The Top Ten Things, Moments, and Experiences at LA Comic Con 2016
LA Comic Con 2016 was three days of jam packed panels, gaming, music, comics, and artists. The days seemed to speed by! Here are just a few favorites from the weekend.
10. Getting free parking on Sunday!
Parking at the Convention Center starts at $20 and surrounding parking goes up to $50 by mid-afternoon. Finding a free meter was a moment of pure excitement.
Every person who asks a questions during one of Alan Tudyk’s panels gets an autographed…something. Yes, some of you have probably seen him before and already know this. But I was pleasantly surprised. He started with a broken Ken doll. During the next half hour or so, he pulled out of his backpack such things as a San Diego Comic Con 2016 pass, a line of ADR, and a coaster he was no longer using at home. Each he happily autographed and handed to a grateful audience member, to the laughs of the crowd.
8. The $1 churro vendor.
Food at the LA Convention Center gets pretty expensive. On Saturday, a number of enterprising, bacon-wrapped hot dog vendors popped up outside. While they were an alternative to $12 sandwiches and $4 sodas, I was pretty excited to find a lone vendor selling three churros for a dollar. I grabbed a bag to share with friends. The powder sugar covered dough was the perfect snack to keep us going through LA Comic Con!
7. Hearing about Andre the Giant’s first scene on the set of The Princess Bride.
Cary Elwes (aka Wesley aka the Dread Pirate Roberts) was the star of an afternoon panel on the Hot Topic Main Stage. While his panel felt mostly like an infomercial for his book, As You Wish, he did tell a few good anecdotes. The crowd roared with laughter during his tale of a sixteen second, smoke creating, giant sized fart during Andre the Giant’s first appearance on set. Mel Brook’s reaction? “Andre, are you okay?” “I am now!”
6. Trying HoloLens for the first time.
My first experience in virtual reality was not what I expected, but did not disappoint. We’ll be discussing Stan Lee’s Kids Universe, VROOM, and the cool things coming up for small children in AR/VR in more depth here. When learning about a great VR project to let children interact with books and art projects, I tried on HoloLens and looked around the booth. At first, all I saw was two characters standing behind a table. The graphics weren’t great, but they weren’t meant to seem “real.” My first impression was, “really, this is it?” but I realized that there was probably more to explore. So in my most optimistic tone, I described my experience, “Okay, so I see a zebra and a little girl. Now what do I do?” The CEO of Playing Forward suggested that I keep looking around their space, and pause when I found a new character. Suddenly, there was another layer to their space and I had an idea of what HoloLens could do. Stan Lee’s characiture was standing in the corner, waving hello. A big, friendly monster peeked out from above the booth, blowing kisses.
The simple graphics made more sense when I learned that that they’re specifically designed to run on a Kindle, or older tablets and iPads, as that’s what most small children are given. While I expected a larger field of view (rather than it feeling like a rectangle of new content), I was wildly impressed by what I saw. To be able to add layers to a space and allow children to interact with their books and toys – I can’t wait to see more!
The cat bus alone was impressive. She said that took three days! I didn’t even want to know how many hours she spent on the amazing costumes for herself, her husband, and their three children.
4. Alan Tudyk telling the one joke the network cut from Con Man.
(Yes, it involves pedophilia). And yes, he was grateful it didn’t make the show.
Over the course of the weekend, if I wasn’t in panels, snapping cosplay pics, or interviewing a few unique developers, I was deep in artist alley. I spent much more time there than among the comic books, honestly, talking with artists and perusing their wares. I watched while many of the artists and comic book self-publishers spent the three days of LA Comic Con making small talk with thousands of attendees, hoping each discussion might make a sale.
My favorite of the bunch was Kellsworth Ink. – while the booth next to her had little to show and spent their time either sketching or on their phones, ignoring me completely, she drew commissions, smiled, and showed off some amazing prints! As an honorable mention, I’d also like to salute the man further down row K who spend the ENTIRE three days of the convention dramatically presenting his comic book page by page to whoever would listen. Keeping that up takes a hell of a lot of hard work. I hope that he sold out of his stock of copies.
Mike Colter was in the middle of answering a question, thoughtful and insightful, when Stan Lee walks out on stage, microphone in hand. It turns out the two had never met. Stan Lee decided that the middle of the panel was the right moment to come out and shake hands. The panel stopped, they happily greeted each other, posed for pictures, and then Stan wandered back on stage. When you’re ninety-three and created many of the characters being celebrated, you enjoy the con as you please…
1. The voice of Yakko Warner signing the Countries song, while the ASL interpreter tried valiantly to keep up.
I love the Animaniacs. I love Pinky and the Brain. And when I saw that Maurice LaMarche and Rob Paulson, the voices of both, would be speaking at LA Comic Con, I knew that was a panel I wanted to attend. The two panelists started egging each other on, discussing voices and bits, until of course it led up to the hardest, silliest song of them all – the countries of the world. He sang it perfectly, never missing a country or stumbling. The poor ASL interpreter on stage, well, she did an amazing job under the circumstances. And watching the other members of the panel dance along while thousands watched was the icing on the cake.