On the last weekend of July I had my busiest weekend of the year. Saturday was the annual QC Planet Con at the Holiday Inn Rock Island, simultaneously in Iowa City was Anime Iowa. I attended both conventions that weekend.

Ryan Franks

First up that weekend was the QC Planet Con. I’ve been involved with the QC Planet Con since it’s inception in 2009. So my Friday night got started with loading boxes filled with comics, toys and statues onto a truck to drive to the hotel to start setup for the big show Saturday. I have to thank the event staff at the Holiday Inn for doing the literal heavy lifting of the show by setting up the tables and chairs for the event. In the early years of the Planet Con it was usually just me and the event’s founder and coordinator, Tim Johnson, doing that prep work at Skellington Manor. Skellington Manor was a great place to have a small comic convention and I imagine if the show hadn’t grown like it has over the years we would still be there. That being said I don’t miss the nights were Tim and I stayed up till two in the morning setting up curtains, arranging tables and hanging decorations.

We expanded the number of artists and dealers this year. It’s a great sign that things are going well when tables fill up and you fill a waiting list. This did cause another problem though; since we had so many tables the artist and dealers were separated into two rooms. After the doors were opened I saw plenty of people enter the dealer’s room, but apparently the art room wasn’t seeing the same attendance. Signage was moved around and an announcement made and traffic started moving in that direction. The most exciting part of the convention for me was the first printing of a new comic: Battle of the Xybermorphs from What’s That Funk. Part of my excitement comes from the fact that I helped edit that comic, so seeing the first physical copies made it a really special day. I always have a great time at Planet Con. I got to see friends both new and old but, by far, the highlight of the show to see my name on the cover of a comic.

The following Sunday some friends and I headed over to Iowa City to check out this year’s Anime Iowa. Even for a Sunday the Coralville Marriott was packed with anime fans both in and out of costume, filling the hallways and rooms of the hotel. As we entered the building there was a sign at the front from the staff of the hotel saying they will miss the convention. I had heard a rumor the con was leaving, which one of my friends confirmed and told me it was going to be the last Anime Iowa to be in Iowa City as the convention is moving to Des Moines next year. This surprised me as I thought the con was staying in Iowa City, just moving venues, not changing cities. Des Moines hasn’t had a great record for conventions. I had friends go to the Wizard World Des Moines this year and totally lambaste it and this was after I heard that last year’s Wizard World Des Moines was a total disaster that many dealers lost their shirts on. I spent some time looking for other anime conventions in Des Moines and came up with Anime DeMoii, only when I clicked their website the first thing I see is that they canceled this year’s con. So, I wish Anime Iowa the best of luck, but they may have an uphill battle ahead of them.

 

Ryan Franks has been into comics for as long as he can remember. He first started collecting back in 1993.It didn't become an obsession until 2009, but still remains one...