Monday, July 18, 2011

Smart Alex on the Road: For Your Con-sideration

One does not need to be a comic book enthusiast or sci-fi fan to be familiar with the phenomenon that is the convention. Everyone who knows anything about pop culture knows about San Diego Comic Con- and how far it’s branched out, for better and for worse, from being just a comic book convention.  Many people only a little more in the know may be aware of Dragon Con (Labor Day weekend in Atlanta, GA),  Charlotte, North Carolina’s Heroes Con (always the first weekend in June), and the various larger conventions in New York City and Chicago. Those require little to no mention here. This traveler has nothing against the bigger, better-known conventions. I sometimes like getting lost in a crowd that’s more or less as geeky as I am. It’s also nice to get off the beaten path and find what unique delights the warm but sometimes hardscrabble little communities on the back roads have to offer, which is why I’ll be devoting my attention primarily to deserving but lesser-known events.
Since 2005, Nampa, Idaho has had the honor of hosting Fandemonium, the state’s biggest and best event for gaming, sci-fi, fantasy, comics, and all other things geeky. It always being the first full weekend of August, it’s coming right up, and this year’s convention promises to provide a weekend full of fun and whackiness. Guests of honor include comic book artist Jacob Bear, RPG creator AJ O’Connell, costumer and fantasy author Tanglewyst de Holloway, filkers Tiger and Rose, horror troupe The Brothers Thir13en, Custodians of Otakudom, comedian AlejAndro Anastasio, and for everyone who fancied himself a Renaissance man or just wanted to get medieval, the Barony of Arn Hold.

Last minute update- If you can't make it up north for Fandemonium, you can find something especially unique August 6 in Texas at STRIP: The Dallas Webcomics Expo. In addition to hosting a variety of guests from web comic creators to filmmakers, the Expo promises a variety of activities for all ages, such as an opportunity for kids to create their own comic strip, a live art show, cosplay and costume contests, and a book drive to benefit the Half Price Books Literacy Program .
The very next weekend, the travelling fan may find it convenient to head to Spokane, Washington and see what all SpoCon has to offer.Guests include actor, stuntman, and prop maker Dragon Dronet, JourneyQuest producers The Dead Gentlemen, artist Dan Dos Santos, and Mercy Thompson author Patricia Briggs. The dealers’ room offers the usual selection of gaming supplies, jewelry, art, and a wide variety of books. I should make special note of Cari Corene, who will promote her web comic Toilet Genie, and the Seattle Browncoats, who will provide an assortment of Firefly-related items, entertain with a good impression of Captain Malcolm, and do it all for good causes such as Equality Now and Northwest Harvest. Fan tables will be hosted by The Camarilla, Palouse Board Gamers, Realms of Avalon, the Star Trek INSFA, and everyone’s favorite “bad guys doing good,” the 501st.
After all the fun of two conventions in as many weekends, you may want to take a break for a while, maybe stretch out the summer a bit, and then get away to the Springmaid Beach Resort in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Perhaps you’d like to give yourself a Halloween treat at X Con. Featured guest Dr. Bob Boan will give a straight presentation on defending the earth from alien invasion.  Martin Croker of Adult Swim will also be among the “usual suspects” slated to appear.
Last for now but not least, if you’re looking to get away for Veterans’ Day weekend, a trip to the Adirondacks may be just the thing- specifically for Adirondack ComicFest in Old Forge, New York. The convention starts November 11 with free admission for that day for all veterans with proof of service. The morning promises to kick off with a veterans’ breakfast and opening ceremonies particularly appropriate for the occasion. Among those slated to appear are actors Tyler Mane and Nick Jones, and artists Matt Reynolds, Ben Dunn, Dave Hoover, and Arvell Jones. As is also particularly appropriate for the holiday weekend, some of the writers and artists behind the groundbreaking benefit anthology Untold Stories from Iraq and Afghanistan are set to appear. (And that is the subject of a whole upcoming entry in the “Comics for Causes” vein. Proceeds from this book's sales go to the USO, Wounded Warrior Project, Fisher House, and Soldiers' Angels.)
I also know for a fact that there are a plethora of conventions that I have not yet mentioned. If you’d like to share something about an upcoming event, by all means, help your friendly neighborhood unsung, off-the-beaten-path convention out and share. I’ll be happy to spread the word.


  1. Excellent article! I'm going to be at SpoCon right after Fandom as well and look forward to seeing you both times!


  2. Plan is for me to be at Fandemonium, too!

  3. Heroes Fallen Studios Inc...Graphic Novel "Untold Stories from Iraq And Afghanistan" Will be on sale at Wizard comic Con in Chicago on the 11,12,13,14 August 2011..

    We will be at the show starting the morning of 12Aug through 14th Aug.

    So if you can make it we would love to see you there..Support Our Men And Women of the Armed Forces.....

    Thank you for your support SEE YOU THERE !!!!!! Stephens Convention Center Rosemont IL