Pros: Decent crowds! Independent convention. Staff at the con are decent and receptive to change. The surrounding area is not super expensive to stay at. Load in/out is decent, Bartle Hall is easy to navigate. VERY generous booth space, lots of space behind, easy to set up, wide aisles but not too wide. Reasonable table costs (250-300-ish depending on if you grab early bird prices)
Cons: Sales are unreliable, I've made anywhere between $600-1500. Contact before the convention is spotty at best, you don't get table assignments til the last second, information dribbles in. Some of Bartle hall needs some WORK, particularly the bathrooms. They're clean but held together with duct tape, very few stalls, constantly an issue. Big alley which can be an issue if you're in the back part of it. At the front of the hall there is often annoying admobiles at the top of artist alley which blast music and really pushy businesses who are sponsors for the show.
- Use the south loading dock closest to the kauffman center for load in to avoid elevator lines but prepare for a hill to kick your butt on the way there.
- Placement in the alley SEEMS to be based on seniority, or at the very least they don't bother to scramble up artists each year. If you're a repeating artist, they just seem to move you to the top of the excel spreadsheet (where the good tables are) are put new folks in at the back. So if you're at a bad table year 1 it will likely improve year 2.
- I don't think the applications are juried at all, so first come first serve. They've had early bird prices for the last few years which I highly recommend. Don't panic though, it takes a while to fill up.
TLDR: Absolute yes for locals, may be good if you keep travel costs low for out of towners.
Venue: Huge, beautiful convention center. It was a little overwhelming but handled the crowds well. I had plenty of space behind my booth and load in/out went very smoothly. Had lots of food options in the con, too (though naturally pricey).
Staff: Helpful and friendly! Everyone knew where everything was when asked (which is pretty impressive with a venue this size). I didn't run into any problems personally.
Layout: Not the best layout for artists due in part to the sheer number of artists and exhibits. I got a lucky spot near the dealers area, but others along the back wall seemed a bit slower from what I could see.
Attendance: REALLY HIGH - like 60,000 easily, it's massive.
Affordability: Kansas City is pretty cheap if you know what you're doing, but as a comic con the table price is high. Plus- attendees were more keen on spending money on dealers goods and autographs than artists, in general. Lots of folks looking for smaller, cheaper goods, not prints or big purchases. Can't say it's worth traveling too far to.
Conclusion: A very pop-culture oriented comic con with lots of celebs. HUGE venue with LOTS of artists and vendors so it was easy to get literally lost in the crowd. Sales did not reflect the ludicrous amount of people present (or hefty table price), but attendees were pretty open to hearing about indie projects which was nice. Still, for artists: I'd travel from out of state only if you can cut costs a LOT one way or another.