This past Friday, December 8th through Sunday, December 10th was the inaugural weekend for ACE Comic Con put on by ACE Universe, which is owned by the Shamus brothers. This weekend’s event was held in Long Island, New York at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum.
The celebrity guest list was extremely impressive with a large portion of the Justice League cast, two major players from the Daredevil Netflix series, and a handful of WWE stars.
In an interview with Gareb Shamus, we were told that this would be “a much more engaging experience” and that fans would “feel like they are a part of something bigger.” Per Mr. Shamus, this was “all about engaging fans and having them feel like they are a part of it as opposed to being a spectator. Our goal is for someone when they come to our show to feel like they are part of it and that they were a part of making it as great and extraordinary as it was.”
This definitely seemed like a convention to watch and we weren’t disappointed, at least on Friday.
VIP = Very Irritated People
Unfortunately we didn’t get to watch spectacular fan interactions unfold. Instead, we watched chaos commence as hundreds of people waited outside for hours in freezing temperatures to gain admittance to the stadium.
What made this worse was that this line of people were the VIP ticket holders. These people paid extra money for an extraordinary experience and the only experience many of them had was freezing while they watched people with General Admission tickets walk straight into the building.
— Adam (@dam_rasslin) December 8, 2017
And if you look around on social media or talk to a few people, things didn’t get much better once they were inside.
Some VIP Access @ACEcomiccon only took 2 1/2 hrs to get into the building now our glorious waiting continues for our VIP Autograph Session #CheapCon #Nonsense #AceComicCon #RIP not worth coming back another day pic.twitter.com/cJT7R8Rln9
— Andrew Ramallo (@TheRamJam83) December 9, 2017
And of course, people took to social media to voice their complaints, especially after they didn’t get decent responses from those they were thought were in charge.
“Never in my life have I seen anything run this way. The people who spent the most for VIP were outside in freezing conditions for hours. Most missing photo ops and autographs and being told contradictions and lies about the situation
We were told talent would stay later. Not all did.
GA [General Admission] walked right in. So understand this – people who spent a 10th of what this line and more spent got in first and got things done.
The people who run the convention refused to agree to refunds and in cases like mine censored me from the page and deleted my post and comments.
People were rushed through. People were shivering. Kids were crying”
“We get in and VIP table is right by the VIP entrance which helped cause delays because people were jammed in. Staff did not have VIP bags prepared. In my case I got the wrong bag completely.
Also that was a fire hazard.
Multiple entrances were open. They didn’t let us through any and made us freeze.
Honestly everyone who bought VIP should be refunded or Ace should be reported to better business bureau.”
Unfortunately many of their complaints were deleted from the official ACE pages. People were, however, given a ray of hope regarding Saturday…
The line was held up for multiple reasons, one being that you had to exchange your paper tickets for “A business card-sized ticket.”
“Yeah people attending Arizona should be wary and I am interested in how it goes today and tomorrow. Staff was unorganized. Also once I got in I needed to redeem my paper ticket for a business card sized ticket which was a waste of time and helped me miss my bella twins photo op. Nobody was on the photo floor from ace to help people like me who was screaming for help”
Another reason was that the VIP bags were apparently not assembled. However, when people got them they were VERY Happy, at least if they got the correct one.
Only Two Hour Set-up and Security
A video has been circulating claiming that setup was not even started until two hours before the event. I have been told by multiple people that this is incorrect. The artists I have spoken with state that they were there from 8 a.m. and that there was activity in other areas. From what people understand, security was not set up until two hours before the event. That is when the metal detectors arrived.
From what I understand, metal detectors were set up at the main entrances and near the photo ops. This again created delays and long lines. ACE claimed that the extra detectors were because of the celebrity level of their guests and I am inclined to believe them.
The other major issue on Friday was regarding personnel. By all reports, the Nassau Coliseum staff was fantastic, however the official ACE staff was an entirely different matter. I received multiple reports of the convention staff being rude, ill-informed, poorly-trained and entirely unprofessional. This could be the result of having several hundred aggravated VIP ticket holders venting on them….or just poor training.
There is one report on Sunday of a “Jeff” (who was on stage as an MC/Interviewer) telling one person to step outside so they could clock them. This apparently came about when they were attempting to clear the panel room prior to the Justice League panel.
“..the attendee was obviously frustrated and said he was having a terrible time. there was alot of back and forth until the CEO said well step outside so he can deck him. the attendee stood up and they both walked toward the end of the stage where security intervened and escorted the attendee out.”
The original post claimed it was a CEO, but I do not think that it was.
However, that was not the only comment claiming problems with a supposed CEO or owner:
“Apparently the CEO of this company just walked by us outside and when a fan complained that we are all freezing he called us assholes and walked away.”
“I asked 3 ace employees in the photo op area if it was ok that I record my 4 year old giving them [The Bellas] the roses. I was told by all three that it was “not a problem at all.” When we go up the woman taking pictures tells us no video. I quickly explain that I was given permission. She SCREAMS at me in front of the bellas and my 4 year old, “I’m the owner and I said NOOOOOO!”
One gentlemen complained about an employee that hassled him and his children regarding photo ops and then proceeded to yell at his children. I was provided a photo of the employee in question and I will state for the record that the photo provided is not of an ACE volunteer or direct employee. It was an employee of Celeb Photo Ops. I also believe that the rose incident above was also an employee of the photography company.
Justice League Panel
As for the panel, that caused a lot of additional frustrations for VIP holders because several were denied seats. However, the panel itself was apparently great.
Not everything about this convention was bad. The actual fan experiences were stellar. The celebrities were great and I have not heard a negative word about them. In fact, many have sung their praises.
“Small thing to some that won’t get shared too much as not many people were involved. Jason moama got in late due to weather and his flight. He had a few guests complain that they were unable to get his autograph do to time changes, so his agent let everyone know he would go up after his photo ops got done and sign for anyone still around. (close to 8PM) con floor was closed down, security was already pushing people out of the building, but he went up there and signed for the twenty people waiting for him. Not a big group and he could of easily just gone to the hotel, but he stayed for his fans…great guy!”
*Editor’s Note: An unavoidable sitution occurred for actor Jon Bernthal (Marvel’s The Punisher), who had to cancel last-minute due to the devastating fires in and around Los Angeles which threatened the star’s residence. Fortunately, Elodie Yung (Elektra on Marvel’s Daredevil) stepped up in a moment’s notice to appear in his place, which was a good thing for ACE Comic Con and fans as well.
I reached out to ACE and both of the Shamus brothers to see what they felt went wrong. I wanted to know how they addressed the problems, however I have not had a response. Hopefully, this first convention was a learning experience, when ACE heads to Arizona they need to have better organization.