Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Alamo City Comic Con 2014 REVIEW

With all the momentum Alamo City Comic Con started with in its first year, expectations were high for ACCC 2.0. The conventions organizers didn’t disappoint. There was only one major fix that the con needed, more space. Last year the floor was closed due to overcrowding. This year, one hall was dedicated to dealers and celebrity autographs, one hall for artist ally, another for cosplayers, wrestlers and Stan Lee, and more indoor room for registration. Basically, it was two to three times the size as last year. And it was still crowded, even on Sunday. Adding a preview night for 3 Day and VIP Pass holders also helped keep the registration lines from getting too crazy.

As with any big convention, you can’t make it to every panel. And I’m just going to give a brief description of the panels I attended because there was a lot going on.

75 Years of Batman with Neal Adams, Denny O’Neal and David Finch
Gonna be honest, I was not a Bat comic reader so while the stories were interesting, I’m sure Bat fans got more out of it. What was really interesting was that Neal Adams REALLY didn’t feel to warm and fuzzy about the recent Man Of Steel film. REALLY. He does think MARVEL has a good handle on filmmaking. All three also talked about how they started with Batman.

Spotlight on Kevin Eastman
Kevin Eastman gave a Power Point presentation about the origins and history of the Ninja Turtles up to the current film. There were a lot of great behind the scenes pictures (the 80s were not kind fashion wise). Eastman told the tale of how the Turtles were born, almost as a joke, and then how the comic went from a limited circulation to exploding almost overnight and then was picked up to become the animated series that invaded the world, and then the feature films, and proceeded to talk about the current incarnations.

30 Years of Transformers with original voice cast
Much like last year’s voice actor panel, this one was good. Paul Eiding, Gregg Berger, and Dan Galvizan fielded Transformers questions and couldn’t help but speak in the voices a lot of us grew up with. Of course the fans couldn’t help request these guys speak in those voices either. Easlit one of the most entertaing panels.

Costume Contest
There were three costume contests, one for each day and all sponsored by Sideshow Collectables, who offered up some limited edition toys as prizes. This first contest was a little informal, and was hosted by the Comic Book Men (Mike Zapsic, Ming Chen, and Brian Johnson).

Saturday (aka 80s Day)

Weekend At Burnie’s with Andrew McCarthy, Jonathon Silverman and Terry Kiser
Did you know that Andrew McCarthy directs episodes of Orange Is The New Black? Kiser did a lot of the sunts as the dead Burnie, some of which we would assume was a dummy being thrown around. He racked up a few injuries during production of the original film and the sequel. Which by the way, none of the actors believed Weekend At Burnie’s 2 was a real thing that was happening pretty much until production started.

Cobra Kai with William Zabka and Martin Kove
I was wondering if when this panel started there would be shouts of “Mercy is for the weak” and “put him in a body bag” from the audience. I was not disappointed. Both also appreciated the joke that Johnny was the true hero of The Karate Kid that was started in the TV series How I Met Your Mother. There was also a lot more backstory that never made it to the film, such as the reason Kries became evil (a Vietnam vet who became bitter after being denied the chance for victory) and even a backstory to Cobra Kai that never made it out of the idea phase. (They were originally a band of pirates in the orient.)

Weird Science with Athony Michael Hall and Ilan Mitchel Smith
Both Anthony Michael Hall and Ilan Michael Smith have grown up. Ilan still sounds like Gray though. Most questions were for Hall about Weird Science and the other John Hughes films he appeared in. Interesting facts… Fats, who appeared in the blues bar scene, got his start in acting when he was homeless and helped run down a thief who stole a camera from a film set. Also, Anthony Michael Hall’s charters in John Hughes films always has a girlfriend who lives in Canada.

Walter Koenig and Nichelle Nichols
Nichelle Nichols really like to tell the story of how NASA hired her to recruit the first female astronauts. Nearly every question she answered circled back to her job with NASA. It wasn’t bad though. Her and Koenig were great. He also expressed that his role on Babylon 5, though only in a dozen episodes, was more fulfilling than his work on Star Trek.

The Walking Dead with Scott Wilson, Iron-E Singleton, Brighton Sharbino, and Kyla Kennedy
Kyla Kennedy admits that she would be the first to go in a real zombie apocalypse. She also almost stole the panel nearly becoming the moderator. As with other members of the cast, they are grateful for the fans and really enjoy interacting with them.

La Bamba with Lou Diamond Phillips and Esai Morales
Again, the crowd did not disappoint. If you wanted to know the story behind Bob moments like “Richie!” and “Eat it!” this was your panel. These were also among the things that the crowd shouted out. Philips and Morales have a good chemistry and neither expected the film to become as big and influential as it became. Phillips also announced that despite cancellation, Longmire is being shopped around to different networks.

Costume Contest
The second of the costume contests was just as fun and had more participants. Convention organizer Alfredo “Apple” De La Fuente presented The Jonathon Vela Trident Award, which will be awarded every year to a cosplayer for service to his or her community.

It is in honor of a local San Antonio cosplayer Jonathon Vela, aka Aquaman San Antonio, who passed away earlier this year.

This first Trident Award was presented to Jonathan's family.


George Takei
George Takai talked about his play “aaa” and how there is no animosity between him and William Shatner, despite Shatners… drama. He put it this way, every family has that weird uncle who is… weird, but he is still family and is loved. Shatner is the “weird uncle of Trek.” And he described the Trek family just as that, a family.

There were other panels on Sunday and a final cosplay contest. But I kinda had to tap out. After working all week, as fun as the con was, it was crowded (even on Sunday) and I was getting tired. One more highlight was interviewing Val Hochberg, artist and writer of the online comic Mystery Babylon. It’s a great comic which you can by the trade paperbacks for the first two chapters. A full review is can be found HERE.
Alamo City Comic Con 2.0 was great. Expanding to additional halls solved the overcrowding problem from year one. And even with the extra space of two more convention halls, it was still pretty packed. The signature element of this con is putting the comics and artist first and keeping the comics in the con. The second signature element are the unique panels. Who would have thought to reunite the casts of classic films from the 1980s?

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