Lexington Comic & Toy Convention Review
The Lexington Comic and Toy Convention takes place every March at Heritage Hall in Lexington, KY. This year’s convention just ended on the 13th, and just like every year before, the organizers have really stepped up their game. Every year, this convention gets bigger and better. Not only offering a massive amount of vendors and content, but bringing in huge names in geek culture. Last year’s show brought in almost 19,000 guests, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they broke 20,000 this year. Lexington is quickly growing into a convention hotspot on the East Coast!
The convention takes place in Heritage Hall, which is on the lower side of Rupp Arena (a name I’m sure is very familiar to any college sports fan). Located in the heart of Lexington, KY,
the venue is a major part of the local landscape. The convention has been at Heritage Hall for several years now, and each year manages to make better use of the space. Having so many vendors that they couldn’t all fit in the main hall, the convention has now expanded to the 3rd floor of the convention center as well!
The hall, even though there’s so much to see, never feels crowded. There’s plenty of room in the walkways, and the vendors/guests are taken care of very well by the staff. Local artists and comic/toy vendors are represented very well in the show. The facility itself is also taken well care of. The building is very clean and polished and the staff is great.
The worst part about the location is that parking can be hard to come by at times. Rupp Arena and Heritage Hall don’t have much in the way of dedicated parking, so sometimes you have to drive around for a few to find a spot.
Downtown Lexington, and the convention center itself is packed with an abundance of amazing choices for the hungry convention goer. The convention center itself comes with it’s own food courtand vendors, which comes with the expected inflated prices. But the area outside the hall is currently being revitalized with tons of new restaurants, bars and locations to shop. The Victorian Shoppes are located directly across the street, and offer several great choices for dining. In fact, I located a new personal favorite, in the form of Pies and Pints, a great place for a pizza and beer (I suggest the chorizo and roasted tomato…wow.)
Oddly enough, the fast food offerings are actually pretty limited. Aside from the food court in the convention center, most of the food offerings lean towards restaurants, finer dining, or just plain bar scenes. But if you’re willing to pay a little extra, you won’t find a lack of options. I personally didn’t spot any food trucks in the area, but that doesn’t mean there weren’t any around.
The Lexington Comic and Toy Convention does not disappoint if you’re looking to buy something. With vendors that cover everything from action figures to comics to wigs, even, every geek can find their vice. Or in some cases, find a new addiction or two! The local comic and toy shops were well represented, and there were tons of local craft vendors selling their own hand made creations. Jewelry, costume accessories, paintings, hand crafted wigs, and even accessories for your hidden Bronie obsession were all present.
Thanks to the convention, I’ve discovered several local artists that I never would have found otherwise. From local comic creators to painters, the locals bring their A game to the convention. In fact, my personal motivation for attending the convention most years is to find another local artist and add more amazing local geek art to my collection.
There are several locally owned comic and game shops that are prominently featured each year, and the owners are there to make friends and maybe a buck or two. Every year it surprises me at the sheer volume of old/vintage/rare comics that are up for sale.
For some odd reason, a certain character seemed to take center stage this year, Deadpool. I saw several vendors showcasing our favorite mercenary, in the forms of custom art, comic collections, and of course, New Mutants #98, which now goes for several hundred dollars. If there’s a comic you’re looking for, odds are, you’ll find it at the convention.
This year, there was even a board/card game room setup to teach guests how to play the more popular games, all for free. Games were donated by local comic shops, and the entire thing was organized by a single staff member, who needs huge props, Daryln Janisch. Magic the Gathering, Ticket to Ride, Splendor and tons of other games were all available to play for free, and copies of the games were given away as prizes for free tournaments! As for Magic the Gathering, about 1000 sample decks were donated to the show to be given away for free for anyone that visited the game room.
I don’t know how they do it, but every year, the guest list gets bigger and better. Headliners this year included Neal Adams (a phenominal creator/artist that worked for DC and Marvel), Skottie Young (known for his Marvel baby variant covers), Karen Gillan (of Guardians of the Galaxy and Doctor Who fame), THREE different doctors (Peter Davison, Colin Baker and Sylvester McCoy), Eliza Dushku, Brent Spiner, and even The Fonz himself, Harry Winkler!
Seriously, that only scratches the surface of the guest list. There’s wrestlers, comic artists/creators, and seemingly every major actor from the Power Rangers universe! Rita Repulsor herself was there, not only the actress, but the voice of the character (Carla Perez and Barbara Goodson, respectively)!
But, perhaps the craziest guest of all this year was Roxy. A full size, 700lb, 17′ long Rancor. Roxie was hand carved from expanded polystyrene foam by a group of artists that somehow managed to not only create an amazing replica, but they’re able to somehow pack her up and travel with this massive beast.
There is one thing I wanted to add. Every year the show gets bigger, and it’s quickly approaching the point where it’s too big for the venue. Lines can be long, and if you go at the wrong time on Saturday, it’s going to feel extremely crowded. That combined with the parking issue I mentioned earlier, and within a couple of years, it could develop into a bigger problem.
All in all, the Lexington Comic & Toy Convention is a must see for any fan. Geek culture is very well represented at the con, and there is a ton to see and do. Even with the small complaints, you’re sure to have a good time. The staff and organizers deserve all the credit for putting on an amazing convention. I can’t wait to see what they’re able to put together next year.
On a final note, due to scheduling conflicts and a snafu on the part of yours truly, I was only able to attend the VIP early access night on Friday. The quantity of photos should not at all represent the quality of the convention.