San Jose, CA
San Jose Convention Center
8/27/16 – 8/28/16
I have had the opportunity to now regularly attend various conventions for about 4-5 years now up and down California. This weekend I had the privilege to cover Heroes & Villains in San Jose, CA for LRMOnline.com and I must say that Heroes and Villain’s is unlike any show I have attended.
Heroes and Villains Fan Fest is put on by the same group that puts on Walker Stalker shows across various US Cities. It offers fans the rare opportunity to interact with various celebrities from their favorite shows. What was great about this show is the wide variety of actors from different shows like Agents of Shield (Chloe Bennet and Clark Gregg), Arrow (Stephen Amell, John Barrowman, David Ramsey, Colin Donnell, Katie Cassidy, Willa Holland, Paul Blackthorne, Charlotte Ross, Echo Kellum, Katrina Law and Amy Gumenick), The Flash (Robbie Amell, Candice Patton, Rick Cosnett and Teddy Sears), Legends of Tomorrow (Brandon Routh, Caity Lotz Johnathon Schaech and Ciara Renee) and The Walking Dead (Michael Rooker and Chandler Riggs). There were other stars there from various other shows like Once Upon a Time but if you are interested in the rest of the lineup feel free to visit their website. Point being that there is going to be a few people on this list that you as a fan would love the opportunity to meet and Heroes and Villain Fan Fest brings them all together for you under one roof. There are also floor vendors who offer all types of pop culture products as well as pretty cool inflatable slides, zip lines and bounce houses for the kids. Throughout the day there are panels featuring the guests from each show, focusing a lot on fan questions. One other cool thing is a stage in the middle of the floor where the actors do one on one interviews and you as a fan can get pretty close almost making you feel like you’re part of the conversation.
Now of course all of this comes at a price. General admission alone is going to run you about $40-$45 dollars depending on what day you attend. This does not include any autographs or photos with any of the guests. There are a few levels of “fast passes” for example the VIP gives you early access to the floor, shorter wait times for autographs and photos and priority seating at panels for both days. But this pass comes at a price of $220 each which I found kind of ridiculous. Not to mention that most guests photos OR autographs average at about $40-$60 each, and the photo ops run at about $55-90 per celebrity not to mention the group shots. With that all said this is what I discovered, that the excitement of a fan meeting their favorite TV actor trumps the cost. The line for early VIP access was full of excited fans waiting to get in, and inside fans traveled from one booth to another getting items autographs taking selfies and giving gifts to their favorite actors. Not only that I found that many had signed up for multiple photo ops throughout the weekend. As I talked to fans, price was never as much as an issue as I thought it would be or should be. What was the big deal?
I myself wanted to also fully embrace the Heroes and Villains Fan Fest experience so I picked my favorite actress at the event, Caity Lotz aka Black Canary aka White Canary aka Sara Lance. Having VIP access courtesy of the show, I was able to get in early and pick up a Black Canary Pop figure for Caity to sign for me. As I saw her line start to grow so I went over to the VIP line which of course was much shorter than the general admission, the next level up the GOLD line was even shorter. As she arrived with her awesome dog, I realized that there was a level of excitement in meeting one of my favorite stars that I wasn’t ready for, but then again looking around I was not the only one feeling that way. When it was my turn up I was at a complete loss of words but lucky for me Caity was great at breaking the ice with some Legends of Tomorrow talk. Later that day when it was time for my photo op with Caity, it was once again time to form another line and quickly get put through thanks to my VIP access. This experience was different as everyone was being moved though line a factory line “next, next, next” not a lot of time for interaction. So although the photo itself was cool the experience at booth was a lot more intimate allowing you time for a quick conversation. When it was all set and done I understood a whole lot better why folks would throw so much cash down as it may be a one in a life time opportunity. I mean really when else are most people going to run into Stephen Amell? Not only that but thinking about it, I can’t really put a price on the excitement I felt in being able to talk to and take a photo with Caity Lotz (for example) by the end I couldn’t complain about the price.
So the question stands, is it worth it? I would say if you’re a diehard fan of any the actors at the show, yes it is definitely worth it and the thousands of people that attended the show would all agree. Heroes and Villains Fan Fest offers an experience unlike any comic convention where lines are plagued with people who maybe don’t even know who is signing “but there is a long line so he/she must be famous”. Most fans that come to this show have a plan of who then want to see and by the end of the day most people I saw had completed their tasks. Something that sometimes you can’t do at most comic book conventions due to limited time signings, not the case at Heroes and Villains, you have all weekend to get it done. I personally enjoyed the show and if it’s coming to a town near you I would highly recommend you check it out, especially if you’re a fan of any of the guests that will be appearing. Visit their website for locations and dates.