Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Thanks, Comic Con Palm Springs!

I was delighted to see all of the hard work that went into the inaugural Comic Con Palm Springs for many reasons. Thousands were in attendance this first year, and overall I felt like participants could find many things to entertain themselves throughout the weekend thanks to ambitious programming. 

The overall cost was excellent for a regular participant, and this year parking was wonderful, with most people able to find a parking space easily within two to three blocks of the space. Overall, the temperature inside was more than adequate, considering that outdoors Palm Springs is pretty reminiscent of an Arrakis or Tatooine summer.

This year had a good representation of the major and emerging fandoms, but clearly the Star Wars fandom was fully in force, including a presence by the 501st Legion, aka Vader's Fist, who continue to do exceptional work advocating for charitable causes throughout the year. Mandalorians and members of the Rebel Alliance were also in good attendance, although there weren't many astromechs this year.

The cosplay was abundant and talented, ranging from a variety of Deadpools and Batman villains, particularly Jared Leto-style Jokers. Characters from Dragonball Z, Dr. Who, Team Fortress 2, and many others were represented, and a lot of work clearly went into many of their designs.

The vendor selection was excellent, overall, with many dealing in the Funk Pop vinyl figures, but also some great t-shirts, toys, gaming and costume supplies, and books for collectors at all ends of the spectrum. 

There were some great artists in the Artists Alley, including Rattle Can Heroes. I enjoyed his work because he brought in a clear fine arts background and was doing something different with the way he presented the more recognizable heroes and villains he was depicting. More often than not his work was effective challenging our sense of what a portrait can and should be in the modern age.

Among the other artists I enjoyed was the work of Chris Kawagiwa and Albert Nguyen. Personally, I was also happy to see Michael Golden and Jame O'Barr, whose work were formative parts of my youth. It was also good to see some good friends of mine from the Inland Empire like Jamie Sullivan there. Several small presses caught my attention, including Atomic Basement's Guns A'Blazin, and Karate Pet Shop Press. 

The selection of celebrity guests and artists was great for a first time, with the most attention of course going to Stan Lee. But it felt like James Hong was also among the most popular of the stars there, and it was good to see him recognized for his talents. Bai Ling, who's turning 50 this year, wasn't able to come because she was receiving an award in China for her charity work. 

I was also delighted to meet Gary Goldman, one of the writers of Big Trouble in Little China as we celebrated 30 years since the film came out. I think they've got some great ideas for what can come next!

In the final assessment, I would say that Comic Con Palm Springs can be considered a success, even as there's also always room to grow. There's much that was done well, and I think it will make an excellent addition to the regular events that come to Palm Springs in the future. You can see more of my photos from the event at Flickr.

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