O Comic Con’s first year proved to be a good one. Thousands of fans, including hundreds dressed in costumes, gathered at the Mid-America Center in Council Bluffs to help make Matt Fujan’s dream come to life.
Fujan is the founder and organizer of O Comic Con. He spent months working on the three-day event. About 6,000 attended the festival celebrating all things comics, movies, TV shows and Cosplay.
“Our attendance numbers absolutely exceeded every expectation that we had for our first year,” said Rebekkah, the event’s co-coordinator and web designer.
About 1,200 tickets were presold, so the expectation was about 3,000, she said.
“When people kept arriving for door tickets, we couldn’t believe it. We are so thankful for all the great attendees,” she said.
We spent more than 18 hours at the event from Friday evening to Sunday, including all day Saturday. It was a blast. We wandered the exhibit floor, where quite a few vendors came from around the country to meet Comic Con fans and sell their wares.
Comic books, graphic novels, artwork and other items were bought by fans. We picked up a few items ourselves, including a Guardians of the Galaxy key chain, Captain America drawing, anime drawings for our nephew and a gift for Lisa’s dad.
Lisa scored big time! She had her alternate version of “Anne of Green Gables” book autographed by the author – CW Cooke. Cooke is a Kansas City-based writer.
Vendors highlighted their skills. A couple of women staffed a costume-making booth.
A woman posed next to a wheel of fortune at a table.
A Omaha native staffed a table, along with a paranormal artist. Mike Halac has wrestled professionally. He is now an actor and is working to raise funds for a movie. He shared space with Kandrolsha Ona, a paranormal author and actress.
Some people shared their collections for viewing. Dave Bell of Gretna, Nebraska, had a portion of his batman collection on display. Among the items featured was a scale model of the Batmobile used in the TV series starring Adam West.
The red phone used by Commissioner Gordon to contact the “Winged Crusader” was also display.
A model featuring batman in the bat cave from the 1989 hit “Batman” was display. Michael Keaton was Batman in the first of the modern movies.
Lots of “Star Wars” memorabilia on display. The 501st Legion had a booth and offered a grand viewing of items.
Storm Troopers were also nearby.
Instead of “Game of Thrones” being at O Comic Con, Project Nerd offered us “Throne of Games.”
Local organizations were also on hand. Omaha Film Festival was promoting its annual movie festival. It’s on our blog “bucket list” to attend. Britishfest is coming up at the MAC July 10-12. It looks promising.
A throwback to my childhood days greeted us at O Comic Con. Local TV “star” Dr. San Guinary was on hand. Ok, it’s not the same doctor as when I was a kid, but the current one does a good job with the make-up and mannerisms. He hosts a weekly show at midnight Sunday mornings.
You never know what you may see at a comic con. Foxes playing cards with humans?
One of the special things about comic cons is the opportunity to get up close and “personal” with panelists. We sat in on Question-and-Answer sessions with these actors: Walter Koening (“Star Trek”), Billy West and Maurice LaMarche (“Futurama”), Naomi Grossman (“American Horror Story”), Jamie Bamber (“Battlestar Gallactica”), Samm Levine (“Freaks and Geeks’), Tara Buck (“True Blood”) and David Newell (Mr. McFeely on PBS’ “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood”).
“One thing I think is missing from a lot of the huge mega-conventions is a sense of curation,” Rebekkah said. “Some of the bigger events like to include as many celebrity guests as possible, put them all together and call it a day.
“We really, really tried to create a group of guests, each of whom would appeal to a certain group of fans, but all of whom have careers we admire.”
Fans seemed to appreciate that personal connection.
“For every single guest, there was a group of people who came to the con just to see THAT guest,” Rebekkah said. “(Caroline Munro) doesn’t do a lot of events in the U.S., so we had people come from as far as Michigan just to see her. How cool is that?”
The celebrity artists also had autograph booths and hosted photo ops.
I’m not sure you can get the personal interaction with the celebrities we had at O Comic Con. I actually had a brief conversation with Walter Koenig at his booth about being in Hollywood the day he received his star on the Walk of Fame. I didn’t have to pay for the visit or buy anything to talk with him.
A panel on comic book writing and art featured a Nebraskan. Bob Hall of Lincoln was an artist for Marvel, DC and Valiant comics during his career. He worked on “Armed and Dangerous” and “Shadowman,” as well as several others.
We caught a couple of panels on Cosplay. Cosplay basically consists of people dressing as characters from various media. The first was called “Sexuality in Cosplay,” but it could have gone by a different name. It basically highlighted that people can dress as their favorite characters regardless of body type or age. They just have to be ready for comments from people who are very well-educated in the genre. Etiquette and behavior was discussed during the session, led by four nationally known Cosplay actors – Michael Knightmage, April Gloria, Erin Lei and Alexa Heart.
Heart later led a panel discussion on “Coming Out in Cosplay.” Heart is transitioning to a woman. She has always felt more comfortable as a woman, she said.
NOTE: We will have a post specifically about Cosplay, including more information about these panels Sunday.
What is a comic con without characters in full regalia?
Hundreds of people of all ages dressed in costume. We had Thor, Batman, the Dark Knight, Wonder Woman, Batgirl, Catwoman, anime and game characters.
Lisa and I thought one of the most beautiful Cosplay outfits we saw all weekend was a girl dressed as Maleficent. She actually put the wings together, and they moved as though they were real wings. It was stunning and creative.
All told, we had a blast. Everyone we talked to was friendly. People loved having their photos taken. Friendly tip: Always ask beforehand.
O Comic Con was a hit with fans. It was a success to organizers. Granted, it had a few hiccups. But nothing major. Nothing that will not be fixed by the 2016 festival.
The organizers are going to take a few weeks to decompress before starting work on next year’s event. They are open to suggestions for guests to pursue. People can send their suggestions via the website.
We look forward to attending next year’s O Comic Con. We will also endeavor to provide updates as Matt has them.
For more information on O Comic Con, please visit www.ocomiccon.com.
Disclaimer: Thanks to O Comic Con for the media pass for the event. However, all opinions and views (no matter how geeky they may seem) are ours.