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Report from Motor City

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At long last ladies and gentlemen, I finally bring my report from the Motorcity Comiccon.

As many of you know, my nephew and I made the drive to the other side of the Mitten State a few weeks ago, hoping to have a good time and get some good advice from actual artists about what it takes to make a name for yourself in the industry.
But I’m getting ahead of myself.  We woke up at 5:00 AM Saturday morning and got on the road by six.  After a couple of hours on the road during which we discussed the outline for the story my nephew is working on, we stopped at Cracker Barrel for an awesome breakfast.  Refreshed, we got to Novi,  nearly an hour early.  Actually, we were nearly an hour and half before the doors opened for general admission.  And this is what we saw:

The line behind us
The line behind us
The doors are somewhere up there.
The doors are somewhere up there.

Needless to say, this was a much larger line than I saw the last time I attended this convention…18 years ago.  Unfortunately, the organizers of the convention were also very surprised by this.  The line for purchasing tickets at the doors was significantly shorter than the preorder line.  And it was actually cheaper to buy at the door, so there was no advantage at all to getting your ticket online.  However, I did get to talk to some of the people in line and see some really good cosplay outfits while getting sunburn.

Yes, someone actually cosplayed the Scarlet Spider.
Yes, someone actually cosplayed the Scarlet Spider.

 

Behold!  The Justice League!
Behold! The Justice League!

 

Seriously?  This is awesome!
Seriously? This is awesome!

Once we finally got in the door things went much smoother.  First, we tracked down Casper van Dean and Dine Meyer  from Starship Troopers and chatted with them a bit.  During that time, I learned Dina did all of her own stunts and Casper did everything but the crazy flips.  Casper especially clearly still loves his old role as Jonny Rico and is more than happy to sprinkle his conversation with references to the film.  I also learned that autographs go for a bit more than I thought, so my plans of visiting Cary Elwes as well were quickly dashed.  However, we did go to his panel later in the day.  Elwes came off as very kind and indulgent with the fans. I think he must have hugged half the girls in the room.  He brought it on himself though as he gave a quick hug to some poor girl who was clearly very nervous while asking him a question.  From then on it was open season on the poor guy.

Comiccon Troopes!
Comiccon Troopes!

Some of the fun tidbits he related where how Andre the Giant basically bought all the food (and wine) for the production after having seen what was being provided by the studio.  Oh, and the stories are true.  The legendary sword fight in the Princess Bride was indeed filmed in one long cut.
Of course, we didn’t spend all of our time talking to actors.  As we wandered around the crowded isles we stopped and spoke with a few artists, seeking advice in breaking into the business, as was mentioned earlier.  We spoke at length Brett Pinson of Boomtown Press about the virtues of self-publishing in the modern comic book industry.  He and other artists such as Stephen Burger recommended due in large part to the difficulty in getting noticed by one of the major publishers.  Not that it is impossible.  We also chatted briefly with Christina Z, who is known for her work in the Fables universe.  As it turns out, she got noticed the old-fashioned way, by bringing her portfolio to conventions and being willing to engage in a little self-promotion.  Otherwise, the basic advice from all was simple – practice, practice, practice.
A hallmark of conventions these days is cosplayers and this one was no different.  In addition to the expected hordes of Jedi, Stormtroopers and Doctors (mostly Matt Smith), there were also Spartans from Halo,  Castielle (Supernatural), Amy Pond, and a host of others.  Here are some more of the highlights:

A freakin' Tauntaun!
A freakin’ Tauntaun!

 

A strange alliance.
A strange alliance.

 

An even stranger alliance.
An even stranger alliance.

 

Looking for aliens to smackdown.
Looking for aliens to smackdown.

 

Loki, Thor and...Amy Pond?
Loki, Thor and…Amy Pond?

 

Spartans!
Spartans!

 

 

All in all, it was an enjoyable, expensive, inspiring and brutal day.  If you have never been to one of these conventions, I strongly recommend you go, just to attend some of the panels and check out the cosplayers.  Advice I would offer is to dress comfortably, bring some protein bars and water and have a set budget.  For more good advice, check Legendarium News Director Steve Fitch’s Convention Survival Guide.

And stay tuned as I was able to line up a number of interviews while I was there, including Stephen Burger, Brett Pinson and Billy Tucci.

Until next time, Godspeed and happy conning!

About theviking

Catholic father of five and life-long nerd, theviking began nerd life as a socially awkward Star Wars fan who then branched out into comics thanks a boring summer vacation. These days, he reads most anything, watches a number of nerdy shows, plays with his kids, works as a proofreader for the fine folks at Grail Quest Books and volunteers at his parish and kids' school.