Holy comics! Kansas City’s Planet Comicon brings together celebrities and fans

Planet Comicon
Wonder Woman. Cosplayers are willing to pose for pictures. Just be polite and ask first.

Thousands of sci fi and fantasy fans donned their best costumes and headed to Kansas City’s convention center as part of the 19th annual Planet Comicon. If you didn’t know there was a convention in town, I’m not sure what people might think seeing Star Trek officers, Wonder Woman and characters from “The Walking Dead” roaming downtown streets.

It’s likely that more people attended this year’s event than attended in 2016, when attendance topped 70,000. Visitors flowed well throughout the convention.  It never really seemed crowded.

Planet Comicon
Belle from “Beauty and the Beast.”

People spend a lot of time and money in creating their costumes. With new movie releases or sequels, you tend to see new characters at a comic con. We saw a few Doctor Strange cosplayers, as well as about a dozen Neegan players, a character from “The Walking Dead.” When they don the outfit, they become that character. The Neegans we saw didn’t disappoint. A couple of the cosplayers mimicked the character’s mannerisms and facial tics.

Planet Comicon
Check out this cosplayer as Neegan from “The Walking Dead.”

Cosplayers attend as individuals, couples, groups or families. It’s interesting to see how organized the cosplayers are when working as part of a group. We saw teams representing characters from “Star Trek,” “Star Wars” and “Guardians of the Galaxy.”

Planet Comicon
Mario, Luigi and the princesses.

This was our first experience at the Kansas City Planet Comicon. The three-day gathering highlighted sci fi, fantasy, comics and pop culture interests. I had researched previous comicons, but it doesn’t really prepare you for the actuality of it. After finishing breakfast at a downtown diner, we strolled the few blocks to the convention center. We arrived about 90 minutes before the convention floor opened. A couple thousand people were already in line to ride up the escalators to take in the vendors and other attractions. Another 5,000 waited in Municipal Auditorium across the street. Fortunately, our first planned event was a celebrity speaker on the main floor. Once the event opened, the process of moving people along was fairly efficient.

Planet Comicon
A little girl dressed as Spiderman rides on her dad’s shoulders while waiting in line to join the festivities.

We took in several celebrity panels. Nearly 40 celebrities attended the comicon. Our first was with voice actor John DiMaggio, best known as the voice of Bender in “Futurama.” DiMaggio was actually late to the panel due to traffic congestion. Lisa had tweeted a picture of an empty stage, mentioning we were awaiting his arrival due to traffic issues. He replied that he was almost there. Impressive. That was just the start. DiMaggio was one of the best panel discussions I’ve attended at any comic con. His humor and delivery kept the audience laughing throughout the session once he arrived.

Planet Comicon
John DiMaggio discusses voice acting during his panel.

Other panelists we enjoyed taking part in included Ron Perlman, Wil Wheaton, Jim Beaver, Alison Scagliotti, Tara Reid and Shannon Elizabeth, a DC Comic discussion, Summer Glau and future “Star Trek: Discovery” captain Jason Isaacs. Isaacs advised people upfront that there three things he couldn’t discuss. Sure enough, the first three questions covered those areas. He handled them with a great sense of humor.

Planet Comicon
Jason Isaacs has appeared in several movies, Planet Comicon the “Harry Potter” series and “Patriot.” He will appear as a captain in the upcoming CBS All-Access series “Star Trek: Discovery.”

Other panels were related to cosplay issues, comics. The comicon included entertainment such as gaming and Legos.

A big part of comic cons is the exhibition floor. Kansas City had about 300,000 square feet of vendor space. Vendors ranged from comic book distributors to sci fi and fantasy authors to comics-themed clothing. We ran into Andrea Hurtt from Omaha, who used to own Atomic Bombshell clothing store at Midtown Crossing. She now travels the country attending “Supernatural”-related conventions, where she sells items related to the CW television series, as well as other comic-themed clothing.

Planet Comicon
Andrea Hurtt of Omaha was among the vendors on the floor. She is a designer and owned Atomic Bombshell dress store in Omaha.

In addition to the booths, Planet Comicon had several cosplayer booths. Visitors could get their picture taken with “Star Wars” characters, we well as Steampunk and a few others.

Planet Comicon
The “Star Wars” emperor and associates.

The Kansas City Planet Comicon was a great experience. We recommend attending it. Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves. For more information on the con or to check for 2018’s activities, please check www.planetcomicon.com.

Disclaimer: Thank you to Planet Comicon organizers for the press credentials. However, all opinions and views are ours.