The KC con was indeed awesome. Considering news is still coming from the San Diego Con that ended yesterday, it seems a little silly to even talk about another con, but I have photos and I want to post em. So there.
Like I had said, this year had a pretty decent spread of celebrities from screen and comic book fame. Its rare I go with any intent to spend any large amount of cash on merchandise, but I always have a pocket full of $20s (ie a couple of bills) for autographs. I dunno why, but I dig autographs. Photos, books, comics, whatever. I love meeting the folks that helped create the stories that I love (especially those from my childhood). My prized autograph is from Bruce Campbell and is on my Canon XL2, the camera I used to shoot my first two movies (in eternal post-production). I idolized the Evil Dead films (as well as Kevin Smiths movies) throughout my collegiate career, so having Bruce bless the camcorder I was using to start my film-making career was an amazing moment. But I digress.
The booths were the standard fare of comics and random toys that I had seen 100 times before. No rare figures, nothing from Dr. Who, Dexter, Firefly and almost nothing related to the Big Bang Theory; all things I was really into at the time and wanted some swag to show my interest off. Having fully embraced my inner geek this year, I was hoping to find some figures and toys from my youth, but there was nothing. Not even random MUSCLE men, Ninja Turtles, or Ghostbusters. There were however a couple of really nifty local artist booths, most notably a woman by the name of Anne Quinn from Overland Park who creates pixel images from beads. Considering most of my work in video games has been on the DS, I have spent a lot of time pondering the pixel and how best to get everything I want from a 256 color palette (or even *gasp* a 16 color palette). This gal had some really incredible work, not just video game characters brought to life 10 inches tall in brightly colored beads, but full on portraits of friends, family and beloved pets. Her website, pixelportrayal.com, has a few examples of her work.
After a quick pass around the merch booths, I swung past the artist booths. I was a little disappointed to find that a couple of the bigger names were D-bags. I suppose it could be argued that they earned it, but it seems to me if you have found enough success that fans want to come by and say hi and get a book signed the least you could do would be to give a smile and a couple autographs. There was one gentleman (I wont say who, but he'd been in the industry since the 70's) who would only allow guests to approach his table during two half hour periods each day. During the rest of the time he would work on commissioned pieces only.
I ended up grabbing some art from zombie legend, Arthur Suydam, a bender drawing from Bill Morrison of Bongo Comics and a sketchbook from a Frank Cho style pin up artist, Chad Spilker. There were lots of other artists but most of them I had dropped coin previous years on getting their autographs, so wasnt as keen to get fresh ones. They have the whole list of guests here if you want to peruse em. I also grabbed a few random comics to fill in my collection and the full spectrum of the Light Corps rings from the Green Lantern series, Blackest Night.
I got into a weird moment during the day where all of the celebrities had absolutely no one in line for an autograph. Lou Farrigno was quiet but extremely nice and still could throw the green makeup on and look the part. With Mira Furlan I got flustered talking to her when I first stepped up to get an autograph so kept quiet other than a thank you until she finished signing my Babylon 5 swag to keep from making a (bigger) fool of myself. She had an aura of class that you could feel when you approached her and you couldn't help but know she belonged on the stage.
I had considered not getting Helen Slater's autograph as I hardly remembered Supergirl and had only the slightest recollection of Billie Jean. However, I long ago learned to hit any celebrity panels that went on during my time at a convention (learned by being amazed by the then unknown to me Tura Santana and Dee Wallace at a horror Con years ago), so I swung into Helen's to see what she was about. To say she was an impressive lady would be an understatement. Also, she was shockingly aloof as to her success and popularity (she had a room full of folks in Supergirl costumes) and spoke of some incredibly interesting moments with Peter O'Toole. She seemed genuinely surprised she was seen as a very strong female roll model for girls of the 80s, what with Supergirl and Billie Jean. I had read an article just a couple of days prior discussing how Billie Jean was one of the first films to feature a strong female lead that didn't rely on beauty or sexuality to attain her goals. After the panel I went back and had her autograph a photo for me and was able to talk with her for a delightful few minutes, making her the highlight of the Con for me.
It was a good time and worth making the drive for. Of course, next year I hope to make it to San Diego.
I have a bunch of photos below, mainly cosplay folks (its not a good con without a Zatanna or Power Girl). As I am horrible for not remembering to bring a camera to conventions, I have swiped all of these photos from friends or fellow nerds who attended, let me know if they belong to you and I will credit you as such.