Boston Comic Con 2013 report

On Saturday, 3 August 2013, I went to the Boston Comic Con, which had been postponed and relocated because of the marathon bombings this past spring. David I.S. had hoped to attend it. The convention was crowded but worthwhile.

BCC 2013 wallpaper
Superheroes visit Boston

I got to the Seaport World Trade Center by 9:30 a.m., and the lines to get in were already around the block. Advance ticket holders like me, Beruk A., and Thomas K.Y. & Kai-Yin H. ended up waiting an hour or more, while those who bought their tickets that day, such as Sara F., didn’t have to wait as long. I hope that the organizers will have more people working admissions next year.

As with last year’s con, which I attended with Janice, it was great to see a diverse range of fans of all ages, races, and genders. Even though the site was bigger than the Hynes Convention Center, which was originally supposed to host the show, the crowds likely exceeded the expected attendance of 15,000 by a significant percentage.

Although it’s too bad that Dave and Janice weren’t along, it was nice to be at the con with a group. I ran into several people I know, including a co-worker and folks from Bedrock Comics, Newbury Comics, and New England Comics.

Readers looking for back issues could find excellent deals on trade paperbacks and graphic novels, and toy collectors had many booths to choose from. There were also several vendors specializing in arts and crafts, if fewer of fan-made films, costume accessories, or tabletop role-playing games.

Getting beyond the dealers’ area were some celebrities and the artists’ alley. Although Walking Dead and Hobbit fans were eager for autographs, we focused on the latter this year. We also didn’t get to any panels or the film festival because of staggered arrivals and the crowds.

I was glad to see comics greats such as Neal Adams, Colleen Doran, Mike Mignola, George Perez, Don Rosa, and Tim Sale. Even though I had met several of them before, we were happy to chat with the likes of David Petersen, Joe Quinones, and Daixong. I bought sketchbooks from some of these artists.

Of course, there were lots of fans and exhibitors in costume. DC and Marvel Comics characters were well-represented, as were anime and videogame properties. There were also some steampunk cosplayers and impressive homemade garb. I didn’t wear a costume because of comfort, but I always appreciate those who make the effort.

I’ve already been to a few local genre entertainment events so far this year, including the Watch City Festival and Creation Star Trek convention. For next year’s Boston Comic Con, I’ll have to plan more carefully to account for the crowds, and I hope that friends will again join me.

In the coming months, I look forward to the Rhode Island Comic Con and the Super MegaFest, as well as possibly the New York Comic Con! Coming soon: Other genre news and reviews, food outings, and game updates….

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Creation Star Trek Boston 2013 convention report

On Saturday, 8 June 2013, I met former co-worker and fellow blogger Ken G. at the Hynes Convention Center in Boston for the Creation Star Trek show. While I’ve been to several genre entertainment events in the past few years, this was the first purely Trek gathering in some time.

There were relatively few vendors at the con, partly because the space opera franchise hasn’t had many new installments lately, the Star Trek: Into Darkness reboot sequel notwithstanding. Most of the fans we met preferred the original continuity, from the short-lived 1960s television series through Star Trek: Nemesis and Enterprise.

We went to lunch at Café Jaffa, from where we could watch people gathering for Boston’s Pride Parade, for which Star Trek: the Next Generation alumna Denise Crosby (Lt. Tasha Yar) was the marshal. I may have been in a Deep Space Nine/First Contact uniform, but I felt underdressed amid the colorful costumes.

Back at the con, Ken and I sat in on writer Morgan Gendel’s panel on the Next Generation episode “The Inner Light,” which I appreciated more after learning how the show won a Hugo Award. As I’ve noted before, The Next Generation is still my favorite TV Trek because of its professional but idealistic crew that became a surrogate family. “The Inner Light” was a good example of the strength of allegorical and episodic storytelling, compared with today’s arc-dominated dramas.

We also attended the costume contest, where numerous Trekkies or Trekkers showed off their creativity in representing various series. I cheered the cosplayer dressed as an Andorian, but I have to admit that the fan dressed as Capt. Montgomery “Scotty” Scott was a ringer for the late James Doohan.

After that, Michael Dorn and Suzie Plakson regaled the audience with stories from their time playing ill-fated Klingon lovers Worf and K’Ehleyr. They also politely but firmly declined to return to those roles, saying that too much time has passed.

We hung out for a short time during the auction, and then enjoyed seeing George Takei, a.k.a. Capt. Hikaru Sulu. He responded to a question about his favorite movie featuring the original series cast with Star Trek VI: the Undiscovered Country, in which Sulu got to be in the opening and closing scenes as captain of the Excelsior. Takei also noted that John Cho did a fine job in J.J. Abrams’ recent films.

In addition, Takei acknowledged that he has help with his popular Facebook posts, which cover sci-fi, humor, and politics. As an Asian-American and a speculative fiction fan, I appreciate Takei’s activism and roles. Trek continues to have a fan base that’s wonderfully diverse in terms of age, gender, and ethnicity, and I hope that the movies can become more heroic and restore the franchise’s popularity.

Brent Spiner and Gates McFadden then took the stage to talk about their time as android Data and Dr. Beverly Crusher on Star Trek: the Next Generation and various theatrical roles. I had seen most of the actors at this con before, but never so many in person together.

Ken and I grabbed dinner at Tossed in the Shops at Prudential Center. Back at the con, we had photo ops with Mr. Takei and LeVar Burton, a.k.a. Geordi LaForge. I didn’t get autographs this time around, but the photo ops were personalized souvenirs.

With Geordi LaForge
Ken, LeVar, and Gene

I was glad that we were able to get tickets to the headline event of the con, a reunion of much of the Next Generation cast, with William Shatner serving as moderator! Apparently, Patrick Stewart (Capt. Jean-Luc Picard), Jonathan Frakes (Capt. Will T. Riker), and Wil Wheaton (En. Wesley Crusher) weren’t available, but I’d seen two out of the three before anyway.

Shatner may have a big ego, but he has aged surprisingly gracefully and has been a good interviewer. His charisma and sense of humor helped the unruly crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701D and E in conversation. Everyone made fun of Sir Patrick’s initial pretensions as a Shakespearean actor.

Crosby, McFadden, and Marina Sirtis (Counselor Deanna Troi) talked about their struggles with sexism in the first season of the show in 1987. Despite creator Gene Roddenberry’s humanism, The Next Generation had a less-than-auspicious start, leading to McFadden and Crosby’s departures. McFadden eventually returned, and Crosby made some memorable cameos.

Snarky Spiner and deep-voiced Dorn demonstrated how they and Frakes would joke around with their costars on the set, leading to several frustrated directors. With prompting from Shatner and Sirtis, who vied for control, earnest Burton and Dorn recounted how the “Code of Honor” episode was terribly racist, but they stuck with the show, which gradually improved. All of the actors said they liked fond spoof Galaxy Quest.

Ken returned to the convention the next day to get more autographs. Also in attendance were Nichelle Nichols, the original Lt. Nyota Uhura, and Deep Space Nine‘s Rene Auberjonois (Odo) and Nana Visitor (Maj. Kira Nerys). The only living members of the core casts of the original series and Next Gen whom I haven’t yet met are Leonard “I’m not Spock” Nimoy and Wheaton.

The convention might have been pricey, but I enjoyed it more than Into Darkness and was pleased to learn that Creation plans on holding it again next year. In the meantime, live long and prosper!

Super MegaFest 2012 con report

On Saturday, 17 November 2012, I met former co-worker and fellow fan Ken G. at the Sheraton Framingham for the tenth annual Super MegaFest. We had a good time at the genre entertainment convention, which had an even stronger lineup of celebrity guests than usual.

I thought the show‘s organizers did a decent job of handling crowd control, since attendance has grown and space is limited. On the other hand, I did have to wait in several long lines, and I heard some complaints about guests having to wait for rides at the airport.

In addition, the pop culture portions have squeezed the space available to vendors and comic book artists. I’ve noted previously that support for tabletop role-playing games has all but vanished from such multimedia events, and DVD and toy sellers aren’t far behind. I have to admit, though, the assorted actors and artists were a strong draw for me this year.

I had met Kevin Sorbo, the lead of Hercules: the Legendary Journeys, Andromeda, and Kull the Conqueror at a previous con, but Ken and I got to join his joking conversations with other fans and Bruce Boxleitner, who sat at the next table.

I’ve watched Boxleitner in Tron (including Tron Legacy and Tron Uprising), Scarecrow and Mrs. King, Bring ‘Em Back Alive, and Babylon 5. During his panel discussion, Boxleitner gave us insights into Tron and B5, balancing his bitterness toward meddling network TV executives with kudos for his fellow actors and fondness for history. I agree with his statement that there should be more heroic, idealistic space opera on television, continuing in the tradition of John Carter, Star Trek, and Stargate SG1.

I was happy to meet Adrian Paul, star of Highlander: the Series, one of the best modern fantasy TV shows of the 1990s (or indeed any time, in my opinion) and one of the strongest parts of that swashbuckling franchise. He has aged nearly as gracefully as his immortal Scotsman. I told Paul that his former castmate Roger Daltrey was in town performing with The Who. I was surprised that relatively few people sought Paul’s autograph, but he was a last-minute addition to the roster.

Dean Cain, best known as Clark Kent/Superman in Lois & Clark: the New Adventures of Superman, was smiling and pleasant to everyone, just as any Superman fan could hope. A bunch of models ran over to get their photos with the beefy actor, who had one of the longer autograph lines at the MegaFest.

Like Boxleitner, Cain was complimentary of his fellow actors during his panel. He talked about being a single father, his own love of history, and how he and Sorbo had both auditioned for the role of Superman. Cain also talked about his and Christopher Reeve’s cameos on Smallville and wished Henry Cavill good luck with the upcoming Man of Steel.

Speaking of TV superheroes, I found John Wesley Shipp from The Flash to be very friendly. It’s hard to believe that close to 20 years have passed since that wave of live-action superheroes on TV, which arguably paved the way for more recent cinematic blockbusters such as The Avengers.

The guest of honor was Stan “the Man” Lee, co-creator of Marvel icons such as Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four, and the X-Men. After waiting in long lines, Ken timed my photo op with him at 6 seconds, but it was nice to exchange words with one of the most recognizable comic book creators.

At the Boston Super MegaFest 2012
Greetings, true believers! Excelsior!

I was out of cash after getting various autographs, so I didn’t buy anything else at this year’s con. (Not to mention, I’ve had a busy year, from the Boston Comic Con and Steampunk City to the Rhode Island Comic Con.) There were lots of other actors, models, and fans in costume to see and talk to. See also Ken’s review of this event.

Coming soon: More belated game updates and Skyfall review. Have a safe and Happy Thanksgiving!