Monday, May 19, 2014

The 2014 Detroit Metro Comic Con

This weekend my son and I attended our first ever Motor City Comic Con (we just moved up to Michigan last month). The show was celebrating its twenty-fifth year. Here are some highlights, thoughts and pictures.

Friday kicked off with the doors opening at noon. Man, a lot of people took the day off from work and school to attend. The line outside moved pretty quickly though. They did have someone controlling an R2D2 unit out front to keep everyone in good spirits while they waited to get inside.

The floor was a good mix of vendors (selling comics, toys, memorabilia, T-shirts and so much more), a large Artists Alley (with many comic creators including some folks from the 70's and 80's that I knew) and the celebrity booths. We walked the floor and got our shopping in early. I picked up a number of Marvel Essential volumes I needed to fill in my collection, while my son picked up some art cards RAK Graphics.

The one panel we attended Friday was "Sweep the Leg!", a look back at the 1984 classic The Karate Kid. Actors Billy Zabka and Martin Kove were there to reminisce on the film's thirtieth anniversary. Zabka also talked about his appearances on How I Met Your Mother, and Kove recalled his starting days of acting with Sly Stallone (Kove appeared in the Rocky films). The two have an amazing chemistry together which is attributed to their many years of friendship that started with the film.

Saturday, the doors were to open at 10am. We arrived an hour early and still did not beat the crowds. Hundreds of us were queued up in speaker room 2; those in speaker room 1 ahead of us had arrived as early as 7am to get in line.

Tons of people turned out for the day, with many amazing costumes. I saw countless guys and gals dressed as Doctors Who (mostly Tennants and Smiths). Villains from the Batman comics are also a popular costume choice, as were Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. While my son played some video games at the Rolling Video Games truck, I hit up the celebrity booths to make some small talk with the media guests.

The first person I chatted with was Brittany Daniel. Most would know her from Sweet Valley High and The Game. I decided to chat with her about her role as the hilarious Sophia on the short lived That 80's Show. I had told her about my recent re-watching of the show on YouTube a few months back; she was glad to be able to tell others where they might find it. You can follow her on Twitter at @iambdaniel

Right next to her was Matthew Laurence, who appeared in St. Elmo's Fire and Eddie And the Cruisers. I toldhim about how much of a fan I was of Duet, one of the first shows ever to appear on the FOX network back when it launched in the late 80's (back when they just has a couple nights of new shows). He too was a fan of others and got a few pictures with folks that were seated in his area.

Next, I stopped over to chat with Billy Zabka, to tell him how much we enjoyed his panel. I told him I watched the No More Kings video which he directed for their song "Sweep The Leg" (you can catch it here); the song is a tribute to the Karate Kid film and the video really shows Billy's comedic side. Turns out, Billy and I are both class of '83 (he is in amazing shape for someone our age) so we talked a bit about music too. He is really a fun person to just hang out with and chat. He is on Twitter @WilliamZabka

I next said hello to Robert Hays, best known for his lead in the comedy Airplane! films. Of course, the 70's child I am talked to him about his time on the sitcom Angie.

Herb Jefferson Jr., who played Boomer on the first Battlestar Galactica was at the show as well. For me, I will always be partial to the original show.

I chatted with J. August Richards about his time on Angel and now on Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. The show has really picked up nicely, and I am looking forward to him being back for season two. He said he really enjoyed being back working with the Whedon crew again. His Twitter handle is @jaugustrichards

Lee Majors and Lindsay Wagner from the iconic 70's shows Six Million Dollar Man and Bionic Woman were there. Lee's line was very long, so you had to actually get a number for him. I did manage to talk with Lindsay about her show as well as her working with John Houseman on the original Paper Chase movie from 1973, from which the TV show later spun off. She looks amazing and was very friendly. Her official Twitter is at @opentheheart

I was able to easily talk to the lovely Katie Cassidy, one of the stars of the CW's Arrow. My wife and I are huge fans of the show, and she teased that she knew where things were going for her character Laurel next season. Did Sarah's handing of her jacket to Laurel signify a passing of the Canary torch? We will have to wait and see. I also told her of my being a huge fan of her father David's music (with the Partridge Family and solo) in the early 70's. That made her smile. She Tweets from @MzKatieCassidy

I shared a good moment with Terry Kiser. He too was in the Karate Kid films as well as Rambo II. I remembered him more fondly from his reoccurring appearances on Three's Company and of course as the title character of Weekend At Bernie's. That film has a special significance with my wife and I. It was on cable on our wedding night when we returned to the hotel after our wedding reception; the film always reminds us of that special day. Terry was happy to hear he was a part of our lives and memories, and told me to make sure I told my wife "hello".

Last up was Nicholas Brendon, the everyman Xander on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Long time fans of my blog will recall my recaps of the show as I experienced it for the first time a number of years back via DVD binge watching. He was a delight to chat with and very gracious with all the fans who came to see him. He is on the Tweets @NicholasBrendon

The lines for meeting John Barrowman (of Doctor Who, Torchwood and Arrow), Ernie Hudson (who had the ECTO-1 from Ghostbusters) and the legendary William Shatner were very long every day. As such, I skipped over trying to see them and just took in these fan favorites from afar.

We ended the show by attending the Cosplay Competition, which was MCed by a guy playing as Steve Rogers/Captain America (he had a fantastic style and kept the show fun and flowing). With over 170 participants in three categories (teens, adults, groups), there were plenty of amazing costumes. Below is a sampling of a few favorites.

All in all, we had a fun time at the show and look forward to doing it again next year.

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