Wading through the crowd thousands deep, as Adelaide prepares to welcome the Comic-Con to Australian shores – crazed fans, fanatical geeks, and obsessive nerds rolled out en masse with a colourful cavalcade of brilliant cosplay and all others beaming as they adorn their favourite geek-chic tee that possibly outshine the ones on sale at the convention. The inaugural Oz Comic-Con from the outset had set its sight to encapsulate the entire pop culture. From your classic comic-books, film and television, and games to your favourite guest stars; actors and artists to complete the Comic-Con experience. It was clear by the seemingly endless queue snaking around the pavilion, that there was an overwhelming sense of electric emanating from the crowd. And who wouldn’t with impromptu ‘in-queue entertainment’ provided by a rabid Houndoom being mauled by the Cheshire Cat.
Roaming the convention floor, I seemed to be suffering from intermittent bouts of spontaneity. Immediately drawn to anything shiny, geeky, and yes I’ll admit it – fluffy. Torn between perusing the vendor’s wares of pop culture paraphernalia and the immaculately conceived costumes honouring their assumed personas. Not just in appearance as the man of steel himself displayed true nerve, as he proposed on-stage and in costume for the entire convention to bear witness.
Trying to walk through the bustling crowd with my own form of quiet dignity, hiding my surprise and genuine excitement passing each display, all the time thoroughly engaged in a heated internal debate; attempts to assuage myself that my negative income prevents me from indulging with the vendor laden tables full of enticing collectables of random paraphernalia that I simply must have.
But roaming the convention floor doesn’t compare to the interactive Q & A panels with the actors, personally excited to attend the Sean Schemmel (Voice of Goku from Dragon Ball Series), Jewel Staite(Firefly, Stargate: Atlantis), and the last-minute addition of Sean Astin (Lord of the Rings) panels. There was even the chance for fans to test their mettle and mental faculties with a Pop-Culture Quiz that proved fortuitous for some, yet became a glaring realisation for myself.
The questions posed during the quiz seemed relatively easy to the hundreds of true fanatics surrounding me – besides the gaming related questions, I could barely answer most questions asked. My lack of knowledge sorely resonated as correct answers whisper all around me leaving me perplexed in a stupor. My favourite question that left the audience and myself shamefully stymied was; “what was the name of the mechanic on ship Serenity before Kaylee?” To wit the crowd responded with an exuberant, “No one cares!”
The pop quiz topics varied from gaming, television, animation and film to whittle down the contestants to culminate in a sudden-death face-off for first prize. All eyes were transfixed on the final two competitors until uproarious laughter broke the stand-off. Five simple words were projected on the draping screen; the final showdown was to be decided by ‘Rock-Paper-Scissor-Lizard-Spock’ – a variation on the classic Rochambeau made famous in The Big Bang Theory and had Dr. Sheldon Cooper recite those insidiously difficult rules.
From the interactive panels, Sean Schemells Voice-Over Masterclass provided immeasurable advice for the up-and-coming voice over actors and artist, answered the fan favourite question; his opinion on the live-action film Dragon Ball Evolution with the best two part answer. One; he hadn’t seen it and two; Justin Chatwin’s Kamehameha has got nothing on his, ending the session by proving his prowess and delighting fans with a true ‘Kamehameha.’ (Dance Monkey, Dance!) Ohh, and make sure if you ever get the opportunity to ask him about the yellow kazoo, it’s a pretty good story.
The packed house for Sean Astin’s panel began with a rousing video montage to the tune of The Proclaimers ‘500 Miles’ that epitomised Peter Jacksons’ unchecked fetish for filming Sam and Frodo wandering the desolate pains of Middle Earth. Astin enlightening fans about his two year experience in New Zealand as a hobbit, segueing into his dismay at not being in The Hobbit prequel, and just chatting to fans about The Encino Men, Toy Soldiers and pondering the possibilities of a Goonies sequel or even a remake.
Out of all the panels I attended, it seemed Jewel Staite’s was the highlight of the con purely based on the number of people denied access. Enlightening fans about the Firefly effect, the tragic drawback to the ‘frou-frou dress,’ and the intimate experience shared between Jewel and Morena Baccarin in a bathroom stall. Chatting to fans a bit of Stargate: Atlantis, and Supernatural and entertaining Jewel’s desire to possibly guest on Spartacus. Stating her and desperate attempts to be written into an episode of Castlewith intents of the murderous kind – so long as she doesn’t have to make-out with Nathan Fillion. I’m still a little peeved with myself and the crowd for that matter, that I didn’t get my final question in, “any plans for Firefly’s 10 year anniversary?” – Common people, it could be Fillion is planning a Kickstarter to fund aSerenity sequel!
The only disappointing factor of the event came down to capacity and facilities – there was nowhere near enough space to wonder the convention floor, or accommodate the masses of adoring fans queuing for an autograph, a photo or attend the popular panels. Employing some sort of convention strategy would be best – ignoring the impulse to immediately line up for the autograph and photo tokens (unless scheduling is an issue) as guest stars are often on the floor all day to meet, greet, and sign autographs. There’s so much splendour to explore and indulge, so why waste time in a queue. Know the schedule and organise your time to ensure you make it to the panel, and get there early enough to secure your spot. It is unfortunate but also the nature of the beast that these conventions can be ruthless.
So for a first time attendee at a comic book or pop culture convention, consider my innate observations virgin. I even decided to pursue my own shockingly unoriginal life-time goal of having my Blu-Ray copy of Firefly autographed by the entire cast of actors and the man himself, Joss Whedon. Never have I been so determined until now to have this mundane goal realised – I’m more of a gamer, so sue me.
Despite everything – I come away from the Adelaide Con purportedly light-handed yet eager to succumb to temptation when the next Oz Comic-Con hits Melbourne in June/July.
Courtesy of Nathan Lai of play.by.proxy
Nathan Lai - Read his blog play.by.proxy.