Alright, kids. Let’s talk about Dashcon. First and foremost, no, I was not there; I was in Tampa, FL, for Metrocon, a much larger and much nicer show with fantastic people, great local food, and humidity that rivals Satan’s asscrack. Even from a thousand miles away (literally), I could still tell that Dashcon would be a trainwreck from the start. I did not, however, foresee that it would be several trainwrecks on top of one another, punctuated with Wall Street-level fraud and ball pit balls.

First off, the idea of a Tumblr convention is a dumb one to begin with. Tumblr is just a social media/blogging tool; a convention theme that’s tenuous at best. As one of my friends on FB put it: “Why not have a Geocities convention while we’re at it?” At least that would attract a clientele old enough to buy things from vendors. And while we’re on the subject of vendors/artists, there isn’t a single one there that I don’t feel sorry for. They were lied to about attendance, had to deal with relentless headaches from inept but otherwise well-intentioned staff, and probably heard “I can’t afford this” way more times than anyone cares to mention, and I’d be surprised if anyone turned a worthwhile profit. But I digress…

A simple glancing of the rules would have been my red flag to jump ship before forking over any money at all for this show. I fill out applications for convention artist alleys (and on rare occasions, dealer’s room applications; If you want to know the difference, just email me), and this requires a substantial amount of reading, most of which is stuff I’ve read a million times, but I still read it over for special stipulations. The fact that there was a rule in the rulebook that essentially nullifies or changes any and all other rules at the staff’s convenience is possibly the biggest red flag there could ever be; It was, ostensibly, the staff’s “wishing for more wishes” clause.

I’m not completely heartless, though. I understand that the attendees for this show were primarily on the younger side of the convention demographic and just plain didn’t know any better, and you can’t really blame them, as this whole debacle fits under the “live and learn” category. My first convention was Anime Central 2003, and I assumed all conventions were just as big and extravagant. Believe me, I learned that was not the case very quickly.

This brings me to the staff. What they lacked in quantity, they also lacked in quality. This is not to say they didn’t care or were rude to attendees (claims are being made on both sides of the argument for that), but to say they bit off more than they could chew is a massive understatement. For one, the entire staff should not be so small that it can fit in a minivan; it should be able to fill a school bus. From what I’ve read from former staffers or people attempting to be on staff and panels, those in charge treated it as if one was trying to join the Illuminati. If you’ve been to any decently run cons recently and still have your program guide, chances are you’ll find a page or two (or three) outlining the staff and who is in charge of what areas; department heads, treasurers, con chairs, etc. You’ll find that the list is most likely larger than roughly half a dozen people. You’ll also find that if you were to track these people down via Facebook or Tumblr or email or whatever, you’ll probably learn that they’ve been to many conventions in the past, which cannot be said by many of the staffers for Dashcon.

Bear in mind that I’ve so far made no mention of the $17,000 “now you see it, now you don’t” magic trick they pulled within the first few hours of the show. That happened, too.  In fact, let me summarize and wrap this up, as my coffee’s getting cold:

Even if they hadn’t swindled $17K from their attendees and online donations…

Even if they didn’t have multiple guests walk out on them for the inability to pay…

Even if they didn’t lie through their teeth about attendance numbers…

Even if they didn’t have a rule in their rulebook that was essentially a big middle finger to everyone but themselves…

Even if they hadn’t generated a meme on par with “arrow to the knee”…

Even if they didn’t need to post an explanation/half-assed apology on their blog days later…

None of this would change the fact that Dashcon was a terrible idea, both in theory and in practice.

Thank you all for reading this extensive blog post that normally doesn’t accompany my comics. If you’re attending Anime Iowa next weekend, I’ll see you there with new merchandise.