My family and I, and several friends, took advantage of the ComicCon event in Austin last weekend to socialize, shop, see the stars, and even learn a little. Of the people I know, the happiest was my old chess buddy, Mario Leal and his son, Miles of smiles, seen here with many of the actors of several Star Trek series. But my family and their friends enjoyed the many events and shopping, not to mention watching the thousands of Con goers. And I thoroughly enjoyed meeting such folks as Dr. Rebecca Housel and comic legend Ken Levin.
For the most part, I went around camera in hand and collected about 40 images (the remaining images in this blog are mine). This was an impressive event and I wanted to share it. But I will ask your indulgence for my lack of skill as a photographer. I had many awesome pictures, which I managed to shoot out of focus, moving the camera, too dark or light, or just *wrong*.
Even so, I enjoyed the many events, and I enjoyed being with my family. There were panels on many subjects: my daughter Gwendalyn really enjoyed the ones on cartooning, for example. Fortunately, the Austin Convention Center is *huge*, and the smaller rooms seated over 500. Doubly fortunate, since unlike the 2013 World Science Fiction Convention coming up in August/September 2013, there were actually very few simultaneous events (the WorldCon will probably have 40-50 concurrent events at any time). So it takes big rooms if you have many thousands of people to entertain at once.Some of the panels were demos. I spent 45 minutes watching an example of Live Action Role Playing (LARP).
I have to admit, my initial thought was that I was not impressed by the quality of the role playing. The participants appeared to have been selected for their costumes, rather than any knowledge of how to play the game. And then it occurred to me that that was the point. Since the players were amateurs, they did not mind learning how to do it. The audience was learning along with them. My guess is that most of the audience had never played a traditional RPG (role playing game), such as Dungeons & Dragons. While LARP is not really traditional, it is much closer to an RPG than the computer games that most people play. The panel was instructive. I hope it encouraged a few people to consider trying out playing LARP.
Not only the professionals and fans, but even the vendors were wearing costumes. In fact, one of the most fascinating thing about ComicCon was the continuous flow of people in costume.
So besides going to panels, what we did most was people watch and shop. Note: do not go to this event with your wife and daughters unless you are prepared to shop, and shop, and shop, and …
There was a huge shopping area, most of which we did not get to. In the middle was a cube of tee-shirts, possibly dwarfing the Borg’s space cube. My guess is that there were 1200 shirts on each face of the cube (40 x 30) and it was hollow. Be that as it may, it had some strange attractive power, mesmerizing my ladies, and we did not get past. Suffice it to say, we bought tee-shirts. But we also bought food and many other things. The fact that I am only showing one daughter (Michelle) with food does not mean that Gwendalyn and Linda did not partake. However, they did other things as well. Here is a photo of when my daughter Gwendalyn found some aliens to hang around with. Gwendy was also thrilled to bump into Jonathan Frakes while she was wandering around. A pity I was not there with camera for that !
My daughter Linda is very much into costuming. So not only did she dress up my grandson, John Railroad Webb Wissinger, but she herself came as Wonder Woman (or something closely resembling that lady).
Linda’s friends will think they recognize this picture. Her husband John took a similar one within seconds. Mind you, I took several … this is the best of mine.
Linda, of course was not the only person in costume. We saw several aliens, various super heroes from both DC and Marvel comics, someone wandering around with a crown of thorns and white robes, various fans of Star Trek and Star Wars in costumes from those genres, and some things straight out of fantasy.The above photo is a case in point. This pair of con-goers were very happy to pose for me, and even more so when I asked for permission to use the photo in today’s blog (I asked all of the people I specifically targetted). Here is another example of a pair of con-goers happy to pose. I did not even have to point out my affiliation with the United Fans of Phoenix (yes, I was a Trekker, 30 years ago). And this storm trouper was one of hundreds who came in full gear. I have several photos of this gentleman, since he was posing for various families. Unfortunately, I have several fuzzy photos of this gentleman … this is the one good one.
Finally, Michelle’s friend Stephani joined us from Amarillo, and was very proud of her Kitsune outfit. For those who do not know Japanese legends, the Kitsune are fox demons. Stephani was very excited to see Eliza Patricia Dushku, and even paid for a back-stage VIP pass.
We had actually wanted to see Sir Patrick Stewart (Captain Jean-Luc Picard). I am a fan of his: I think he is a great actor. But not enough to buy everyone such a pass. So when it came time to go be one of the myriad who wished to see him speak, we sadly looked at the line wrapping around and doubling back, and realized that there were more than a thousand people waiting to get into a room which only held a thousand. So that was one event I did not catch !
One event I was happy to catch was a lecture by Dr. Rebecca Housel on both the legends of vampires throughout history and within modern culture. Dr. Housel is a sociologist who has written multiple books on the subject, and other than a few umms, it was an excellent speech. I appreciated the fact that she did not let technical difficulties get in her way (for some reason, her hour was plagued by major equipment dysfunctions) and plowed on, giving the audience their money’s worth. I had a chance to chat with her afterwards, and took a couple of photos. Then my wife took the one which I am using here.
Dr. Housel was also the moderator for at least one other panel. She seemed interested in Bohemia … I hope she will check out this blog.One of the other events I enjoyed immensely was Ken F. Levin, the cofounder of First Comics (with Mike Gold). He presented the history of the independent comic movement (i.e., comics not part of either the DC Comics group or the Marvel Comics group) and then segued into how that lead into the eventual production of comic book movies. As important as the actual production, he also told about making the movie makers listen to the authors … how many movies have you seen in which the movie did *not* follow the source ? But in this case, the words “the contract has not been signed yet” made all the difference, and I (for one) appreciate that. He also told us briefly that he has acquired the rights to revive First Comics. I wish him the best of luck: we need as many avenues to express our creativity as possible.
Capping my experience was the fact that I was able to talk to this very nice gentleman for several minutes after his presentation. And like Dr. Housel, he seemed to be supportive of what we are doing at Bohemia Journal. Come check out our on-line issues, or even better, check out our guidelines and think about submitting. Our issues are themed, and the deadlines are listed on the guidelines page.
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