Naturally, I wound up comparing XCON World V to the I-CON convention in Long Island, NY (reviewed several times here). The main difference was clear as soon as I walked in: scale. I-CON is a massive convention, help throughout several buildings on the SUNY Stony Brook College campus. XCON World V took place in the one auditorium in the Myrtle Beach Convention Center -- and virtually everything happened in that auditorium, from the various businesses and celebrities to S.C.A. battles, the videogame tournament, and the panels. As for the latter, the "panel room" was an area separated from the rest of the auditorium by some blue curtains, and every panel was help there. That's right: There was only one panel at a time through the entire convention!
As (relatively) small as XCON World V was, it was still quite enjoyable. They had a nice variety of guests, from Margot Kidder (Superman, The Amityville Horror) and Giorgio A. Tsoukalos (Ancient Aliens: The Series) to animators Bob Camp (Ren & Stimpy) and C. Martin Croker (adult Swim), to several people from the original Night of the Living Dead; there was even a contestant from this season's Face/Off! The vendors had everything from classic toys to original artwork to information about local groups and events.
As for the panels, where there weren't that many I did get to two of them -- and enjoyed them both! "Independent Filmmaking 101" was run by Bianca Barrett of Klucking Studios, and she gave a great description of how they make films the extremely low-budget way. ("We're not a low-budget studio -- we're a no-budget studio!") The next day, Kamp and Croker shared their tales of decades working in animation, from the early days (both began as caricaturists) to the state of animation today (mainly that they would both love to work for Pixar).
And naturally, there was a great variety of folks in costume. While plenty of anime characters wandered the floor, I have to think that the recent success of The Avengers contributed to the large number of superheroes wandering about. There were also some characters from Doctor Who (including a rolling, talking Dalek) and several videogame folks. As for vehicular celebrity, XCON World V has the DeLorean from Back to the Future and the Ghostbusters' station wagon from Ghostbusters.
From talking with organizers of and attendees at XCON World V, my impression is that this convention is growing. This year's show was apparently far bigger than last year's, and they have hopes of getting more rooms and a wider variety of events for next year. Hopefully next year I'll be lecturing there; I'll definitely be attending the next XCON World.