 rating. The guests were good, but they were a lot of the same that are at most shows. The comic book talent were mostly Florida locals. Better food options in the convention center would be a vast improvement for future shows, as well.
Here’s a look at some of the celebs and cosplay at the show: