Kansas City’s Planet Comicon 2023: William Shatner, retired astronaut among celebrities taking part

Magnets of monsters at Planet Comicon.
Among some of the cuter items at Planet Comicon, character magnets are a popular pick.

Get ready to beam down to Kansas City, as the Midwest’s largest pop culture convention takes over the universe known as downtown Bartle Hall. The 23rd Planet Comicon occupies the planet March 17-19.

From classic television and film stars, such as William Shatner and Cassandra Peterson (Elvira), to comic book artists and a whole lot of vendors, Planet Comicon offers a weekend of fun and excitement. Voice actors, professional wrestlers and authors will also visit Planet Comicon.

Nicole Stott, an actual astronaut, will visit Planet Comicon. The retired NASA astronaut spent 104 days in outer space aboard the International Space Station.

The pop culture convention is a combination of comic book enthusiasts, gamers, cosplayers, fans and curious people interested in checking out the hundreds of booths and tables displaying wares, from vintage comic books to classic T-shirts. It’s common to see people lined up 12-deep checking out props, such as Star Wars light sabers and costumes.

Half the fun of attending Planet Comicon is seeing the cosplayers dressed as their favorite comic book, movie or book characters, including Wonder Woman, Thor, Doctor Who and even Michael Myers from the “Halloween” movie series. Cosplayers tend to be friendly and will pose for photos if asked. There’s even a costume contest at the end of Saturday’s festivities.

People dressed as Dot Matrix and Barf from the parody movie Spaceballs.
“Spaceballs” has long been one of our family’s favorite movies, so we loved seeing a couple of cosplayers dressed as Dot Matrix and Barf.

Another fun part of attending Comicon is the celebrity panels. At our first Planet Comicon, we spent an entire day sitting in on the panels, which featured people such as Ron Perlman, Wil Wheaton, Summer Glau, Allison Scagliotti, Jim Beaver and John DiMaggio, who has more than 300 voice acting credits. It’s a must for us to sit in on at least one panel when we attend.

William Zatka and Martin Kove discuss the popularity of "The Karate Kid" after almost 40 years.
William Zatka and Martin Kove discuss the popularity of “The Karate Kid” after almost 40 years.

Neither Lisa nor I are autograph seekers, but sometimes, it’s kind of cool to get a photo with a favorite star. I enjoyed meeting Irene Bedard, an Alaska Native who has acted in hundreds of television shows and movies. She co-starred with my brother John Trudell in “Smoke Signals.” I paid to have my pic with her but enjoyed hearing tales of her and my brother working together in movies, as well as on social issues. This year, Lisa plans to get a photo with Jonathan Frakes from “Star Trek: The Next Generation.” He was her favorite actor in the television series.

Irene Bedard discusses her roles and how Indigenous actors have moved on from stereotypes.

Roaming the aisles and checking out the vendors is a must when visiting Planet Comicon. You’ll see areas set aside for “Star Wars” groups, “Ghostbusters” and others. Vendors sell a boatload of items over three days, and it’s often challenging to walk away from almost every booth without buying something. Since I am a T-shirt fan, I tend to look for clothing items to buy.

For more information or to purchase tickets, visit Planet Comicon’s website.