Adventures at Planet Comicon 2013April 8, 2013 at 9:50 am | Posted in Conventions, Events, Star Wars, Television, The Clone Wars | 1 Comment
Tags: adrienne wilkinson, corey dee williams, George Takei, planet comicon, ray park, stephen costantino, tom kane
We attended the fun at Planet Comicon in Kansas City, MO this years and I have to say, it was a blast. The two day event had a lot of guests including quite a few people from Star Wars. Geralyn and I browsed the con floor, talked with some of the celebrities and attended a few panels. For those who were not able to attend, you can find our coverage below.
First off, Planet Comicon was hosted at the Bartle Hall Convention Center this year. The convention center was actually pretty impressive in size, almost on par with the Orange County Convention Center where Star Wars Celebration is held. While Planet Comicon didn’t take anywhere near the amount of space it could have, there was still quite a bit to see and do. There were a lot of vendors on the con floor with decent prices on comics and action figures. There was also an assortment of artists and other media present. The well known stars were set up along the left side of the con floor with comic and artists set up along the back wall and on the far right side. Star War guests in attendance included: Ray Park, Peter Mayhew, Tom Kane, Richard LaParmentier, Adrienne Wilkinson, Stephen Constantino, Corey Dee Williams, George Takei, Howard Chaykin, Tim Proctor, Cat Staggs, Dan Scott, Peter Bagge, Mike Kennedy, Eric Shanower, Ben Templesmith and Darryl Woods. Of course the 501st Legion was also there along with the Mandalorian Mercs, Rebel Legion, The Dark Empire and R2 Builders Club.
A lot of people showed up in costumes with only a small percentage of them being Star Wars. Steam punk was pretty popular but some of the most impressive cosplay was by a trio of predators. The 501st Legion also had a significant presence with quite a few members patrolling the floor in costume.
One of the biggest draws of the convention for me was the assortment of panels. Planet Comicon had a full panel schedule for both days. Geralyn and I were able to attend a few of the Saturday panels which were pretty good.
Star Wars Costume Cavalcade: 501st Legion Panel
From the description, I thought this might have been more of a costume display, but it turned out to be focused on the 501st Legion and it’s sibling organizations. The panel covered some of the requirements involved in joining up, advice on what to do and what not do do, as well as some of the limitations of being in costume. It was interesting to learn that a Darth Vader outfit can run around $4,000. That’s certainly an aspect of the Legion I never fully appreciated. You can check the audio below which includes a few pictures from the panel.
Voice Acting Panel with Adrienne Wilkinson and Tom Kane
The voice acting panel featured Adrienne Wilkinson who voice the Daughter in the Mortis Trilogy in Star Wars: The Clone Wars, and Tom Kane who voice Yoda, Admiral Yularen and the narrator for TCW. Tom and Adrienne has some good advice for people thinking about getting into the voice talent business. They also had some fun stories. Tom shared how he got started as a mimic, the origins of some of his voices, and a couple funny stories regarding Morgan Freeman and Yoda.
Make Way for George Takei! Panel
There was a huge turn out for the George Takei panel. This also highlighted one of the bad things about Planet Comicon; the lack of organization. There weren’t any staff members to get people lined up for panels or to help clear out the rooms once a panel was completed. The result was a big mob of people waiting to get in and a lot of people just staying in the room and creating a scarcity of seats. Regardless, Geralyn and I were able to get in and find a seat.
George’s panel had some humor to it, as expected, but he also covered some very serious issues involving the American internment camps of Japanese Americans in World War II. It was very informative and compelling.
In between panels, I managed to grab a few autographs I wanted to get. My top priority was Tom Kane. Surprisingly, Tom didn’t have a line so I was able to go right up and meet him, get his autograph and Tom was also nice enough to pose for a picture (sadly it turned out blurry). Next on my list was Corey Dee Williams (Billy Dee Williams’ son and also Klaatu in Return of the Jedi). Corey was really cool to meet. He talked about the massive stage that was built for the sarlacc pit and showed us some pictures he had of it on his phone. The stage was so big that there were semi tractor trailers parked under it. The pit itself had air bags at the bottom and a stuntman on hand.
Right next to Corey was his friend and costar Stephen Costantino, who played one of the Gamorrean Guards in Return of the Jedi. I got both Stephen and Corey’s autograph as well as a picture with each (which turn out really nice). I was glad I got to meet both of them. They were both very friendly and has some great stories about working on Return of the Jedi. If you’re ever at a con and they’re there, be sure to check them out.
Darth Maul Attacks! Ray Park Panel
The highlight of the con turned out to be the Ray Park panel. Ray showed up to a fully packed room with a large contingent of the 501st Legion escorting him in. Ray was really friendly and great with the crowd, always showing a healthy dose of humor. He shared some fun stories and experiences from the films he’s worked in, did a Q&A and afterwards did an extremely entertaining exhibition.
Earlier in the panel someone had asked him if he would show off some moves. Well, at the end, Ray borrowed a double bladed lightsaber and brought up a volunteer. The volunteer turned out to be Andrew, a young boy who was an evident, hardcore Darth Maul fan as he had his face painted up and his own double bladed lightsaber. Ray walked Andrew through some moves, spinning their lightsabers around and looking menacing like Maul. Upping the ante, Ray began doing floor spins and swirling his lightsaber around behind his back. Undeterred, Andrew spun around on the ground with his lightsaber in an impressive imitation, heedless to an audience of several hundred people. One thing was for sure, Andrew wasn’t camera shy.
However, Andrew was persistent and demanded a fight with Ray so they performed a humorous mock duel. As the moderator for the panel commentated, “we should have had them do that for an hour.” It was great. You couldn’t ask for a more perfect illustration of Star War fandom at it’s best.
All in all, Planet Comicon 2013 was a really fun con and highly recommend checking it out if you’re in the area.