On 12/5/15, we went to Steel City Con in Monroeville, PA. This event is held three times a year; this year we got to go twice because we were on vacation for the summer one. The price for Con entry has increased this year to $30 for a one-day pass. When we started going to this con, it was only $15. That said, it has grown significantly in the last two years. I was surprised to see that they had begun promoting it as a Comic Con this time around. Steel City began as a toy and collectibles show. I feel like this was just throwing around buzz words because Pittsburgh Comic Con got bought out by Wizard World after last year and most people were disappointed with their first event this fall.
Part of what has helped this convention grow so quickly is bringing in celebrities. They get various actors from many different shows and movies, and there's also usually a WWF wrestler or two (though I'm not entirely sure how that fits in if you want to be a Comic Convention and not just a Pop Culture Con). My brother-in-law and his wife (who you can follow at The Mom Next Door) had lots of fun meeting Jason Mewes this weekend; they also talked with Tom Savini (who is usually at this Con. He's pretty cool. :) ) Our friend, Justin, got a fun picture with Ric Flair, too. My husband had a hilarious encounter with John Ratzenberger (of Cheers, most notably, but he was also in Star Wars, Episode V). Me? I just went to have fun and didn't feel like putting any money out for celebrity encounters (which is my usual MO). Little guy and I saw lots of Star Wars guys and spent some time looking for a nice Jack Skellington for him to snuggle. I was disappointed because there was an awesome Santa Dr. Doom cosplayer who I wanted to get a picture with as I was doing some Christmas Steampunk, but I couldn't locate him again after lunch. I was happy to get to see my friend Andrew of Nerdiculous, though!
If you're looking for a good mid-sized Con, this is a good pick. There weren't as many cosplayers this time, but with it being winter in PA, I can't blame them for not trusting the weatherman and wanting not wanting to freeze their assets off. There are a wide variety of vendors, but I always wonder why they let people like home renovation or gutter vendors even buy tables? Are you really that desperate (Actually, they might be. Finish reading this article.)? This is not the demographic you're looking for. This convention continues to be child friendly and not insanely overwhelming. I wish that I had had more money to spend there (don't I always?), but I did pick up cards from a few vendors that I really want to look into for future costuming pieces.
As much fun as I had, I have to admit that since attending Sci Fi Valley Con with Jason Lennox in the role of vendor that I've seen more of the politics of cons, and I am apprehensive about the future of Steel City Con. In the weeks leading up to the event, it was revealed that there were some shady moves being made by the man behind the curtain, the man who promotes and handles this convention, Dominic Alessandria. Author Mike DiBaggio, felt the need to let his fans know why he was suddenly withdrawing from this event and will not be attending ever again. I'm not going to get into all of the details here, but you can read then on Mr. DiBaggio's blog here, as well as the follow-up post here. Needless to say that if a Con is scaring off it's vendors, it isn't long for this world. I'm not sure why Allessandria feels the need to be so hard on his vendors. This is not the first time that I've heard that he is not a great person to work with. I've yet to take my own business to a Con as a vendor, but it is something that I look forward to exploring in the future. I do not think that Alessandria sounds like the type of person I would like to do business with. Throwing down edicts just a few weeks prior to the event and "altering the deal" is a recipe for a quick disaster. There were several empty tables on Saturday, victims, I'd assume of these changes and it's fallout. As Princess Leia said, "The more you tighten your grip, the more star systems will slip through your fingers."
What's your take on Steel City Con? Let me know in the comments below! And don't forget to follow me on Facebook!