This last year we managed to get in some great convention experiences. Most of these we have shared with our readers in the form of photos and panel videos. If you have never been to a comic convention you are really missing out. You can find them all over the country an in Canada and every one is a little different. From small Manga fan shows to big comic cons like San Diego and New York there are tons of choices that fall in between these as well.
This year we started the year’s convention travel with a great trip over St. Patrick’s Day weekend to Anaheim , California and Wonder Con. Wonder Con is the little brother to San Diego Comic Con. Usually it is held in San Francisco but convention center improvements forced the directors to move the show to another venue- thus Anaheim. It was a cold and rainy weekend – not a warm southern California getaway. This did no deter the crowds. We parked next door to the convention center paying $20 for parking at the Marriott instead of taking the shuttle bus from the less expensive offsite parking. It was worth it! The con took over a nice amount of the convention center and was well laid out with the show room allowing the vendors some really spectacular spaces. There were guests doing signings as well- everything was very comfortable. We picked up a bunch of comics and Erika got the Sideshow Exclusive Yoda for the event. In the main hall it was movies all day on Saturday. We started with the indie flick “The Sound of My Voice”, continued with “Looper”, “Prometheus”, “Lockout”, “The Amazing Spiderman”, “Snow White and the Huntsman”, “Resident Evil:Retribution”, “Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter” and “Battleship”. Videos from the event are in our vault – http://www.multipleversesvault.com/category/comic-con/wondercon-comic-con/ Seeing Ridley Scott, Charlize Theron, Milla Jovovich, Michael Fassbender , Alexander Skarsgaard and Joseph Gordon Levitt all in one day was pretty awesome! We usually don’t do the movie panels in San Diego so getting to experience them in Anaheim was a treat.
We skipped the next day which included Fringe and Alcatraz panels – there were not too many TV offerings here which was ok- we took the day to visit the Star Wars exhibit at the nearby Santa Ana Science and Discovery Center.
May is Phoenix Comic Con. The organizers moved the show to Memorial Day weekend three years ago with great success! It has taken off in the bigger venue and this year the big Star Trek Next Generation Reunion brought in fans not only from across the valley here in Arizona but the Hyatt sold out and other hotels had to chip in event room space. This is a good thing! When a convention starts filling more and more hotels it means it is bringing in bigger dollars and can step up the programming. That is what happened this year. The STNG reunion was a draw along with headliners like William Shatner, Ed Asner , Starship Troopers stars, Eureka cast members and showrunner, Jamie Bamber, John Bernthal and more top tv talent from past and current shows. Head to our vault for video http://www.multipleversesvault.com/category/comic-con/phoenix-comic-con/
Phoenix is an example of why local cons are great- you get a nice opportunity to spend some one on one time with your favorite people when they give autographs. Yes- you pay for them but most stars are happy to talk to you while doing so. They make sure you get something for your money besides a signature. My dad enjoyed meeting his STNG fave Marina Sirtis. Jamie Bamber was pretty much a doll to everyone. Colin and the Eureka team are a delight and Will Wheaton is far from evil. Do not let that Sheldon Cooper tell you otherwise!
We skipped San Diego this year again but made up for it in October with a whirlwind trip to New York Comic Con. We did a day in NYC as part of our trip to Toronto for the Syfy Digital Press Tour. The best part of this was we got to see the Haven panel at NYCC and then we had dinner with the guys from Haven the next night and we were able to get them to talk a little more beyond what they did at the panel. I can report that Lucas Bryant, Eric Balfour and Adam Copeland are 3 very tall, very handsome guys who genuinely like working together. I have been a fan of Eric’s since his toe sucking days on Six Feet Under and was thrilled when he did Sex Love and Secrets – a short run show on the last year of UPN which was shot in my cousin’s house in Silver Lake! Eric had a very steamy scene with Nadia Bjorlin in a shower that I had personally used. Meeting him face to face was definitely a good thing. Lucas was also on that show along with Katie Cassidy ( Arrow, Supernatural) and Tamara Taylor (Bones).
Back in New York the IGN theater on Saturday was all about big entertainment. Movies predominated the afternoon with previews of Beautiful Creatures, Carrie, Evil Dead, The Bay and The Conjuring. No surprise- larger than life Bruce Campbell came out dressed like the devil in a red jacket and black pants , black shirt and stole the show for the afternoon. Jane Levy from the Evil Dead seemed stunned by the size of the crowd and Bruce – well you must see Bruce in person to understand the power he has over a room. If he was not an actor- Bruce would either be a politician or a used car salesman. He has that kind of
The night was capped off with the Captain himself- Nathan Fillion making a surprise appearance at the Firefly 10th Anniversary panel. Jewel Staite and Sean Maher were adorable and Nathan- well Nathan is the new William Shatner. He is the captain for the rest of us.
How much money do you spend going to a convention? It depends. For Phoenix I skipped the autographs this year and just hit the panels so I paid for lunch, parking and my $35 weekend ticket for the convention. For Wondercon it was $50 as was NYC. I bought a few comics at Wondercon and all I got in NYC were hot dogs and pretzels for lunch! Hotels in Anaheim were not too bad- we stayed at the Hyatt in Garden Grove for about $150 per night. There were a lot of other less expensive ones available as well. It is Disneyland so there are a lot of accommodation choices. Phoenix is home but our dad stayed at the Mesa Marriott for a little over $100 per night. Downtown Phoenix hotels were about $145 for a 4 person quad with the convention rate. Again- lots of hotels with lots of price points available, summer is off season in this resort area so you have plenty to choose from. New York was expensive- but we stayed only one night and had our flight rolled into the trip we were already taking to Toronto. If you live within driving distance – to me that is under 6 hours away- you can keep costs down especially if you carpool with friends who you can also share rooms with. When you drive you can stay a little further out too which helps. Make sure you budget for collectibles and autographs if you want them- but with months of lead time a collector can do this. When we have done San Diego I opt for hotels that include a full breakfast. Holiday Inn Expresses include yogurts and fruit you can grab to go to take with you so you can skip expensive concessions at the convention center. Stay with friends- bring a lunch and carpool and you can have a great time without breaking the bank!
Our convention plans for 2013 – so far – include Seattle and Emerald City Con. Seeing Gillian Anderson, Michael Shanks and Carrie Fisher all at one time is too good to skip! Phoenix Comic Con is shaping up to be amazing- Amanda Tapping, Bruce Boxleitner and a Babylon 5 reunion, Jewel Staite and so many more! If you are in the mid-west or northwest- check out airfare options with Spirit and Allegiant. They have great cheap flights to Arizona. For fall I am hoping to make it to a Supernatural convention- or Dragon Con in Atlanta.
If you loved the movie Paul ( and who doesn’t like an adorable foul mouthed flatulent alien?) Check out conventions in Las Vegas. Creation Con events are pricey but they offer small , intimate options for you to get some serious one on one time with your favorite stars! From Vegas you can head out to Area 51 on the ET highway. It is a good day trip and a fun drive. There are conventions as I mentioned all over the US and Canada. Which ones have you attended and do you plan to go to next? What are your favorite things to do and see at a convention? I love sitting in on panels- best ones I have been to are ones where I did not know what I was going to see and ended up being surprised. For about the cost of seeing a weekend’s worth of movies you can meet the people who make the movies and comics happen!