Motor City Comic Con 2016
This past weekend at the Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi, Exclusive Magazine went to the Motor City Comic Con 2016. As always, it was an experience that nobody could ever forget!
Indeed, better than that, and according to the facts and figures now being told to us, this past weekend’s Motor City Comic Con broke all previous attendance records with an all-time high of 55,000 fans attending the three-day event! Featuring stars of the small and big screen - such as en masse of 'The Walking Dead' cast, the original Batman & Robin (Adam West and Burt Ward), Tara Reid and Ian Ziering ('Sharknado!'), Lea Thompson ('Back To The Future'), Monty Python's Terry Jones, Brent Spiner ('Star Trek'), and others like Brenda Strong ('The 100'), Michael Nesmith (The Monkees), Lena Headey ('Game Of Thrones'), and both William B. Davis ('The X-Files') and Malcolm Goodwin ('iZombie') - Motor City Comic Con broke it's own attendance record with an overall 10 percent increase in total attendance compared to last year!
This year's event saw 42 celebrity Media Guests, 239 Comic Book Guests, as well as 29 Crafters and 149 exhibitors.
That all said, taking a look at the event through the eyes of those attendees / fans, it seems the ongoing annoyance to them was the way that all the stars "double-dipped" their fans! By that I mean they charge 'x' amount for an autograph,and then the same (if not more) 'x' amount to have a photo taken with them (on your camera). So, each star would set you back @ $80 each to have an autograph + photo with them, which given the amount of talent on show, was going to add up very quickly per person.
In 2014 only one person was "double-dipping", but since last year everybody has started doing it, and with an autograph from Michael Nesmith (The Monkees) setting you back $100 alone, well, you can quickly see why these events are money spinners for all involved with it.
Sadly though, not many fans had the cash allowance to do such a thing for all their personal favorites. As one attendee / fan (James Keller, Livonia, MI) simply put it, "Comic Con's are about three things: Artistic Capitalism with Attitude with regard Fans vs. Artists".
Luckily, being a member of the Press, I was afforded the chance to chat one-on-one with the stars, interview them here and there, get to know them - and yes, kindly have free photographs taken with them for this magazine. Which I did throughout the event and most all, I am pleased to reveal, were lovely, truly gracious people. Sure, a few of the stars (all men) were pissed that their respective lines weren't as long as other celebrities seemed to always be, but that's life, as they say.
Moving on, and in addition to the en masse of celebrities, there were also en masse of Comic Book guests. In fact, they outnumbered the stars at nearly 5 to 1, as they took over two thirds of the convention center in Novi! Including face painters, graphic designers, painters, artists, and even some truly fascinating new styles of creating comic books, this years Motor City Comic Con really lived up to being the biggest coming together of Cos-Play fans yet.
Add to that booths upon booths of comic book sellers along with sellers of collectible items, photographs, animated drawings, tshirts, hats, and so much more, to say you get value for your entrance money at these events is an understatement!
Starting off on the Friday at 12.30pm, this is the day to meet the stars that you've come to meet, trust me! Due to most people still being at work, the lines are slack, the stars talkative, the crowds blocking the aisles noticeably sparser. Saturday, with the doors opened at 10.30am, well, it was already madness, as the long, long line of fans began to funnel in. And, if you paid a little extra and became a VIP Guest, well, you not only got in 30 minutes earlier than the others, but you got to walk to the front of the line - any line - for any actor!
Sunday began at 10.30am, and was noticeably heavier in foot traffic than Friday. But, the trouble with Sunday is that come mid-afternoon, and knowing that the venue closes at 5.00pm, the stars - looking to catch planes and such - are nearly all gone come mid-afternoon! Some fans, who had paid full whack to get in that day, and @ noon, were not happy about that, especially given that it was actually a lot of The Walking Dead that had, well, walked off!
That said, and on the flip side, I managed to strike up some lovely conversations with actors such as Seth Gilliam (see photo, from www.emergencetalent.com), Malcolm Goodwin, Alloy Ash, Ian Zierling, Brenda Strong, Brent Spiner, Mitch Pileggi, the delightful, and gorgeous Alexandra Breckenridge (see photo below, from www.fullempirepromotions.com), Jordan Trovillion, and the super wonderful, Kristy McNichol. Having already connected to, and spoken with a few via Twitter since the event, their genuine love for the event, for how it brings them closer to their fans, is something you simply cannot fake.
Each of them were happy to chat away with me, sign some stuff, and just be "normal" with me. I mean, when you're standing in the belly of the money making machine beast, and yet the celebrity only wants to hear what YOU have to say, well, it makes you wish for a smaller venue, with just a core of stars that truly get what giving back to the fans (that put them where they are today) truly means.
In 2014, the lines to meet William Shatner went on for 2 hours, the lines to have a photograph with him a little longer. Last year the lines to meet Carmen Bicondova ('Gotham') were an hour, the photo opp lines about the same. This year, well, let's just say that if you wanted to get in line to have something signed by Batman (aka Adam West) that was, at times, a 2-3 hour wait (Robin, much less!), but waiting to have your photo opp with them was a 2 hour nightmare too!
And yes, we had a few cancellations from certain stars, such as both Billie Piper ('Dr. Who') and Robin Lord Taylor ('Gotham'), but that didn't seem to upset people all that much. I mean, this was the 50th Anniversary of the first ever episode of 'Batman', and being that this was also the Dynamic Duo's farewell Comic Con publicity circuit, their draw was, as expected, phenomenal.
As always at these events there were plenty of Cos-Play fans walking around dressed as popular characters from movies, video games and comics. This is where the fun begins for them. None of them cared about the celebrities in town for the convention - right there in the same room as them! Nope, they had spent time and great effort getting themselves fully costumed to rock the cameras! Which they did, for the most part, one and all. Of course, there were some that were better than others, some that had spent more money in the process on their designs, but at the end of the day they were all camera ready!
Indeed, there were - as usual - a LOT of 'Star Wars' costumes, a 'Ghostbusters' tribe, quite a few 'Arrow's and 'Deadpool's, and as much as there were not as many Elsa's on view as there were last year (she had obviously been "frozen" out!), a nice smattering of old school characters had taken her place.
Exclusive Magazine's Top 3 Cos-Play Picks!
Haley Fisher - 21 - Madison Heights - "Rey" ('Star Wars: The Force Awakens')
"This character of Rey means something to me. Growing up there weren’t many powerful female role models in movies and I feel like Rey is now the go-to, not just for girls, but for everyone. She’s really inspiring given all she accomplishes in the film and that resonates with people, especially given her origin. It’s humbling to portray her, because a lot of the kids think I’m the actual Rey so it’s cool being in the character for it and seeing their faces light up.”
"Wade Wilson" - 24 - Southfield - "Deadpool"
“I do work with a lot of patients and a lot of those patients do have melanoma cancer so it does hit a little bit close to home in terms of what I do for my Monday to Friday job. As for Deadpool, he does not censor himself at all, whatsoever. Which is nice in today’s society, where people tend to hide behind not only themselves, in public, but also their customer service voice, is what I like to say. So they are always trying to sell themselves instead of selling an alias, or someone that you’re trying to sell a job interview, just be yourself. Just be yourself. That’s all I really ask for and that’s why I appreciate this character so much.”
Katie O'Rear (22) & Danny Monschau (19) - Sterling Heights - "Headhunters"
"We chose to cosplay Brotherhood of Steel Paladins because we were asked to appear at GameStop for a midnight release. We both love Fallout and the brotherhood of steel has AMAZING armor!”
In truth, come the last few hours my legs and feet were killing me! Well, my feet, my back, my shoulders, my legs ... you get the drift! But, as I hope I've tried to explain above, it's nigh on impossible to experience and absorb everything this convention has to offer in just one of the days. So the pain suffered is one that is wholly acceptable and, come the wee Sunday hours, when all is said and done, all that pain ebbs away and smiles and smiles greet the memories one after another.
Indeed, to fully get involved in it, to give yourself their chance to meet everyone you want to, you really have to plow onward each day - with an advance game plan, I would suggest! Oh, and money - and LOTS of it!
Exclusive Magazine's Top 3 Hot Picks!
For those looking for something a little more, well, "freaky bizarre," look no further than Detroit's very own Theatre Bizarre. Indeed, Theatre Bizarre has been the singular, must-see annual event since it launched (illegally) in the early days of the 21st century. Year after year, its creators return with a spectacular event unlike anything else on earth.
Trust me, I can actually testify to this myself, as back over a decade ago I went with a mate to where they used to hold these "gatherings" (in an old set of houses on Woodward & 8 Mile) where when you walked in, the first thing you noticed was it was pitch black, the next you were (literally) bumping into hanging slabs of dead meat!
Anyway, moving on, and since finding its now permanent home at Detroit’s Masonic Temple (the largest in the world), Theatre Bizarre has been offering progressively grander and more decadent events to those lucky enough to get a ticket. In late October each year, thousands of elaborately-clad and eager attendees fill the carved stone hallways of the labyrinthine tower as they move throughout the night from one indescribable performance to another.
Detroit’s most adventurous souls slipping anonymously past each other as they celebrate their darkest selves into the early hours of the morning. It’s proven to be a very popular formula. In fact, the biggest challenge facing Theatre Bizarre has always been capacity. And now, they’ve solved the problem in grand style.
The Grand Preview Gala offers a whole new, far more intimate Theatre Bizarre experience. With just a few hundred attendees (as opposed to the thousands that attend the main event) the night is an elegant affair with an open bar, strolling dinner and valet parking included in the price of admission.
Gala guests will enjoy selected performances from past shows, highlights from this year’s show, and exclusive sets created especially for that night only. Costumed attendees will follow a trail of fire-eaters, burlesque performers and musical acts as they follow the evening’s path through the historic site.
“The event is based on a world we have created over the years,” explains Theatre Bizarre’s creative lead, John Dunivant. “What started out as a backyard party with a bunch of friends has turned into a critically-acclaimed, enveloping production that has been referred to as a “cultural institution by the Miami Foundation. We have also received grants from the Kresge Foundation, the Knights Foundation and others. We will honor these grants and recognition and continue to push forward to create a new and immersive experience unlike anything else in the world.”
Actor MALCOLM GOODWIN ('iZombie')
I spoke one-on-one with Malcolm several times throughout this weekend, and he was always up for a chat, a laugh (boy, did we laugh), and would reveal on-set secrets about the hit show 'iZombie' for me, a rabid fan, one after the other. He was, quite easily, the nicest man, very thoughtful, and always ready to welcome you to his booth.
Oh, and for those not in the 'iZombie' TV know, Liv Moore (Rose McIver), a medical student, got invited in a party which turned into a macabre zombie arena! Liv woke up from dead and became a zombie. For maintaining her humanity she must eat human brains so she began working in coroner's office to access brains. Eating a brain gives her memories and traits of that person. So she helps detective Clive Babineaux (Malcolm Goodwin) to solve the murder as a psychic!
Malcolm Goodwin @ Twitter!
As for a stand out cartoonist, well, they don't come much better than Will Jones. Jones, a freelance artist residing in Grand Rapids, MI, gets his inspiration from 1990's animation and comic books. He also teaches youth art classes at the Kendall College of Art and Design.
This event features a ton of great people and very talented artists. Whether it be the costumes on display, you want to buy a collectible toy or comic book, or you simply just want to walk around and see everything and everybody, this is the place to be!
In closing, Motor City Comic Con is a must-have experience for everyone in love with the movie industry and with all-things entertainment, in general. Young or old, this convention is something not ever to be missed!
Review & Photographs by: Russell A. Trunk
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