Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Alamo City Comic Con AAR

2015 is the third year of the Alamo City Comic Con. The Con has maintained the momentum of the first two years with celebrity guests and artists. Attendance was high again and the amount of cosplay has been stepped up yet again. Not everything was smooth though. Over all, it was still a good con. More peole showed up in cosplay and the crowd seemed to be bigger than previous years. Also the layout of the floor was better, making navigating the con easier. Now let’s start with the panels. Unfortunately with most big conventions, you can’t sit in on every panel you want to see.



There are three big reasons why I have to respect Kristen Passmore. One, she cosplays. Two, she is a teenager hosting her own panel at a large convention. Three, she is treating her disability as a tool to spread understanding and give courage to other people with disabilities. With the assistance of her father and cousin, she talks about how she and her family turned a wheel chair into an opportunity to make some great cosplay. At ACCC, her was made up to look like the chair of Davros, the creator of the Daleks in Doctor Who.


Claudia Wells, the original Jennifer Parker in Back to the Future, and James Tolkan, Principal Stricklend, spoke about their experiences making the Back to the Future films and answered audience questions. Tolkan had some difficulty hearing some questions, but took the time to stand up and make a more personal approach at addressing questions direct towards him. He enjoyed talking about Back to the Future, Top Gun, and even Problem Child 2. Though Wells was only in the first film of the franchise, she enjoyed the panel and had fun with the audience, answering questions and not so subtly plugging her website and men’s store, Armani Wells in Studio City, CA.


Billy Boyd (Merry Brandybuck) and John Noble (Lord Denathor) were joined by Manu Bennet (Azog The Defiler). All three had fun in the panel. Boyed had to keep dodging requests to sing as he didn’t remember lyrics enough to do the songs justice. He was still appreciative of the questions though. Noble tends to look serious, but he has a good sense of humor and has fun with his costars. Bennet is a fan of his fans an enjoyed talking about how a lot of his work on The Hobbit was mostly doing motion capture in front of a green screen.


Kristain Nairn (Hodor) spoke about Game of Thrones and his music. Nairn was asked a lot about Game of Thrones. Unfortunately a lot of the questions were about future episodes which he didn’t know anything about and/or could not answer. He also spoke about his primary career as a DJ and about his other great obsession, the game Warhammer.



Lawrence Gillard (Bob) spoke for most of the panel and was joined later by Jon Bernthal (Shane) and Michael Rooker (Merle). Gillard spoke a lot about his time on the show and about his role on The Wire. Bernthall and Rooker showed up close to the end of the panel. But they showed up with enough time to have fun. Bernthal went along with one woman’s request for a hug. Rooker then brought her back up on stage to get hugged by him and Gillard.


Pro Cosplayers Ivy Doom Kitty, AniMia, and Leeana Vamp answered questions and spoke about their experiences in cosplay. The fielded questions about technical aspects of cosplaying such as tips and techniques for constructing costumes and about body positivity. Each spoke personally about how they started in cosplay and both the negative and positive experiences they have had.


One of the big events of any con is the costume contest. It was hosted by Comic Book Men’s, Ming Chen, and cosplayer, Leeana Vamp. The judges were Ivy Doom Kitty, AniMia, and Krystal Starr. Prior to the contest start, the Trident Award was presented to the San Antonio local chapters of the 501st Legion and Rebel Alliance. The Trident award is in honor of San Antonio cosplayer, Jonathon “Aquman” Vela, who was dedicated to community service visiting patients in hospitals. The cosplayers showed up for fun and upped the effort in skill and craftsmanship. First place went to a huge Chaos Space Marine.



Ray Park has been good in every panel he has taken part. Even though there was not enough room for him to show off some moves (which if you have seen him at cons you know he like to show off some moves), he was still entertaining talking about Darth Maul and his other roles outside of Star Wars.


Meeting him in person is intimidating. But during his panel, Edward James Olmos was comfortable and very relaxed answering audience questions. He showed his fondness for his fans and spoke highly of not just Battlestar Galactica, but also of a film held in high regard to San Antonio and South Texas, Selina, and also about his activism. You can also quote him that Jennifer Lopez's breakout performance in Selina was her best performance in all her movies.


Hosted by Krystal Starr, the kids costume contest was judged by Kaylin Syren and Cup Kate. The kids costumes have been getting more detailed just like those of the adults. And the performances have gotten better. First place went to Foxy from Five Nights at Freddy’s.

I wish I could have gone to more panels. Maybe if even media had not been cleared out of the ballroom every time, I could have. I wasn't the only person with a Media Pass that was frustrated by this. Generally though, ACCC was a good experience. Unfortunately, there still seems to be some coordination and communication issues within the con staff. Especially with regards to organizing the lines for Ballroom B panels. Another issue was rules for lining up seemed to change day by day. Not by a lot, but enough to cause confusion. Also, The Lila Cockrell Theater was no longer being used for panels as it is now home for the Alamo City Film Festival. To me, losing use of the theater took away from the con. There also could have been more smaller panels, which I was hoping for after last year. There is a wealth of people and topics that can be sources of excellent panels that can be entertaining and/or educational. It's my hope that as ACCC continues, it will expand it's panel offerings. I do appreciate the difficulty and complexity of running such a large event. I know I would not want to be responsible for one. One other important note, however. It was noticed that stages and panel rooms were not wheelchair friendly. Chairs had t be moved during panels to accommodate and there was no ramps for wheelchairs to get on stages. This left some cosplayers in the Kids Costume Contest to be stuck moving in front of the stage, out of sight of a lot of the audience. Hopefully next year these issues will be solved. And all things considered, this is a fantastic convention. I can't wait to see what is in store next year.

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