For the past 7 years, I have trekked into New York City to attend NY Comic-Con, an 3 day event I call my “Christmas.” Despite my childlike anticipation for it each year, it is a growing mass of narrow aisles, human traffic, and, as I learned this very recently online, has indirectly hired a virtual bouncer when it came to buying tickets. Thankfully, I was able to nab some due to some friends, but if I didn’t, I’m sure my fists banging down on the keyboard would ring true with many disappointed people who had their credit card ready to go for whenever their checkout window miraculously appeared.
That being said, it is always nice to step back from the chaos and craziness and remember what my original NY cons were like. Enter Motor City Comic-Con, the convention earning its name from the car construction very well known in Michigan. Even though it’s a little bit away from the rumbling city of New York, the weekend event was a quieter yet refreshing experience that held contained so many good memories, I’ll try to recap.
Highlights were plenty, the main focus being just a great spending a weekend with a great friend/convention guide. While we waited in line to get in on Friday, May 15th, we were behind a master cosplayer and his helpful wife who I had the pleasure of introducing myself to before I left the con on Sunday. Sean Baumgartner and his wife Shannon are part of the Chicago Turtles (of the Teenage Mutant Ninja variety) and Mr. Baumgartner exhibited amazing cosplay over the weekend as a dynamite looking Raphael from the 1990s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle film and as Iron Man (Sean bears a strong resemblance to the comics Tony Stark, not RDJ) with an animatronic helmet! It was amazing. You can check out some of the turtles cosplay and other outfits on Facebook under the names Chicago turtles and Predbuddy (for Predator cosplay).
Surrounding that, MCCC boasted a surprisingly large guest list. Walking Dead fans would have no trouble finding a character from the show they adored hated. Three original Karate Kid alumni were available to meet. Horror film legends Linda Blair (The Exorcist) and Robert Englund (Freddy Krueger, Nightmare on Elm Street) greeted freaky fans. I sought out not one but two celebrities, both who had a foothold in my childhood (and I guess…somewhat current) movie watching.
If you have ever seen the Gremlin movies, you know the character of Billy Peltzer, played by Zach Galligan. Billy becomes the indirect owner of Gizmo in the original Gremlins and has to return in the end of the film; in the sequel, Billy seeks Gizmo out in his office building. Both films are wonderful and successfully crossed the genres of horror and comedy together. Galligan was in attendance at Motor City this year and since I own a good several Gizmos I had to have him sign one of them.
Making my way across the floor, I also sought out Judith Hoag, the original April O’ Neil from the first live action Ninja Turtles movie. Hoag was all too sweet, was great with conversation, and really demonstrated love for her appearance in the Turtles movie. Also, if I may say (and I will), she looks damn good for her age.
During this particular Friday I also ran into Jim Law, writer and podcaster for bingemedia.net. He was really cool and the site is the place to check out for hilarious podcast and up to date movie and TV news, along with commentaries for films like Back to the Future Part II and programs like Game of Thrones. Make sure you check out the website in the near future.
All this in one day; what else was left to do Saturday and Sunday then? Well Artist’s Alley is always a drop zone for cash, and just like any other convention I’ve attended, it’s always a great place to find open space and look at some great work. Among the most notable were artists: Terry Huddleston (pop art headshots), Joel Siegel (artist renderings of scenes from movies, some using pointillism), Joshua Buchanan (cartoony character headhots), Heads-Up Studios (cartoony character headshots again)and Matt Peppler (movie posters and pop culture art). Also, I need to pay tribute to the Ruppits booth as well. These people create puppets of popular characters including Indiana Jones, Spider-Man, and the Ninja Turtles. Clearly the art work is a danger area, thankfully I walked away without too many problems.
Cosplay was also great this year! A lot of time and effort went into some of the costumes I saw, ranging from Transformers to Disney Afternoon programs (Darkwing Duck yo). I wish I had taken more pictures, but the service in the center was pretty bad. While my phone was consistently looking for a signal, battery life was draining quick.
That’s the only real negative I had from this experience. Otherwise, Motor City Comic-Con was an extremely epic weekend and was a nice breath of fresh air from the craziness that is a major city convention. In fact, given the time I had at this one, there’s no doubt that I would attend another in the future. As for now, it’s just a great memory. Isn’t that what it’s all about?
Logan J. Fowler is a senior writer and video game editor on Po-Break.com. He contributes his thoughts every week for Trailer Tuesday and has his own column called “A Link to the Past.” Logan’s “kid at heart” nature has led to his discussion about pop culture that many geeks love to talk about, including superheroes, Super Mario Bros., Pixar, and Muppets, among other things. In addition, one of his first pieces for the site, “Top Ten Comic Book Movies,” was picked as a “Freshly Pressed” piece by WordPress and remains one of the site’s most well-read articles. Currently, Logan works as a Special Education Instructional Assistant at Roosevelt School in Manville NJ. He graduated from Wagner College in 2005 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education and in 2007 with a Master of Science in Education Degree in Birth-6th Grade Literacy. He also holds a Teacher of Students with Disabilities Certification from Rutgers. Many of Logan’s friends have said that he moonlights as Spider-Man but this is so not true. Wait, are those police sirens I’m hearing?! Gotta go! -thwipp-