No Cosplay, No Fun

By: JD Hardin

Cosplay by: Christina McDaniel

Photo by: Alex+Diana Photography

Elite Con is a small convention held in Tampa, Florida. Just like most conventions, Elite is themed toward a specific market, collectibles. Just like any other Con worthy theme “collectibles” is a term that could most certainly be interpreted in more ways than one. That being said, a convention based on collectibles has room for a great deal more from just attendees.

Word reached us that Elite Con is banning cosplay on the grounds that they want to focus on collectibles. While I understand turning away a cosplayer from having a booth or holding a panel, banning attendees from dressing as their favorite character is a little on the side of totalitarianism.

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The above photo and comment on was posted on the event’s Facebook and has caused quite the stir. Outraged fans from across the country are scrambling to make their voices heard. The contempt of the nerd community was clearly felt by event organizers who posted the following in response.

“Hello, we are well aware that this rule is not desirable to some collectors, however the intention of this post was not to argue the merits for or against having cosplay at our convention. It was simply to make the rule known prior to the event so that no one makes the trip out and is denied access to the event. There is no cosplay and no exceptions. If your primary concern is the allowance of cosplay and not the premium collectibles we will offer then our show may not be the right one for you. Our focus is solely on the collectibles as we have stated many times. We respect your decision not to attend and ask that you respect our decision to be a different kind of event even though you may disagree with us.”

The idea that cosplaying fans would detract from the focus of vendors is one that The Nerdery cannot comprehend. Cosplaying has played a massive part of conventions since their inception, and to outlaw it at such an event is purely absurd. It was obvious that Elite felt the heat of disgruntled fans however, the organizer show little sign of sympathy….

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“OK, so as it appears the outcry will continue I want to consolidate to one post if you would please be so kind. While we continue to hope for a respectful dialogue it appears that may be asking too much based on many of the posts we have received. We do not wish to suppress your opinion of dissent, we only ask once again that you try and keep the comments civil.

Since we cannot respond to all of your posts individually just want to address some common themes that have come up. We are not trying to engage in argument but simply to clarify some points.

1. No offense was intended, plain and simple. We have not said one single derogatory word about cosplaying and any such negative inferences are inaccurate. We have many friends who cosplay 🙂

2. Our show was named Elite “Con” meaning convention or gathering of people.

3. We have made it known since day one in our posts, videos and website that this would be an event focused solely on the collectibles and not cosplay, autographs or panels. So no deception there as suggested. No one needs a refund because it was made known right up front many months ago and many times since then.

4. While we appreciate the concern for low attendance, we are a small show in a small venue that could not hold all of you even if we were to have cosplaying. The larger conventions are better equipped to handle that volume of attendees and activities that are not vending related. Our show is focused on comics, action figures, lego, die-cast, funko pop and artwork. We honestly do not have anything in the way of cosplay vendors.

5. The “Elite” name is in reference to the collectibles. Not elitist even though that is convenient. Our show is designed for collectors who are seeking items they are not likely to find at a “flea market” “garage sale” and yes our dealers are regulating what they bring to meet a higher standard and at fair prices. We have posted hundreds of pictures and some videos to show attendees exactly what to expect. So again no deception here.

6. The people who have expressed interest in attending our show (a lot more now actually since this went kinda viral) generally like the idea of having the option to attend a non cosplay event and do not mean that as an insult to anyone. There are so many shows that do accommodate cosplay I am not entirely sure why so much backlash to just one that does not. To say that we cannot have an event called a “con” unless we have cosplay is debatable and we will agree to disagree here.

7. We have put together and worked very hard towards a show that we feel directly meets the requests of so many collectors that we have spoken to over the years. Our show is not about excluding anyone but if attire is paramount over the collectibles then we agree with you that this may not be a show you want to attend. It was not designed to simply draw large crowds there are shows for that. It is meant to service a specific niche of collector who sees the collectibles as paramount over the attire.

So, we know this breaks from all accepted conventional wisdom these days but that is our show and we hope those who attend will be pleased. One final note, and then the bashing can resume. A lot more bullying going on here than productive commentary. That is unfortunate. Best Regards to you all. We honestly mean no ill will to any of you. Even the bashers 🙂 By the way, love the memes!”

Call me an extremist, but that whole spiel seems pretty apathetic towards fans. This idea may be obtuse, but it seems that Elite Con has taken a very elitist view on the entire aspect of cosplay.

So, let’s look at this. Elite Con is a collectible convention allowing fans and retailers buy, sell and trade higher end collectibles with each other. There are no panels, signings, or guests of any kind. That’s rather uncommon for a convention, but I can go with that. Personally, that sound more like a swap meet or collectibles show,  like how they’ve billed it in the past (see above pictures), but who am I to say what they call their event. Elite wants to focus solely on collectibles and (apparently) has no intention to expand to the above segments that many conventions consider a staple. Okay, not what I would do, but it’s not my circus and they’re not my monkeys. They are banning attendees from wearing cosplay because it would detract from the collectibles. WHAT?!?!?!? What’s next? Will they tell me that I can’t wear Converse All-Stars on the basis that they’re sports memorabilia? I’m sorry, but that’s insane. Honestly, if Elite Con is restricting wardrobe (don’t lie to yourself, cosplay is wardrobe) they should call for a specific dress code.

What’s worse, is that the event staff continued their condescending tone through their Facebook page. It would seem that they are the cool kids on the playground and you can’t play on the jungle gym unless you’re in their club.

“Once again addressing refunds. No passholder has requested a refund. No passholder has been denied a refund. We have zero complaints from actual ticket holders. They are 100% aware of what the event is about. Nothing deceptive or nefarious here. Tons of photos and video showing literally what to expect and not expect at the event on our facebook page. We understand you dont like our name, duly noted! Thank you to all and goodnight!”

Come on, just say it! “F*** you! We’re cool without you!!”

Well, the public outrage has definitely stated it’s opinion, and Elite Con has released theirs.  They’re perfectly okay with any harm this may do their event, so be it. It would certainly seem that they won’t have much growth for quite a while.

One more thing, having been exploring their site for some time now, there’s not a single word on the page as to cosplay. So the only place this rule seems to be posted is on their Facebook page. Which, is not their entire constituency. It seems a little more screwed up now.

Terms & Conditions:

Attendee’s Terms & Conditions:
– Your Registration Fee for the 2017 EliteCon is non-refundable, unless event is cancelled by organizers.
– You are permitted to bring two comic shortboxes worth of comics OR two medium size file boxes of toys, Pops!, or other collectibles as part of your access to the Trading Corner.  These limits are set per paid attendee.  Abuse of these limits will subject attendee to explusion from the event.  If you wish to bring more, please contact us about becoming a vendor.
– EliteConFlorida LLC. is indemnified from liability for any transaction into which you engage with any one of our vendors…we’re all big boys and girls, and you should know how to take the proper precautions prior to entering into a financial transaction by now.
Please contact us for Vendor Terms and Conditions.

EliteCon’s origins are born from the Central Florida Comic Swap Meet….

In 2010, a group of serious comic collectors got together at one of the member’s houses and held their own little “convention”. Everyone bought items to sell and trade, as well as show-off.  It was a relaxed environment, removed from the crowds of comic shows, with incredibly rare vintage material being passed around for all to see.  Over the years, the group attending the Central Florida Swap Meet has grown, and has included a veritable who’s-who of advanced comic collectors and influential people in the hobby.  Deals were made, rare pieces changed hands, and a good time was had by all.  Now, we’re organizing an event with even broader appeal, and reaching out to advanced collectors from other cross-over areas of collecting (Legos, Action Figures, Pops!, pop culture art, etc.) in order to create a collectibles convention experience like no other.  Now you too can meet and network with other serious collectors and expand your own collecting pursuits.

EliteCon is everything you want in a collectibles convention, and nothing you don’t.

EliteCon is a premium collectibles marketplace, catering specifically to advanced collectors of certified and raw comic books, toys, Pops!, Legos, and pop-culture related artwork.  We strive to recruit only the finest collectibles vendors to meet the demands of our discriminating attendees.  Our vendors are asked to bring only uncommon, desirable, and hard-to-find material in the $50-$50,000 price range.   We also ask our attendees to fill out a survey as part of the registration process, on their collecting focus(es) and buying habits.  We aggregate the responses from all of our attendees and provide it to our vendors several weeks before the convention, so they can better tailor their show inventory to you, the customer.
And unlike other conventions, we encourage attendees to bring material to the show to trade or sell, either directly to our vendors or to other attendees.  While we know many collectors don’t have any interest in becoming dealers, we all have items that drift out of our collecting focus or are upgrades or duplicates to others we already own …EliteCon can help you pass along those items in a free and open marketplace atmosphere.
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