By Andrew Reid
I am a nerd. I am a huge comic book fan and I spend a large amount of my free time playing video games. Because of this, I gladly accepted the job of writing a first-person article about attending our very own Fayetteville Comic Con, held in October at the Crown Expo Center, and I felt right at home when I got there.
I arrived right after the doors opened on the first day of the two-day event. The organizers were expecting 10,000 people to come both days and there were probably even more people than that. It felt like there were at least that many people there by lunchtime on that Saturday.
It wasn’t that crowded when walked in so it was easy to get a good look at everything and everyone. There was plenty to see. People were decked out as characters across hundreds of fandoms from the worlds of science fiction, comic books, fantasy, video games, television and more. I saw characters from “Rick and Morty,” the animated sci-fi sitcom, some from “It,” the horror movie, and many people dressed like characters from franchises like Marvel, DC, “Attack on Titan” (a Japanese manga series) and “Power Rangers,” the long-running live-action superhero TV series. Because of my journalistic role at Comic Con – and because of my red hair – I dressed as Jimmy Olsen, the Daily Planet photographer (and friend of Superman and Clark Kent).
For the first hour or so of the convention, I explored the merchandise for sale at the more than 50 booths stationed along Artist’s Alley and Author’s Alley. Many of the vendors carried vintage toys and models. There were items from “Power Rangers,” “Star Wars,” “Alien,” “Ghostbusters” and more. Other vendors were selling extravagant fan art from “Attack on Titan” and other anime and manga stories, like “Tokyo Ghoul.” There was lots of steampunk weaponry and accessories and also a gory special-effects booth with latex faces and fake blood. I marveled at some of the larger works by people, like the steampunk TARDIS and the large Optimus Prime suit piloted by Rocky Melvin.
As I walked around, I ran into a few of my friends, who were also dressed up and enjoying themselves. Then I began to look at the list of special-topic panels that were to be held during Comic Con. These included meetings with actors from different franchises, discussions of comic book themes and characters, Nerd Slams (nerd poetry contests), comedy troupes and classes about cosplaying and gaming.
I considered going to the “Meet Vic Mignogna” panel to see the well-known voiceover actor and also to the “Comedy! With a Nerd Slant!” panel.
Instead, I went to “Meet the Power Rangers.” It featured Nakia Burrise, Alyson Sullivan and Jack Guzman, who had all played Power Rangers on the TV series. Burrise and Sullivan had both been Yellow Rangers (not at the same time) and Guzman was a Black Ranger the same season that Sullivan was on. They were very friendly and answered lots of questions about the show and their characters from the many adults and younger people in the audience, all of whom seemed to be big fans.
Besides the panels, held in closed rooms, there were presentations on the main stage in the middle of Comic Con. Here, you could watch demonstrations of martial arts and swordplay as well as aerial gymnastics, belly dancing and a cosplay contest. There was an area where people could play such games as Magic the Gathering, HeroClix, Tekken 7, Marvel V.S. Capcom Infinite, Yu-Gi-Oh, Marvel V.S. Capcom 2, Capcom V.S. SNK 2 and Super Smash Bros Melee. There were also tournaments for most of the games.
I missed seeing the person who was probably the biggest star at the conference – actor Lou Ferrigno, who’s best-known for playing the Incredible Hulk. But I enjoyed myself immensely nevertheless. I loved the event, I bought a die set and I can’t wait for next year.