The Amazing Las Vegas Comic Con was a kitschy hullabaloo, a satisfyingly quaint collection of artists, writers, and geeks making a living from their fandom. Let’s dive into it.
Local Vegas comic stores were well represented in the merch stakes, and from perusing them and other stalls something I’ve always felt has finally been confirmed. Funko Pops are a big deal, and people selling them make a ton of money. Artists’ Alley was also fully stocked, with mega-professionals like Steve McNiven and Jimmy Cheung as well as a host of other artists. Jimmy asked about my Agents of SHIELD t-shirt, and now I think we’re best friends.
Chris Claremont discussed his career in an hour-long interview with Phineas and Ferb’s Mat Nastos. It was strange. I don’t know whether Claremont is usually as clipped, grouchy, and odd as he was at this panel, but I hope not. He did a variety of European accents, apropos of nothing, and wasn’t really jumping on any of the questions he was asked. I would have written it off, I mean surely he’s been asked every question under the sun about the characters and stories he created, but I couldn’t forgive one thing. Mat Nastos played the 90’s X-Men animated series intro. The crowd went wild. We were asked if that was our first introduction to the X-Men. For many of us it was. We raised our hands. We remembered Saturday mornings and couldn’t wait to hear the insider scoop about a cartoon where the X-Men went to malls and played baseball. Claremont was disinterested. He alleged that the beloved show took his plots and characters and stuck some ugly costumes on them, and waited for the next question. Interesting tidbits though: Chris Claremont likes to write by hand, he hasn’t read X-Men in years, and he wrote a Gambit movie script that Fox apparently bought.
One of the highlights of the programming was a panel called Surviving as an Indie Creator, featuring writer James Ninness, artist Ryan Kincaid, comic store owner Chris Brady, and artist/writer Mat Nastos, fresh from moderating the Chris Claremont disaster panel. Clearly a group of friends, the panelists provided an in-depth look at how to make comic books a career. Tips ranged from the general: be nice to everyone, and the specific: how to construct a mailing list for your projects. Tangibly useful and hilarious, the panel stood out as the perfect example of how to cater to your audience: connect to them by telling them how they can connect to you.
There were other conventional convention delights: cosplayers, silly booths, and children with expensive camera equipment yelling about how great they are at superheroes. I’m going to go into detail in another post about one standout group of voice actors who became a pillar of convention programming, so be on the lookout. Suffice it to say, this Las Vegas con lived up to its moniker. I’d be happy to go to the rest of the Amazing Comic Cons, with annual stops in Hawaii, Arizona, and Texas.