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Sunday, February 19, 2012

In The Wake Of MEGA-CON 2012!!

The words that first come to mind in describing the experience is the classic musical phrase "The More things change, the more they stay the same."
Megacon is an annual celebration of all things fandom!  Fandom being the illegitimate step child of the entertainment media, specifically Sci-Fi, and fantasy.  But more then that, it encompasses all the sub-genres, and cult sub-cultures that embrace it's fantastic glory!  Represented are the groups you have all come to some familiarity with over the last decade thanks in part to the incredible strides in Movie magic, IE:  Comic books, Tolkienism, Vampires, Denizens and demi-gods of the video game worlds, to some extent anime and lest we not forget Zombies.  But happily we saw present Steam-punk, the more racy side of Romero's vision Zombie-fetishism (please...don't ask.  Suffice to say the women led around by chains in full make-up...) and a myriad of other cult classics I am sad to say unfamiliar with.
It was to say, SHOCKING to see the ever growing number of fans flooding the Orange County Convention Center.  We got there on the dot at 10 am, found a relatively close parking spot and in the walk over were treated to a wide range of INCREDIBLY well planned, and handmade costumes of every type.  Check out a few pics below and then see all in the album!  The boys were immediately fascinated by everything, and not at all intimidated or passive.  Three LARGE ballrooms were dedicated to the dealers, and some artists, as the conference rooms around the periphery were dedicated to speakers, and stars of the industries signing autographs and photo-ops.  The sheer volume of humanity vying for breathing room was rather daunting as I suffer from a very mild case of Enochlophobia (fear of crowds) at times having to escape to the relatively safe confines of the periphery (or bathroom).  But More so, was the corralling of the kiddo's.   At several points we lost Owen briefly (being so short he'd be in front of us one second then "DIP" and he was gone) and Kaleb, not paying attention continued walking when we stopped and before we could call him disappear into the swelling mass.  My displeasure being I witnessed by a Dwarf, R2D2, Jango Fett, Darth Vader, and The Cockroach Doctor from "Monsters Versus Aliens" .  The Cockroach helped us look. 
After this, things got on an even keel and we enjoyed the day. 
We met a very wonderful artist  Manuel Aguilera, and his wonderful wife who did awesome characters sketches of the boys.  Elijah and Kaleb as Spawn and Ghost Rider, and Logan and Owen as Ash and a ominously vicious Pokemon who's name escapes me.  There was a nice gaming area set up where Elijah attempted to construct a HUGE Lego castle, and Owen and Logan DECIMATED a table battle board (neither the Axis OR Allies saw it coming!).  Kaleb, keeping to his normal MO, charmed the many scantily clad Heroines about the room.  (I'll speak on their presence later)
Upon emerging into the second dealer room I became vindicated for my steadfast diligence as I discovered what appeared to be the only vendor supplying "Firefly' memorabilia and quickly became his best friend as I began giddily and rapidly pointing out "I want that one...and that one...and that one...." eventually walking away with a pleasantly plump parcel!  Some of which currently adorns the shop.  Each Boy found his own niche of fandom, gleefully.  Logan's eyes popped from his head as entering the main hall he was greeted by the Pokemon Pikachu Volkswagen Beetle, and even more so when he came upon the many tables selling Pokemon wares and more importantly the Video game tables.  We patiently stood by as he eagerly delved through the piles.  I was quite proud of him as after being granted the money to buy two Pokemon figurines and a game cartridge for his DS, he pensively looked at me and said "that's all I'm going to ask for Daddy.  You've spent enough on me."  GOD!  Melts your heart.  But even though I had no problem, he was true to his word and asked for nothing more.  Elijah, although having to be denied the chance to purchase the 18 inch Alien figurine for $150.00, found a few choice graphic novels he would enjoy.  Owen, was FASCINATED by the folks dressed up as GI Joe's, Halo, Call of Duty and such, constantly trying to handle and touch their weapons.  One character, Snake Eyes gave him one of his sidearms.  A gift we ALL rapidly grew to regret.  Kaleb, once again although briefly enthralled with the more graphically violent aspects of the genres (zombies, Freddy, Jason) was more then content to follow around the aforementioned Fem Fatalles.  And all the boys were treated, nay PRIVILEGED at the impromptu pleasure of the unannounced visit to the vendors floor by the ALL MIGHTY himself!  The ONE the ONLY father of the Silver Age and beyond...
Stan "The Man" Lee!!  EXCELSIOR!  Upon being a mere two feet from him, I had to brace Elijah as he almost fainted.  I know exactly what he felt.  I felt the same way 25 years ago when i sat across a round table dinner with him in Boston, Mass.  Truly, it was if a Christian sat for mulled wine with Jesus.
While at Manny's table as he worked on the boys sketches, Daniel opened the conversation regarding "Warts and All", the comic strip I write about our family, and they showed an interest.  Manny's wife asked for the website, and Manny suggested we attend a seminar at 6.30 about the Independent Self Publishers.  Peaked, we did so.  After going back to the van for dinner and to rest our feet, we returned to sit in.  It was entertaining and informative, but several of the questions offered up by those in attendence  were aimed at the demise of the comic book industry, some speculating that as a printed art form it would be dead.  Apparently the vast numbers attending the convention did not disprove this theory for them!  Well I think, with no undo modesty i can offer up a unique perspective.  This was the first convention I have attended in almost 20 years.  When I worked them, although big at the time NEVER entertained so many guests.  EVER.  It was one or two ballrooms sporting many facets of Geekdom, but was occupied primarily by boys to men, most clutching at their purchases or their treasured collectibles brought to have signed, or to trade, looking very much like the ideological "Nerd that lives in his mothers basement type.  The only women you saw their were primarily girlfriends "humoring" their beaus.  But NOT here!  Easily the percentage of male to female were easily split, and these ladies were mostly NOT their in feminine support of a male, but very much actively engaged in their obsession of choice.   And to the inquiry as to whether or not women had a viable, marketable interest and involvement in the field?  Back in the 80's and 90's the artist and writers in attendance were ENTIRELY male, even in the burgeoning Independent titles.  After walking down their rows in this convention the percentile was easily in the 40% or better.  And these weren't no "Strawberry Shortcake, Betty and Veronica types!  Yes, the industry will change.  It MUST! But more voices, female, minority, homosexual are all coming to their own within it.  The formats will change.  More virtual and interactive mediums are being played with every day.  Panelology and picture graphs have been around for Mallinia and will be around for a long time to come. 
ANYWAY,as it turns out Manny was right behind us.  We talked briefly and he offered up some very helpful tips about getting viewed and exposure, as well as referring me to some valuable references.  I gave him a copy of our mini comic and after reading he blessed us with a wonderful string of glowing compliments urging me to stay in touch. 
After heading out we did a stop at Mickey D's and all still hopped up and excited created a scene.
At this point we headed home around 10.30 and capping our evening off at a moment around 11.30 on a lonely stretch of I-4 as the conversation wained, the boys slept in the back and I began to slowly drift off...
We hit a Chicken.
SO, in affect WE alone discovered the answer to the age old inquiry...
"Why did the chicken cross the road?"
"To Dodge a Ram!"
Thank you!  I'll be here all week!  Don't forget to tip your waitress.

Here are some choice Pic's, but check out the lot of pics on facebook at Steven Atherton, and check out the album "Megacon 2012"!

"Snap you like a twig!"

Green Lantern, Versus Joker!  Party On Dude!

Yes, He can Walk In It!

Tony Stark briefly lost his face plate.
This Boy Is In Hog HEAVEN!

Starting younger and younger!

Screwball, Batman!  Corner Pocket!

"I'm awake and ready to party Orlando...FANBOY STYLE!"

"Never has there been a more wretched hive of scum and villainy"

The Battlefield PRIOR the Owen/Logan onslaught!

Help me, Owen-wan Kenobi, your my only hope!

The Cockroach that helped find Kaleb

Owen!  Don't join the back side of the force!

The All-Mighty!
Stan "The Man" Lee!

Ahhhhh, How Sweet!  Our own little Mercenary!

We were treated to an interpretive dance number upon leaving

although....I'm NOT quite so search on how to interpret it!

And Now a few of the ladies more then willing to pose for Don Juan Kaleb...


  1. You're welcome for the pistol. Next time you're around others ,Please mind how you were tugging on their uniforms, and platforms.. it was not liked by many. Hope to see you next year on better standings with the rest of my team. Yo Joe!

    - Snake Eyes

  2. I will pass your comments on to Owen, the young lad VERY interested in all the weapons. Thanks so much for humoring him. Next year we'll have him in bindings!