To Geekdom and Beyond – O Comic Con 2018 celebrates comics, cosplay and celebrities

Men in armor from "Game of Thrones"
“Game of Thrones” characters at the fourth annual O Comic Con at the Mid-America Center in Council Bluffs.

Attending a comic convention allows people to hang out with others who share their interests in comic books, movies, TV and dressing up. Toss in some wrestling matches and celebrity guests, and you have the makings of another successful O Comic Con. The fourth-year event attracted thousands of people from around the Omaha Metro for a three-day festival.

At a vendor's table, a boy dressed as The Flash plays with Thanos' gauntlet containing the infinity stones. A hand reaches in as if to try to stop him.
At a vendor’s table, a boy dressed as The Flash plays with Thanos’ gauntlet containing the infinity stones. A hand reaches in as if to try to stop him.

Call them geeks, nerds or whatever you want, enthusiasts shared their love of the science fiction and fantasy worlds by dressing up as their favorite super hero or character, as well as buying props, toys, posters, books and other memorabilia at the Mid-America Center. The arena floor featured dozens of vendors from around the country. Several of them travel the convention industry, heading out to the next city following the conclusion of the MAC event. From T-shirts with popular characters, such as Groot and Winnie the Pooh, to props featuring swords and guns with working lights representing lasers, to comics, vendors were popular among the con goers.

Swords and other weapons were on display at vendor tables
Props of sizes and styles were available at vendor booths on the arena floor at the Mid-America Center.

In addition to the vendors hawking their wares, other attractions included a paintball demonstration (a lot of fun shooting rubber balls at targets) and an Omaha Films Festival section featured movies clips and previews. Star Wars fans could visit with members of the 501st Legion and other groups at a Star Wars club section in the expo hall.

A father and son enjoy target shooting at the Mad Cow Paintball demonstration.
A father and son enjoy target shooting at the Mad Cow Paintball demonstration.

Pro wrestling

Nearby in the hall, wrestlers took to the mat to show off old-style wrestling moves as part of the Pro Wrestling Phoenix Live . The PWP stars were popular with a lot of visitors. I took in a six-person match, which reminded me of the old “All-Star Wrestling” days, when KETV aired live matches from the Civic Auditorium. When I was a kid, my dad would take us to matches around rural Nebraska, including Oakland, Tekamah, Arlington and Fremont. I had posters and autographs; all kinds of memorabilia. Cowboy Bob Ellis and Reggie Parks were my favorite wrestlers. But, those days faded when pro wrestling took a different route. Today, the WWE shows are packed and air live on cable television. But, the PWP was a throw back to the wrestling of yesteryear.

A wrestler jumps off the top rope to land on top of the wrestler laying on the mat
Members of PWP Live show off their skills in the wrestling ring.

When the wrestlers weren’t involved in head locks or jumping from the top rope, kids took to the mat with bubble fighting. As I watched a brother and sister bounce their bubbles off each other, he said something to her that got her goat, because she went to town on him, pushing him to the mat several times.

Oops! A boy gets upended during bouncey wrestling.
Oops! A boy gets upended during bouncey wrestling.

Celebrity sightings

Celebrities  are a highlight to the comic and pop culture convention, and this one didn’t disappoint. I was a childhood fan of “Family Affair,” a CBS sitcom about a bachelor and his butler who end up caring for the man’s nieces and nephew following their parents’ deaths. It ran for five seasons, 1966-71. Kathy Garver, who played the oldest child Cissy, signed autographs and posed for pictures with fans, as well as participating in a few question-and-answer panels.

Kathy Garver starred in the 1960s sitcom "Family Affair."
Kathy Garver starred in the 1960s sitcom “Family Affair.”

“Sesame Street” actors Roscoe Orman and Ala Muraoka visited with fans about life on the “Street.” Each shared who their favorite celebrity guests were and discussed being on the long-running public education show. In addition to their characters on the show, each has acted in other shows, such as “It Could Happen to You” and “The Wire.”

Roscoe Orman and Alan Maraoka have been on "Sesame Street" for several decades.
Roscoe Orman and Alan Maraoka have been on “Sesame Street” for several decades.

Roscoe and Alan had to be big fans of the Martian characters roaming the floor, if they saw them. A duo dressed as the Muppet characters and were popular among visitors.

Martian characters from the Muppets.
Martian characters from the Muppets.

The comic con offers a variety of how-to and informative panels, such as speaking Klingon, Klingon Jeopardy and getting into cosplay. I sat in on a friend’s panel about soundtracks and scores in movies. “Soundtracks Role in Nerdy Movies” featured podcaster Randy Andrews leading a discussion on the impact of soundtracks and scores in movies. I learned quite a bit during the panel. Next time you watch the original “Superman,” listen to the subtle build of the famed theme music  when Clark Kent walks out of a building and becomes Superman in order to save Lois Lane from certain death. Other movies were discussed, including “Magnificent Seven” and “Jaws.”

Cosplay fun

Batman and his daughter are at O Comic Con.
Batman and his daughter are at O Comic Con.

Of course, nothing beats taking in the hundreds of people who dress in cosplay. People put in a lot of thought into their character and spend a lot of time and effort in creating their costumes. O Comic Con hosts a cosplay costume contest and people can win prizes and certificates. A person dressing as a character from “Outlander” took second place in the intermediate division. Jenn’s exhibit – Outlandish Omaha – highlighted an Omaha fan group for the cable series. Her table was across the row from ours, where we sold copies of our book, “100 Things to Do in Omaha Before You Die.”

Jenn dressed in costume at the "Outlandish Omaha" table.
Jenn dressed in costume at the “Outlandish Omaha” table.

People watching is a fun activity at O Comic Con. The outfits and costumes you see are impressive. One woman designs her own costumes but doesn’t like them shared online. Trust me when I say it was beautiful. However, there were several outstanding costumes around the convention. I was impressed with a group of cosplayers dressed as characters from the Star Wars parody “Spaceballs.”

"Spaceball" characters - Barf, Lonestar, Snotty and a radar operator.
“Spaceball” characters – Barf, Lonestar, Snotty and a radar operator.

A family entertained people as characters from “Star Wars.” The dad was a Jedi, daughter was Boba Fett and the youngest daughter was an Ewok. They made a cute team.

Star Wars family dressed as a Jedi, Boba Fett and Ewok.
A “Star Wars” family.

Odin family reunion

Of course, the Marvel Universe was well-represented. Ant-man and his partner The Wasp patrolled the arena. Their costumes were spot on.

People dressed in costume as Ant-Man and The Wasp.
Ant-Man and The Wasp.

The children of Odin, king of Asgard represented the family. Thor attended as a man and a woman. The female Thor’s costume was one of the best I’ve seen at a comic con (based on four times at O Comic Con and a Planet Comic Con). Her costume and props had a realistic look.

Woman dressed as Thor carrying the hammer

Of course, following last year’s hit “Thor: Ragnarok,” his sister Hela was destined to make an appearance, right? The girl portraying Hela did a great job in staying character during our brief visit.

Hela wields Thor's hammer.
Hela wields Thor’s hammer.

People enjoyed themselves during the three days of O Comic Con. Celebrating its fourth year, the convention continues to grow and attract people. We always have fun visiting and covering the event. We look forward to O Comic Con V in 2019.

For more information on the event and to follow news regarding the 2019 convention, please visit