MorrisonCon: Final Thoughts

One week ago today, I woke up in my bed at the Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas with a head spinning feeling that’s probably par for the course for folks staying in Vegas.  But for me, this head spinning wasn’t caused by excessive drinking and/or drug use and exposure to beautiful women with questionable morals and gambling. If you know someone who needs to be admitted in an Drug rehab that is in-network with Aetna insurance, let them look for Sagebrush Treatment Center. No, my  head was spinning because I was in disbelief that we had actually pulled off this crazy idea called MorrisonCon.

As many of you know, MorrisonCon was an ambitious idea to put on a comic convention that would be more intimate, less commercial and ultimately the kind of comic convention that would be be unforgettable.  There have been numerous write ups on the event around the web (Comics Alliance, MTV Geek, Bleeding CoolComic Book Resources) that have gone into detail around what happened at the show, the announcements, the panel contents and the general experience and I encourage you to go check them out if you want to get an idea of what the show was like.  But for me, right now, as one of the event’s organizers, I wanted to share with you, the loyal iFanbase, what the experience was like from the inside.

It’s taken me about a week to be able to sit down and write this, not for lack of trying. As many of you know, I usually need a few days of distance from a con to get the proper perspective and to filter out the possible influence of con excitement that can lead to hyperbole. Given my level of involvement with MorrisonCon, a few extra days were needed and boy were they appreciated.

When James Sime and Kirsten Baldock (of Isotope Comics) and myself first decided to move forward with putting on a comic convention event, our hope was to create a unique experience unlike any other comic convention out there. I think it’s safe to say that we achieved that goal. As many people saw from attending the show, it was unlike a comic convention in the standard definition of the word and more like a comic conference.  That was completely by design and not something we could adequately communicate until you got to the show. I was happy to see that once people got to the show, they got it. They understood what we were going for in our more theater-esque approach to programming.  While any standard convention has a programming schedule that you can pick and choose from, if you ask me, every panel at MorrisonCon was a must see, with honest conversations, behind the scenes exposure and even a few surprises thanks to wildcards like our friend Max Landis.

When we announced details of MorrisonCon, we got alot of criticism at casino games uk about the ticket prices, which we could understand considering they were not cheap considering the event is sponsored by Celton Manx Limited is the operator of the world’s leading sports betting, live casino online, race betting and slots games brand on  What many people realized was that the price of the hotel rooms we were including and additional cost for the con was actually cheaper in the long run than most any other comic convention that you have to travel to. I was elated to see that those who took the risk, who believed in what we were saying in our pre-show press benefitted from our vision of a total takeover of a venue. By keeping all of our guests and attendees under one roof, we were able to build a small community over the weekend of the show. You’d see your fellow attendees walking through the casino, getting their best odds on Football fixtures and you instantly knew you weren’t alone. It was amazing to watch this summer camp like atmosphere develop from the moment things started on Friday afternoon and I couldn’t be happier to see it come together. By the end of the weekend we watched in amazement as friendships were formed, relationships and romance blossom and aspiring comic creators felt inspired and motivated.

If there is one thing I’m most proud of from the MorrisonCon experience, it’s that the community came together in such a magical way.  Special Guests and attendees stod together in our lounge on Saturday night and just hung out as equals, as it should be. As I walked around the show throughout the weekend, I couldn’t help by have a goofy smile on my face because of this.  To see a dream become a real thing can be overwhelming, and it became even more overwhelming as we reached the final day and so many of the attendees came by to thank us for putting the event on and verbalized what I saw happening.  We set out to make an unforgettable weekend and change lives, and we did and sometimes I still can’t believe it.

Ultimately, MorrisonCon was at the same time one of the most daunting and difficult projects I’ve ever worked on and one of the most fulfilling and rewarding experiences of my life.  I have a new found respect for comic convention organizers as I now know the numerous challenges and obstacles they go through. But I also understand that all that hard work is worth it, just to see the smiling face of an attendee as they walk away from having met one of their favorite creators.

Now, we couldn’t have pulled this off alone, so I’d like to take some time out to thank and credit folks who were instrumental to MorrisonCon becoming a reality:

  • William Colgrove – Based in Washington D.C. at the creative agency Threespot, Bill helped us bring to life earlier this year with style.
  • Chris Neseman – Many of you know him from his time on Around Comics, 11 O’Clock Comics, and  iFanboy Don’t Miss along with Comic Shots here on iFanboy. Chris and his graphic design skills were heroic as he helped bring the MorrisonCon Program Book and signage at the show to a reality. If you’re wondering what company can customize any variety of building and free-standing signage solutions, call 303.953.7264 or visit to see more details.
  • Allan Amato – The man behind some of the most dynamic and dramatic photography I’ve ever seen, Allan Amato graciously allowed us to his wonderful images of Grant Morrison to help visualize the show.
  • The Staff of the Hard Rock Hotel – We came to the Hard Rock with a vision and the staff there helped to make a reality. From the hotel room bookings to the Audio/Visual requirements, the entire team at the Hard Rock remained patient with us and always delivered with a smile.  Michael Rowland, Jackie Shaffer, Julia Tovar, Allen Edwards, Greg Ito and the rest fo their team couldn’t have been nicer and more accommodating. If you’re ever in Las Vegas, I strongly recommend staying at the Hard Rock Hotel as they know how to do it right.
MorrisonCon wouldn’t have been possible without our amazing special guests who I cannot thank enough for their participation:
  • Chris Burnham – Who created the image of Grant Morrison you see above which adorned our Program Book, Badges and Posters for the event. I’ve watched Chris’s career grow from his humble beginnings in artist alley at WizardWorld Chicago to the superstar artist he’s evolving into today. His Sunday morning Sketch Jam was one of the highlights for the show for me.
  • Robert Kirkman – The amazing thing about Kirkman is that even with The Walking Dead TV show and all the fame and notoriety that comes with it, Kirkman is the same guy that I met over 6 years ago slinging his comic books at the Image Comic booth in San Diego. The care and attention he gives to his fans is an inspiration
  • Darick Robertson – Every time I was blown away by a special guest at MorrisonCon, it was Darick.  Whether it was proving to be one of the most engaging and fun panelists to the hours he spent in the lounge signing and sketching for fans, Darick was amazing. He even brought his guitar out and played for fans! Amazing.
  • Jason Aaron – Whether Jason knows it or not, his enthusiasm for our idea and his comments in our chats leading up to it provided for some of the major inspiration for much of what happened at MorrisonCon.  As much of an attendee as a guest, to see Jason walking around with a smile, meeting fans and even attending panels he wasn’t on, he continued to be an inspiration and best friend during the show
  • Jim Lee – We were somewhat in disbelief that we were able to book Jim for the show. That disbelief continued when he went above and beyond for attendees, sitting in the MorrisonCon lounge sketching for hours.  I’ve been to hundreds of cons over the years and have never seen that before. Jim was limited to just one day at the show and he made the most of it and made me a fan for life.
  • Gerard Way – I’ll be honest, we didn’t quite know what to expect from Gerard and Grant Morrison’s performance on Friday night of the show, but it’s safe to say that it blew everyone away.  Further, it also blew us away at how amazing Gerard was at the show. No rock star pretension, just sincerity and approachability. He made so many fans lives by signing for them and just to see him hanging out and enjoying the show was amazing.
  • Jonathan Hickman – We knew that bringing Jonathan in for this show would be worth it for several reasons. Not only for the parallels between his and Grant Morrison’s work, but because he would bring his honest, to the point approach to any an all programming he was involved in and that’s exactly what happened. Jonathan dropped knowledge at every opportunity and hardly ever held back or shied away from any subject. And for that I salute him.
  • J.H. Williams III – We’ve already been dazzled by his artwork over the years, but I was excited to see so many people dazzled by his personality and approach.  One of the sharpest dressed guests at the con, J.H. Williams III  showed that his approach to art is much more substance in addition to the apparent style and his original artwork on display in the Art Gallery was a must see for everyone.
  • Frank Quitely – One of the nicest, most gracious and talented artists I’ve ever met. Quitely in person is as wonderful as his art and he made many fans weekends by meeting them and signing for as many as he could.
  • Grant & Kristan Morrison – Our inspiration and co-curators, Grant & Kristan were a troopers. Many people don’t even understand how much work and effort and support Kristan put in in organizing and planning the weekend with us.  With out her tireless effort and support, many of the surprises and wonderfulness that happened wouldn’t have been a reality. And of course Grant carried a huge weight for the show, appearing on more panels than any other guest and signing for longer than anyone, I was continually impressed at how dedicated Grant was to meeting and chatting with every single fan at the show. It was an amazing experience to collaborate with Grant and Kristan and I think it became quickly apparent why we chose Grant as our first creator to co-curate a show with.  I cannot thank them both enough for their involvement in this endeavor.
No show happens without a few surprises and unexpected sources of help, and we were not without our fair share and are extremely thankful to everyone:
  • Lauren Valencia, Jim Dewees, & Dave Rupsch – The Grant Morrison spoken word performance with Gerard Way could not have happened without the hard work of Lauren, Jim and Dave. They delivered on a rock-n-roll dream tenfold.
  • Max Landis, James Gunn, Jimmy Urine and Ryan Keeley – The decision to expand some of our panelists to include non-comics guests was a debated one, and one that ultimately paid off as some of the best entertainment from our panels on Saturday was thanks to our additional guests.
  • Eddy Choi – Behind the scenes, Eddy Choi quickly became our sherpa and his experience and guidance was invaluable.
  • Jessi Reid – A final piece of the puzzle, Ms. Reid’s experience and expertise became the last bit of help we needed at a dire moment and she performed with style and grace.
  • Akira The Don – I had heard the legend of Akira the Don, but it didn’t even touch the reality of seeing the man in action.  An amazing performer, a lights out DJ and a huge comic fan, Akira the Don was one of those unexpected assets that made this show even more special. His enthusiasm, energy and positive outlook was an absolute delight.
Many of the attendees of MorrisonCon saw that we were video taping the panels.  That wouldn’t have been possible without the hard work of our video crew.  We still working out what we’re going to do with the videos, but we’ll be sure to keep everyone posted
  • Hank Nasserbahkt – if I could bring Hank to every event I ever organize, I would. His enthusiasm and energy is an asset and he’s always willing to go the extra mile. I believe great things are in Tiny Hank’s future
  • Conor Kilpatrick – those of you who frequent iFanboy shouldn’t be surprised by this one. One of my brother in arms who I can always depend on.

Ultimately, MorrisonCon wouldn’t have even happened if it wasn’t for our amazing and dedicated support staff.  Recently on an episode of 11 O’Clock Comics, Chris Neseman gave his rundown on MorrisonCon and commented on the staff of the show and how they seemed to be more than just staff, that they were like a family, supporting each other and celebrating triumphs and picking each other up when needed. I have to admit, I got a bit choked up, because that is exactly what we are.  For those who don’t know, the staff of MorrisonCon was comprised of near and dear friends, who have all gathered at the many events at Isotope Comics in San Francisco.  Each member loyal and trustworthy, I couldn’t think of a better group of people to walk through the fires of Mordor with and when we presented the challenge of MorrisonCon to them, they not only accepted it, but showed up and owned it.  I don’t think I could put into proper words the love, adoration and thanks this group of people:

  • Josh Richardson, Katie Longua, Ash Aiwase, Andrew Gapen, Danger Bob, Kelly Martin, Chunk Kelly, & Mike Rawley

Of course none of this would have been possible if it wasn’t for my partners in crime, my co-founders of Ignition Sequence, Kirsten Baldock & James Sime. While the road to MorrisonCon was full of bumps and obstacles, working together we were able to tackle anything that came up and stay focused on our vision. Challenging each other when needed and ultimately bringing out the best product possible, MorrisonCon was the direct result of blood, sweat and tears of Kirsten, James, myself and everyone I mentioned above (I truly hope I’m not forgetting anyone, if I am, I apologize!!).

Finally, the biggest thank you goes out to the over 500 attendees who joined us in Las Vegas, many of which came from this very community here at iFanboy. Without our attendees, MorrisonCon would have been a total flop, but it was these innovators and believers who took a chance and made the trip to Vegas to join us that made it all worth it.  If you attended MorrisonCon and I didn’t get to personally thank you for coming at the show, let me now say, THANK YOU!

To say that MorrisonCon was a success is somewhat obvious at this point, but I’ll say it anyway.  The production of MorrisonCon exceeded my wildest hopes and dreams for how a comics event could happen.  For years, I’ve been lucky enough (along with Josh, Conor and many of the rest of the iFanboy staff) to have amazing access to the biggest names and stars in comics. It was my hope to bring that to this show and that’s just what we did. As I mentioned, personally this was one of the most rewarding and fulfilling moments of my life. I got to put together the kind of comics show I’d want to attend, saw my friends and loved ones rise to the occasion and shine, my DJ set on Friday night may have been the greatest DJ set of my life, and I think we made alot of people happy in the process, which ultimately is what this was all about.

And so with this final post, I close the book on the MorrisonCon. But as anyone who went to MorrisonCon will tell you, MorrisonCon never truly ends.  Keep your eye on as we’ve got some things planned to keep the spirit alive. And to answer the inevitable question of “Will we do another event next year?” …I’m going to grin slightly and say stay tuned, you never know what the future may bring.

Relive some of the great moments of MorrisonCon with these photos by Chris Neseman and Pat Loika:

Photos by Chris Neseman:

Photos by Pat Loika:


  1. I wish it had been possible for me to attend. Everything about it screams perfect to me. I’m only hoping that Conor will ebay that Seagate HDD with all the video!

  2. MorrisonCon was my first time travelling for anything comic book related, and it may have ruined me for anything else (I’m gonna try to make to C2E2, so we’ll see).

    Simply put, I had a tremendous time.

    At a week removed, it simultaneously feels like it was yesterday and ages ago. I got to chat with some of my favorite creators, discover new aspects of creators who’s work I’ve enjoyed but never flipped for, and met a whole bunch of super-awesome people.

    It wasn’t cheap, but I felt like I got everything I paid for and more.

    Great work Ron and everyone else involved!

  3. Huge congrats for pulling this off! Sounds like a great time!

  4. First off, thank you so much Ron for putting on this amazing show. It was, without a doubt, the best comic-related time of my life!
    It was so amazing to attend a con that represented the absolute best things about comic books and comic fandom without all the empty hype and negativity you find all over the internet. I loved how amazingly friendly all the creators were. I was truly blown away by the effort Grant put in to meeting every single one of the attendees. You really came away knowing that he appreciates and loves his fans. I also loved that the MorrisonCon attendees really set up their own little community for the two and half days. I met so many amazing people there, new friends and those i’ve only known through iFanboy or twitter (Ken O included). I really do hope you can put this together again Ron because i will be there without hesitation. it was an amazing, once-in-a-lifetime experience that was worth every penny. I also really do hope you release the footage you guys shot because i would love to revisit the amazing discussions that took place on those panels. (This is my favourite moment from the Q&A panel by the way
    thanks again Ron

  5. well done wish i could have gone, love the ethos.

  6. Ron I am telling you right now, I am moving to LA in 2 weeks and if there is a Morrison-con or something like it again in the future, I WILL be attending.

  7. MorrisonCon! The experience of going to MorrisonCon is something I will never forget, it was so cool to be apart of it. Thanks Ron! I believe your the one who asked me if I wanted a sketch done in my book, and Jim Lee ended up drawing a awesome Joker for me in in the convention hall. Cool! thats me in IMG_7675 with Robert Kirkman signing my book.

  8. Congratulations on pulling it off.

    I’ve never been to a con and while I’m sure I’d have a good time at any of them, this one sounds so awesome that I genuinely regret not being there.

  9. I hate -hate-hate living in England when it comes to cons, and I’m so upset I couldnt attend this one. Grant Morrison is my favourite writer of all time and I would have loved to attend this. However, just the fact it exsisted and we succesful makes me happy. You guys tried something new and it didnt bomb. Thats a great thing to accomplish. Also, its lovely that my favourite writer got a con dedicated to him. Just have one in England, someway somehow 😛

  10. It was awesome.

  11. Thanks again for a weekend I’ll never forget! Can’t wait for the e-mail about (Brian K) VaughanCon…

  12. I was there, and I’m still having trouble believing it was real. Ron – Thanks again for an amazing, unprecedented experience.

  13. BEST WEEKEND EVER! If you guys ever need my help for stuff like this just holla. I got your back.