Artist Alley Review: Bell County Comic Con 2022
Convention Dates: August 6-7
Location: Belton, TX
Booth Cost: $211.15
Will I do it again?: Yes
Would I recommend?: Yes Load in/out Ease: ★★★★★ - Very easy and quick load in and out. Loading dock was available.
Bell County Comic Con was a convention that was highly recommended to me by a friend, and I had been interested in vending there in the past. Belton, TX is a small town with the vibes to boot and it definitely seemed like a convention was something that was needed to give folks something to do.
Loading in was easy, and we did setup on the first day of con. The convention was extremely strict about not having items behind a line that was taped off as part of regulations with the fire marshall. Even though it was obvious that multiple people were setting up before attendees came, exhibitors were frequently asked to keep their items from being behind that line. It was a completely reasonable rule to follow, but the frequency of people coming by to give these reminders during set up was a little annoying. (I even got told to move stuff that clearly wasn't even mine after I was completely done with setup!)
The convention center also had an unfortunate attendee. Well... multiple attendees that flew everywhere and landed on whatever they felt like. Apparently, the convention center was a place that frequently held livestock shows and rodeos, so flies loved to hang out there. I feel like there were very few moments where I wasn't swatting around myself, and it was only worse when I was eating. The con center did have measures to lower the number of flies in the area, by having fly traps in the restrooms.
The attendance was AMAZING. I was floored by how many people were walking around and purchasing. My personal goal for the con was $2000, and while I didn't quite reach it (just shy of a little over $100!), it was really great making $1200 on Saturday alone.
Also they had a petting zoo with a tortoise. You can't go wrong there.
The convention had very strange rules regarding censorship of art. Multiple vendors had art featuring women with showing cleavage and were asked to put it away or censor it. BCCC advertises itself as a family-friendly event, and even has rules in their exhibitor packet to address adult content.
"Bell County Comic Con is being marketed as a family friendly show. As such, there will be an increased number or minors and families attending the convention. We require that all Exhibitors, particularly those with adult merchandise, keep any merchandise or artwork with adult content in a separate portfolio available only upon request to adults. There will be a zero tolerance policy for displays of adult content. Discerning what constitutes adult content is at the sole discretion of the Exhibitor Coordinator."
This is all valid and the convention has the right to discern what is adult and what is not, but they were very selective about it. I could see multiple people with superhero art, like Harley Quinn or Wonder Woman showing cleavage, but people with anime art were more targeted by this rule. It's incredibly unfair that they chose based on styles, but even more so unfair when their mascots were in anime style and posing in the classic Escher Girls boobs-and-butt poses. These mascots were all over their posters, banners, and even their con books. How is it fair for them to police artists with cleavage showing on their art when their poster children are just as scantily clad?
Overall, Bell County is a convention I totally recommend and will return to. I just hope that for future events, they are more clear and less selective about what they dictate as adult content. Many conventions cater to the family-friendly ideals, but not once have I seen exhibitors be asked to censor characters that are showing cleavage. Genuine sexual content is one thing, but showing a bit of skin is another.