So I have finally arrived home from Botcon 2011 and I must say that I was overall very impressed with the convention this year. My last Botcon was 2007 so I haven’t had the pleasure of attending in quite a while and I believe that was for the best. I had come to a point where I didn’t think I would ever want to go again; which I believe was due mostly to an overload of Transformers. Now that the Movie franchise is ending (or at least transitioning) I feel more inclined to become involved with the convention circuit again.
I'm not sure if it was just me or if it was actually Fun Publications, but they have figured out how to put on a really excellent show. I feel like they have finally hit their stride with Botcon whereas before I felt as if it were treated as more of an afterthought of JoeCon. Everything ran really smoothly this year and the lines weren’t nearly as long as prior years (despite my previous post; I just abhor lines in general). The two most enjoyable parts of the convention had to be the Transformers: Prime Script Reading with almost the entire cast(!) and the Casino Night Dinner. Having the cast show up free of charge and on their own accord was a great treat for the fans, and I hope the actors know how much we appreciate it. There was one attendant who mentioned how he didn't normally get star-struck at Botcon, but to be in the presence of Ernie Hudson (an original Ghostbuster!) he was overwhelmed. I felt the same way about seeing Jeffrey Combs being a big Star Trek fan myself. The cast did an excellent job as I knew they would and even threw in a few Ghostbusters references to rib Ernie a little. Directly after that we had the opportunity to see the next episode of Prime that hadn’t been aired yet: Operation Breakdown. All I can say about this episode is it is one of the best of the series thus far, not far behind my current favorites Speed Metal and Predatory. Trust me; it is not one you want to miss when it finally does air.
This was my second time participating in the Casino Night and even though I didn't win anything I had a great time. It feels like they have really refined the idea and worked out all the kinks. Of course it didn’t hurt that my group had a friendly, personable dealer. I remember back in 2007 the first Casino Night I attended it wasn't nearly as fun, and the prizes weren't as good either! FunPub had some really primo stuff up there this time, including the big boy: Darksyde Megatron and Waspinator from the 2006 convention. The guy who won that had about $15,000 in casino money. In comparison I only ended up with $1,600 and that was after combing four peoples' winnings together!
The only part of the convention that I felt was somewhat lacking was the Hall of Fame Event. As I mentioned before I really enjoyed myself, but I'm not sure it was worth $90 for me and my wife to attend. The show we saw was great, but I had at least expected to see the entire Transformers 3 movie for the admission price. I must say though, the Erector tribute was completely hilarious and oddly makes me pine for a G2 or Beast Wars Erector! I think most of the money for admission went to rent the extravagant venue and to get Michael Bay to attend, which I personally could have done without. I realize everything he has done for the Brand, but I could tell he didn't really care about being there and had that signature attitude about him. I think he would have been better sending in a video like Spielberg.
Overall though it was a great event and I feel much better about attending another Botcon than I did after my last experience. I hope to put all of my pictures and videos together in a short little montage to give anyone who didn’t go a quick taste of the convention. Over the next few weeks I hope to be showcasing all the items I obtained, but I will have to wait until at least Monday because I had to ship everything back from California and it won’t arrive until then.