Review: Detroit FanFare 2012

One of the events that’s been starting up in Michigan is the Detroit Fanfare.  Last year they had Kevin Eastman as their guest of honor.  This year, while we did not have Kevin, we did have a lot of other great
people there.  Miki and I got to swing in to see two days of the event as it was taking place during the last weekend that the Dearborn Hyatt hotel was open.  Here is my review of this year’s Detroit Fanfare.

We got to Detroit Fanfare on Saturday and found there were no programs left, so learning the schedule was not going to be an easy task.  So I decided early on to make this more of a walkthrough event instead of asking everyone what was going on all the time.  We learned that there were two main rooms, Artist Alley and the Dealer room.  There seemed to be stuff going on in each of the areas around there, including the pool section.

This hotel is where Youmacon was held for two years, and it was the location for the World Steam Expo.  Both of these conventions were held by the same group, so the layout of the place matched the two different events, and I was used to that layout.  However, Detroit Fanfare is a new group, so the rooms were slightly different.  Artist Alley for Detroit Fanfare was the gaming room for Youmacon and Dealer room for World Steam Expo, so that did not really seem too different to me.  The same walk-around, just with different stuff out.  Found a few cool tables in there, like IDW Publishing and Dave Aikins. They were tables I knew, though I found some other cool tables of people’s work I’d never seen before.

One of the tables that I visited was James Anderson.  He has his comic of a little robot called Ellie.  The name of the series is “Ellie on Planet X.”  James had a lot of freebies and low-cost items at his table.
One of my favorite items that I got was a bookmark.  It has his character and title on the front of it, and on the back side is a comic strip.  I felt that this was a great way to advertise his comic while giving people something that they could use.  We talked to James for a bit about his comic, and I really think this is
something people can enjoy.

Next to James was something I’ve never seen at a small convention like this before.  Not your normal artist, this was “The Animal Guy.”  Nelson goes around the country teaching people about different animals, bringing the animals with him; from owls to alligators to other strange animals you don’t normally get to see.  One of the things that Nelson had at his booth to help raise money for the animals was The Adventure Society, a comic book that he created.  It was one of the things I bought at the convention, since I felt it was for a very good cause.  I did enjoy getting to see the animals too, and pet some of them, like the owl, alligator and a springhaas (Pedetes capensis).  This was my first time seeing or even learning of a springhaas. It reminds me of Pikachu from Pokémon, which is funny because Nelson’s named his springhaas Pika.  I spent a lot of the weekend coming back to this table, just to see what
they had to show us.

Now, heading to the Dealer room was different for me, as I saw the hotel laid out in a way I had never seen before.  When Youmacon and World Steam Expo had this building, these were two different rooms.  One was a big panel room while the other was Main Events.  They had this huge room filled with a stage, monitors, chairs, and held their biggest events and dances in this room.  Once, they did use the corner room as a dealer room, but it did not open up into that big panel room.   Now for Detroit Fanfare
they had these two rooms attached together for their dealer room.  When World Steam used the back corner for the dealer room, I did not like it because it felt buried with other panel rooms right in front of it.  Though the way that Detroit Fanfare opened this up, it felt very welcoming, large, and had plenty of doors to go in and out from, so there weren’t large lines.

In the Dealer room I noticed lots of Turtle stuff. Even in Artist Alley people had TMNT artwork for sale.  As we walked through, I saw David Peterson and then a few booths with TMNT merch.  The first booth blew my mind. They had some old TMNT merch up, things like the Turtle blimp, so I decided to check their prices.  My jaw dropped at how high this stuff was priced.  Right across from that booth there was a guy with original comic art, and when I went there, I saw some TMNT art.  I saw that they were old
Eastman and Laird stuff, including one piece with the Fugitoid on it.  I asked the guy how much he wanted for his TMNT pieces and he proceeded to tell me that I don’t know their value and that they’re out of my
price range... which is not the way to respond to any customer.  I quickly proved him wrong, and he even gave me his card in case I decide to sell any of my original art from Eastman and Laird.  So, while it was cool to see some TMNT stuff there, it is sad to see how the fans are now needing
to have lots of money to even think about taking part in the history.  Guess that’s how things go when great entertainment has been out for years.  Though I would like to see fans treated better when inquiring
about the stuff being sold.

Now, I did find one of my favorite tables there, “Comics and More,” my local comic shop.  I talked with Chris for a while.  He had some of the IDW TMNT Micro Series comics there for sale, with other books whose artists were there in the Artist Alley, and a ton of stuff from The Walking Dead.  This was one of my favorite stops, as I enjoy catching up with good friends.  Conventions are about enjoying the moments of being a fan. And if you know this booth, you know you’re having a great time at the event.

There looked to be some fun late-night events, like a live performance of Rocky Horror Picture Show, though we decided not to do any of those since we were not going to be staying the night at the hotel.  We returned for Sunday and walked around again just talking it up with the great people hanging around there.  It was awesome to see our friend from Weird Review as well as other faces that we know from the local
convention circuit.

And now in memory of the Hyatt hotel in Dearborn.  I’ve gone to a few conventions there, and made some great memories.  As I went through the halls this time, it wasn’t just for the convention but to say
goodbye to a hotel. A new owner is coming in.  They will make changes and make this building their own.  At least the building will remain and hopefully host some more great events.  Though, the way it was, the
building we knew will not be forgotten, living on in memories, reviews, photos and videos.  I would like to now share a video shot there in 2008, one of my favorite Youmacon videos.  The building used in this video is the Dearborn Hyatt.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6wy0vjea8zw[/youtube]

Looking forward to next year's Detroit Fanfare!

Did you go to Detroit Fanfare? If so, please share your memories here!  All reviews, comments and questions are welcomed below!

 

Edited by: Art

Entertainment Earth