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My Time at Amazing Hawaii Comic Con 2017!

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This past weekend, August 25-27, the Honolulu Convention Center played host to the city’s 3rd major fandom convention of the year, the Amazing Hawaii Comic Con 2017. The island has been on a roll of excellent shows with high-end guests and this one was no exception! I knew I’d be standing in lines and making bad financial decisions the moment they released the guest lineup.

Jason David Frank, William Shatner, Michael Dorn, Brent Spiner, LeVar Burton, Gates McFadden, and Marina Sirtis, and Alan Tudyk. Hopefully, I don’t have to explain who any of them are and you already know. But those were the media guests – the comic book creators were people to get worked up for, too, as Eddie Nunez, Tony Fleecs, Chris Claremont, Kevin Eastman, and the ToddFather himself Todd McFarlane were all meeting fans, as well. I needed to be one of those fans.

Friday I arrived late because of that pesky need for a paycheck and work, but was able to get the lay of the land. Plenty of retailers, a packed Artist Alley, and the media signings were all nicely laid out with enough room to walk without feeling crammed together, which is always a nice luxury you find at cons in Honolulu.

 

What I should have done is immediately jumped in line for Todd McFarlane, who was far and away my primary goal of who I wanted to meet this weekend. Lines were reasonable and everyone was there, which lulled me into a feeling of “there’ll be plenty of time.” Stupid, stupid me.

Really quickly, let’s try to feel better with a few cosplay pictures, including an adorable “traveling Moana.”

CHOCOBO! Awesome detail (and strong of back).
I dunno….Stay Puft Marshmallow Man? Or whatever.
See? She debuted the new suit!!!
His head turns all the way around.
The most adorable cosplay of the year.

 

Saturday morning I got a late start due to another pesky need, this time trying to do laundry using machines shared by a building filled with alchemists. Got there about 3pm and was promptly told that Todd McFarlane was done signing for the day and would probably not be back for the rest of the convention.

Dammitsohard.

I was kicking myself, but wanted to at least see his panel that afternoon. He had an hour set aside on the main stage and I figured it would be a lot of hints and hype about the upcoming SPAWN film. What it ended up being was a half-rant, half-sales-pitch on creating something you’re passionate about and never relinquishing more control than you’re comfortable with. (And some hints and hype about the upcoming SPAWN film.) When he’d finished, I was all psyched up to create something…sure do wish I knew what I wanted to create.

Create! Own your ideas! Play it smart! – the Todd McFarlane sales pitch.

 

A common thing in Hawaii when famous people are seen is to generally minimize your fanboy/fangirl hassling of them. However, when McFarlane was casually walking out of the panel without a swarm of security, I decided to bend the rule. I shook his hand and said thank you. He was the first creator I ever met and it was completely by happenstance at a small store I used to visit in WA, but he signed my Spider-Man #1 that was new on the shelves. He was very cool and, when I mentioned that store back in WA he was a co-owner of, he got a big smile on his face and agreed to take a quick picture with me. This meant more to me than another autograph, so it became the highlight of my entire weekend.

Me and the ToddFather…mean muggin’.

 

Next up, I swung by Chris Claremont’s booth. I’ve read a ridiculous amount of his X-Men work and had to make sure I got his signature. I’d been prepping books I wanted signed in the week leading up to this con, and suddenly found myself with a problem that NO comic book fan has had since the mid 90s…I couldn’t find a copy of X-Men #1. ANY OF THEM! And I’m one of those fools that has (had?) all 4 interlocking ones and the 5th which was the gatefold cover of all of them. What I did have, and was completely fine with, was the first 3 issues of Wolverine’s standalone series from 1988. He was nice and I didn’t want to pester him too much as a guy dressed like Arrow had just spent 20 minutes telling him that (read with the Comic Book Guy voice) “the writing of X-Men during your tenure was exemplary and when I see what FOX has done to interpret the rich tapestry weaved by your words is nothing short of cringe-worthy…” or some such idiocy.

A legendary writer….and Christ Claremont. JOKING! Chris Claremont is awesome and had the patience to deal with me.

 

Sunday was my day to cruise and buy stuff. I’m ballin’ on a budget at these cons, so if my money can go to one thing, I usually go art over celebrity meet-and-greets. So I confess I didn’t spring for any of the Star Trek folk even though I really think they’re all even way more fascinating people beyond their work on that show. I can tell you from meeting Brent Spiner at a SDCC one year that he’s pretty cool. Regardless, Sunday is when I planned on making my bad financial decisions in Artist Alley.

I may joke about bad financial decisions, but I don’t regret them when it comes to making sure these artists get compensated for their amazing work.

Locally, series like Pineapple Man, ‘Amakua Guardians, Kukui Project, Go For Broke, and more are doing exactly what McFarlane was talking about. They’re telling new stories with new voices and doing it largely on their own terms. Gotta respect that. (These are just a few, the local scene is growing and becoming more polished more and more in recent years, my apologies for not being able to tag them all!)

Mana Comics! Check out their titles like ‘Amakua Guardians!
Pineapple Man! A long-standing Hawaii indie hero.
Todd Bernardy, writer/artist of Kukui Project and Disco Thunder Groove Bone (and pro model).
Go For Broke: A story that follows the legendary 442nd in WWII.

 

Eddie Nunez and Ryan Kincaid are a couple of artists I follow on social media and I was more than OK with picking up some prints to support. Nunez has a dynamic style that is probably best known from his work on TMNT. Kincaid does pinups and cover art and I have never had such strange feelings for Ms. Martian.

Eddie Nunez’s Bat Family.
Eddie Nunez’s Ninja Turtles.
Eddie Nunez’s TMNT Villains.
Ryan Kincaid making me feel things about Ms Martian…

 

I also need to mention Kevin Eastman. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting him a couple of times and he’s always been exceptionally cool. Last year, he signed my 5th printing of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #1 that I’d purchased at a tiny con when I was a kid. It was (and is) my Grail Piece, so anything else I can get from him is gravy. This year, 3 prints jumped out at me. One because it had all 4 brothers with Splinter and Shredder and the other two because they feature Leonardo, my favorite of the turtles.

TMNT, Splinter, and Shredder!
Leonardo. The best one.
Leonardo honoring Slash (even tho I see no top hat).

 

I also was able to catch a Alan Tudyk’s panel about his series Con Man (coming soon to SyFy) as well as a Q&A session with the audience where he rewarded those who asked questions with random items (receipts, etc.) that he autographed. He clearly has a great sense of humor and deals with the hullaballoo of a conventions with a deft hand.

Ask a question, then wonder if you inspired a joke on the show.

 

In the end, it was an amazing (yup) experience overall. I always look forward to attending the local shows and I’m lucky we’ve been getting so many good ones. If you’re looking for some fandom to go along with a tropical vacation, I highly recommend it!

 

See you at the next one…

Matthew Wells
I was born at an early age. It didn’t last. I once was almost punched by one of Jackie Chan’s bodyguards – which probably means I wasn’t ready for the Final Boss. I was also an extra in two episodes of LOST. The catering was phenomenal.