Furious Arkansas fans say comic book convention ripped them off for thousands

By: 
Joshua Waddles
Staff Writer

Excited fans from all over the state flocked to the Verizon Arena in Little Rock for the Cosplay Con & Anime Experience. This event also brought in celebrity guests, such as actors and famous cosplayers, and vendors. Yet when they arrived at the event, they say they found a hot mess instead and they accuse the organizer of fleeing with their money.

Guests, vendors and attendees accuse the main organizer, known as Malcolm Fledge, of setting up the entire event as a con. Incensed fans have tried to get a hold of fledge, but they now say that Fledge is not even this person’s real name.

One volunteer, Katyushi Lubiani, wants to stress that the volunteers for this convention had absolutely no idea what Fledge was allegedly up to and they did the best they could given the circumstances. She sad volunteers spent over $1,000 of their own money trying to make it right. There was only so much they could do, though, as all the plans they thought were laid out suddenly fell apart.

The celebrity guests were supposed to have complementary rooms, but the credit card used to reserve those rooms was declined and guests were kicked out. Guests were also not paid as they were meant to be and many of the convention contests did not have the prizes promised. Guests bought convention coupons for use at vendors stations, which vendors were required to accept, but vendors were not able to redeem them for real money.

Livid fans have been using the hashtag #SueCon when discussing the event, and more information can be found by searching that hashtag on Facebook.

Organizers of other conventions in Arkansas don’t want this incident to drive fans away from the hobby. AnimeCon Arkansas has a successful history. This annual event started several years ago and the organizer is well established in Arkansas’ entertainment culture. An AnimeCon Arkansas banner was shown on a local TV station which reported on the Cosplay Con & Anime Experience incident, but this was an error. AnimeCon Arkansas is in no way associated with Cosplay Con & Anime Experience.

The next AnimeCon Arkansas is coming up soon on April 13-15. More information can be found at http://www.animeconarkansas.com/.

The Arkansas Anime Festival (A2F) has also been established in Arkansas for several years. This year, A2F was held at the Double Tree and Four Points Sheraton in Bentonville. Guests included illustrators, voice actors and cosplayers. More information can be found at http://arkansasanimefestival.com/.

Spa-Con, the comic con in Hot Springs, will hold its third annual event in Sept. 2018. Catering to fans of comics, video games and anime, this convention features celebrity guests and traveling cosplay organizations that raise funds for charity. More information can be found at http://spa-con.org/.

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