This last weekend, I accomplished my first ever 3-day convention run courtesy of Planet Comicon here in Kansas City. I usually only go one day to conventions, with a few two-day visits down south in Tulsa at the much-missed Trek Expo. However, now living in Kansas City and with a stellar guest list, I opted for a three-day pass to this year’s Planet Comicon, along with my friend Joe and my daughter Kayla. Needless to say, it was an awesome but tiring experience.
On day one, Joe and I arrived about mid-afternoon and, being a Friday, the crowds were smaller but still impressive. I have to say it was a very organized event with a layout that allowed for large crowds to move around without too much bumping into strangers, although that was hard to avoid during the usual crazy Saturday crowds. Honestly, I found that the crowds, while packed almost constantly, were manageable all weekend. This was due in large part to the very well laid out floor in the spacious Bartle Hall at the Kansas City Convention Center. Day two was the busiest, per usual for being a Saturday, but Sunday was almost as packed thanks to the one-day appearance of Stephen Amell aka Oliver Queen on The CWs Arrow. My goals for the weekend were simple: comics, autographs and panels. And, of course, checking out all of the insane costumes. People watching at a con can be a full-time job!
While I visited a lot of vendors, several stood out. Above all else, a shout-out to my local comic book store of choice Elite Comics. They had a huge and damn impressive display. Also, highest recommendations to writer CW Cooke. I met him at last year’s Free State Comicon in Lawrence and I’ve been a big fan ever since. He is currently working with Devil’s Due Entertainment on a stellar series called Solitary. Needless to say, I made several purchases at his table, including the Planet Comicon exclusive #1 of Solitary and a sneak peak at a potential new series called The Guitarist. Check out his Facebook page as this is someone you should be following now. I also want to recommend a cool new series called Squarriors from Devil’s Due. I picked up the first two issues, including a con exclusive for #2, and had both issues signed by writer Ash Maczko and illustrator Ashley Witter. This is an awesome series and I cannot wait for #3, due out in June. Finally, let me thank Craig Klotz for the great deal he gave me on The Inhumans #1. Craig is the man behind www.kcfancon.com and I was told to get ready for Free State Comicon 2015 coming up this September!
I did manage to add six more autographs to my ever-growing collection. Since getting my first autograph from Nichelle Nichols in 1992, I have waited in many lines and had a lot of great encounters with my heroes from the small and big screen. This year, I met Scott Wilson and Michael Rooker from The Walking Dead (both very nice, Rooker was just a little Hollywood with his ever-present shades), Karen Gillan from both Doctor Who and Guardians of the Galaxy, Ming Na-Wen (Agent May from Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.), Robbie Ammel (Firestorm on The Flash) and J. August Richards (Deathlok from Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.). I had hoped to add Stephen Ammel to the list but, alas, his line was way too long and, ultimately, I knew that I was too far back in the line (which, as it turned out, I was right). Let me say that every one of these stars were nice and pleasant, not always a guarantee. J. August Richards was incredible and I’m quite glad that I left Stephen Ammel’s line when I did. There were countless other stars but my financial advisor had to set limits!
My daughter Kayla joined us on Saturday and her goal was to get a photo with both Scott Wilson and Michael Rooker. By 6:15 p.m. Saturday night, that had become a reality. She was behind excited, especially when she said how Michael Rooker commented how pretty she was. It’s those simple and cool moments that make it all worth it. She and my friend Joe also served their roles as my “comic bitch”, holding my wish list as I went through boxes looking for random issues, mostly of The Inhumans and The Defenders. We did manage to get in a few panels, such as the Timey Whimey Puppet Show (has to be seen to be believed, quite funny), the Q&A with Karen Gillan (very funny, except for the awkward arrival of her cousin Caitlin Blackwood) and the Q&A with Stephen Amell (incredibly tired but entertaining).
I had hoped to make several other panels but standing in the lines took up some time and, admittedly, I was beyond tired by Sunday. That said, this was an amazing event. My fifth time attending and the bets so far. Having my daughter Kayla there reminded me of previous conventions where she was right by her daddy’s side. Also, this marks the third consecutive year my friend Joe was by my side, which always makes these events that much more fun. Now, what’s next? Well, another huge event is planned for August called Kansas City Comic Con. Is this city big enough for two events in one year? I’ll be there to let you know. Have I mentioned how much I love living in Kansas City?