Earlier this month, The Chad attended the 28th annual Motor City Comic Con in Novi, Michigan! The Chad is a 4 year veteran of the con, and he shares some of the con highlights in the interview below!
“Motor City Comic Con gathers over 250 comic book creators, writers and artists, and more than fifty actors from the television and movie industry. Over a million comics for sale, plus collectible toys, anime, movies, pop culture crafts and gaming merchandise! Truly something for all fans of comics and pop culture!” – Official Website
What drew you to this convention?
I’ve always had a passion for comic books and cartoons so it was inevitable that the Motor City Comic Con, the biggest annual comic book convention in the state of Michigan, would be brought to my attention (much of which came from advertisements at local comic shops and word-of-mouth among my peers). But it just so happened that Anime Central is held either the weekend of or just prior to the weekend of MCCC and after a trip to Chicago, I never had the money or time off of work to attend both. Fortunately, the same friend who first invited me to ACen soon got me to attend and eventually accept a staff position at the (at the time) growing local anime convention, Youmacon. That same friend and I eventually found ACen not quite worth the trip anymore (I preferred cartoons and comics to anime, afterall). Since Youmacon takes place in the fall, that freed up the spring for, you guessed it, Motor City Comic Con.
Since that particular year came with a ticket package to meet the “Generalissimo” himself, Stan “The Man” Lee, I went all in…and spent way too much.
Totally worth it!
Where’d you replenish your health (consumed noms, potions) during the convention?
I didn’t. Typically for a comic book convention, I either eat a hearty breakfast beforehand or plan to grab a bite for dinner afterward. You can always stand in line at the concessions booth for admittedly overpriced hot dogs, pizza, and pop. In the one case, I did eat there a pretty good walking taco. There are also independent stands in the same area with roasted nuts, cotton candy, smoothies, fudge, smoked sausage, and other carnivalesque treats (all appropriately expensive).
For the most part, comic book conventions are held in one large room wherein everything is contained and hold strict to the hours of the convention each day, late morning to the evening unlike anime conventions that hold panels, showings, and events all day and night all weekend from opening ceremonies to close. For comic book conventions, I don’t leave for food unless I don’t intend on coming back that day. If you do decide to get food at the convention, good luck finding a spot with the limited seating and remember to be nice, you WILL be sharing a table with strangers.
Did you have any run-ins with the honored guests? Do tell us.
Not really this year, but I did stand in line for an autograph from John Barrowman as a birthday gift for a friend. Besides a genuine “Thank you”, a friendly smile, and a twinkle in his eye, there really isn’t anything else to tell of my encounter with John Barrowman this year. Two years ago though…
I believe it was John Barrowman’s first year at Motor City Comic Con and the line to meet him was understandably quite long. So long, in fact, that the convention instigated a ticket number policy. That number was your place in line. Yes, you could spend an hour or more wandering the con and come back to go right to the front of the line. I, however, spent considerably more than an hour away after I received my ticketed place in line and nearly didn’t go back. It was the end of the day at the convention and there were only three people left in line.
I was allowed to be the last person in line. I paid for an autograph, but was technically was only allowed to take a picture of John Barrowman doing the actual signing, as a picture with him was supposed to be done through a professional photographer and scheduled in advance.
Well, when I asked to just take the picture, I’ll never forget that charming smile as John Barrowman’s said to me, “I’m not supposed to do this but…Get in here!” Thus my day and greatest selfie ever was made.
I had other great experiences in the past as well. My very first year at the convention it was with Curtis Armstrong (Booger from Revenge of the Nerds). At the time Mr. Armstrong was also voicing the main character of the all too short-lived series Dan Vs. When I requested he autograph a picture from that series he proudly proclaimed, “I love Dan!” and when I asked for a picture with him the left up from the table and actually asked if we could do a “Dan Shouting at the Sky” pose. It was awesome!
As an aside, “Rowdy” Roddy Piper was the nicest celebrity I have ever met and he seemed genuinely happy and thankful that fans like me had come to see him. It was very sad to hear of his passing just a few months after meeting him. “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan was also really fun and was proud to show off his WWE Hall of Fame ring and pose for fun pictures.
Was the autograph line worth it?
In most cases, the question should be “Was the price worth it?” In most cases the answer to both should also be “Yes”. Unlike anime conventions, celebrities at comic conventions charge somewhere between $30-$65 for either an autograph or a picture with them so you have to budget according to who you want to meet. You could always stand in line just to meet the person, shake their hand, and express your appreciation and adulation for their work, but you wouldn’t have anything besides the experience for your wait. Your call. Me? I like having something to show off. One nice thing about waiting in a long line to meet a certain celebrity is you already have some common ground to start a conversation with other people in the line. Sure beats just standing and waiting.
Any notable cosplays at the con?
There’s always some notable cosplay at nearly every fan convention. Of course, there’s always at least one Batman, Slave Leia, and Deadpool, but it’s the unique and obscure cosplays that get my attention. There was actually more than one combination Mary Poppins/Yondu cosplay considering Michael Rooker from Guardians of the Galaxy was there. My personal favorites this year were two women cosplaying as Ms. Frizzle from The Magic School Bus and the title character from the obscure 90s Nick Jr. educational series, Eureeka’s Castle.
Give the deets on the dealer room. Did you pick up anything?
Basically, the entire convention is one gigantic dealer’s room. The room is basically set up as comic guests and artists on the left side, followed by crafters, then the bulk of the space is taken up by aisles and aisles of vendors and dealers, then the media celebrity booths, and finally curtained off areas for photo shoots, panels, and other presentations.
It’s hard to describe. It’s like walking into the world’s greatest toy store. A collection of both the nostalgic and new and hundreds of like-minded individuals all there to share the experience.
“Did I pick up anything?” Oh, yeah. Probably more than I need, but less than I wanted. I love digging through long boxes of old, unsorted $1 comics and discovering the obscure adventures of my favorite heroes or finding forgotten or unheard of characters or series. I always seek to add to my existing comics collection typically to find some missing issues to complete a story arc.
I am always looking to add my “Villain Shelf”, my personal collection of villain character figures I have set up in my room. To that end, I bought a completed “Build-a-Figure” of Red Onslaught, the time the Red Skull stole the late Professor Xavier’s brain and mental powers and recreated himself as the powerful psychic entity from the major Marvel Comics event in the 1990’s. I also didn’t expect to find a cheap figure of Nekron the cosmic entity of death that fulfilled the “Darkest Night” prophecy of the Green Lanterns by raising all of the dead heroes and villains in the DC Universe to bring an end to all life in existence. Yeah. Welcome to the wonderful world of comics.
I also bought a few other figures like Crita an obscure female villain from the spin-off series The New Adventures of He-Man, a Steel Clan robot from Gargoyles, Dreadwing the main villain from the gimmicky 90’s toy line Dragon Flyz, and a small figurine of Sour Grapes one of the villains from Strawberry Shortcake (Although I would have preferred the Peculiar Purple Pieman of Porcupine Peak).
What bit of advice would you give to newbies hoping to attend next year?
While you’re wandering through the aisles and booths make sure to look up from the tables and eye level to see some of the rarer and choice collectibles you’d otherwise miss. Look up at the people passing by while you’re at a booth or just walking around. Otherwise, you’ll miss some pretty awesome cosplay and other adorable moments. Like the way a small child’s face lights up when they see Chewbacca in the crowd and their parents let them race forward to hug his leg.
Look up prices before you go. The Motor City Comic Con website has the media guests listed along with the day’s they’ll be in attendance and how much it costs for an autograph and/or a picture. If you’re going to be looking for a specific comic book issue, figure, or other collectible be sure to look up it’s expected value how much they’re asking for it on eBay and Amazon so you know if you’re getting a deal or ripped off. These should allow you to budget yourself accordingly.
Most importantly, look up at other people. If someone addresses you, even if it’s because you’re unknowingly blocking their way while you’re digging through an unsorted longbox, look up at them and smile. You’ll both instantly be recognized as a fellow fan instead of “just some jerk”. Look up at the vendors, artists, and dealers even if you’re not going to buy anything from them. If you don’t end up trading quips and laughs with at least one other person at the convention you’re doing it wrong. You’re missing out on the fun and the most important reason for any convention.
You’re not all there just for the comics, collectibles, and celebrities. You’re all there because you share a passion for these things. The only reason there’s even a convention in the first place is because there’s enough people that share your passions and interests that they all agreed to gather together to celebrate that fact. You are not alone. So look up, look around at the other people like you, and have fun.
Any other highlights you wanna tell us about?
Not so much “highlights” as a few tips.
Bring cash. Most people at the convention will accept credit and debit cards, but it gets real easy to lose track of how much you spend until it’s too late and you see your statement at the end of the month.
Be prepared to carry whatever you bring or buy. You do have an armband and can go out to your car to drop off any large purchases and walk right back in, but you might be in for a long walk depending on your parking situation. Consider this because you will rarely find a place to set your stuff down and rest.
Go to the Motor City Comic Con website, plan what day you want to go, and buy your ticket in advance. Not only will this save your an extremely long time waiting outside the building to get in, but you can also enter the convention a half hour earlier than everyone else. So get there early too.
Thanks for reading this exclusive interview with The Chad! If you liked what you read, sound off in the comments below! Let us know your thoughts on the convention and your own experiences there!