Hello all! On August 27th I had the pleasure to attend ComiCONN, a fairly new comic convention in Stamford, Connecticut. In its second year, ComiCONN promised to be a convention by the fans, for the fans. As I was still at home in Connecticut and with this venue not far from my house, there was no way I’d miss this opportunity.
ComiCONN was the smallest Con I’ve ever attended, but that’s not to say there weren’t a ton of things for me to do and check out. Numerous vendors attended, selling everything from comics to figures to original art. Given the size of the Con, I was able to check out every table, which I liked since I didn’t feel like I missed or overlooked anything. With tons of Stormtroopers from the Connecticut chapter of the 501st Legion (a group of Star Wars Cosplayers), a decent number of famous names in attendance, and replicas of R2-D2 and Luke’s Landspeeder on display, the event was sure to be amazing!
The first table I looked at was staffed by Bill Diamond, a puppeteer and artist who collaborated with Jim Henson on famous works such as Labyrinth and Dark Crystal, two of my favorite films. He and I had a long discussion about his experiences in the field and his perceptions of Henson; I felt deeply moved by his stories of such an amazing man who for years I’ve admired but never heard any first-hand accounts of. Mr. Diamond was kind enough to take a photograph with me (check it out below) and I even bought an autographed piece of Fraggle Rock art for a friend. I was glad to have the opportunity to meet such an interesting individual!
A little while later I headed to the table for Hound Comics, a fairly new comic company. They were promoting Brimstone and the Borderhounds, a series about life after death with characters based on WWE Superstars Brimstone (William M. Kucmierowski), one of the writers of the series, and Luscious (Ed Castillo). I had the pleasure of meeting both Brimstone and Luscious at the table, and even picked up signed copies of Brimstone and the Borderhounds Issues #1-4. I’ll save my discussion of my chat with Brimstone for my review the series coming sometime in the next few weeks!
Around noon I headed to a series of panels hosted by Shawnti Therrien, an author and artist known for Am I Immortal and Meth. The first panel discussed what comprises heroes and villains, while the second focused on improving one’s drawing abilities. Therrien hosted the discussions in a relaxed and informal matter, allowing the audience to really get involved and helping guide the conversation; given the small size of ComiCONN, I even had a chance to make large contributions to these dialogues. Between panels, I approached Therrien and asked her for advice on some of my own writing, to which she offered amazing feedback based on her years of experience in the field. Her creative spirit drew me in and I plan to check out some of her work in the near future.
As the day came to a close, I headed to a Star Wars panel hosted by Cris Macht, director of the acclaimed documentary The Force Among Us and known as one of the world’s foremost Star Wars fans and experts. The panel mainly focused on the direction of the fandom and his own experiences filming his documentary and learning about the making of the Star Wars films. Macht’s stories about his experiences really inspired me, showing how a deep passion and dedication to a dream, combined with a whole lot of persistence, can allow you to achieve almost any goal no matter how large; The Force Among Us began as one fan’s dream and has gained such a following that a sequel, The Force Within Us, is scheduled to be released in the near future. Anthony Forrest, an actor known for playing the Sandtrooper who was the first victim of Obi-Wan’s Jedi mind trick in A New Hope, appeared halfway through the panel. Forrest also played the character Fixer, a friend of Luke’s whose scenes were cut from the final version of the film, but will be available, digitally remastered, on the Blu-Ray re-release of the Star Wars saga this Fall. Forrest discussed his experiences while filming the first Star Wars film and offered interesting stories about his experiences on and off set, such as the time he and Mark Hamill took a horse ride through the desert between scenes.
Following the panel, the band High Adventure, a rock trio whose music focuses on fandom such as Indiana Jones and, of course, Star Wars. Their music takes memorable beats and musical phrases from these classic films, but spins them in new ways paired with clever lyrics that make their songs shine. I greatly enjoyed hearing the band play, and even picked up a copy of their new album that they released that day especially for ComiCONN. The musical performance was followed by a Star Wars trivia contest, but, given my detachment from the fandom for over seven years, I didn’t get very far.
All in all, I had a great time at ComiCONN. Though small, it boasted a lot of fun events and excellent vendors, and gave me a chance to check out a Con that was far more fan driven than any other I’ve ever attended. I’m fairly certain I’ll attend this awesome event next year, and look forward to having a great time then as well!
Brett Simon is a twenty-one year old recent reconvert to the world of comics. He’s looking forward the having even more fun at NYAF/NYCC this Fall!
Also, if you haven’t already, read my article and vote in this poll to decide what DC Comics series I’ll follow this Fall!
(Note: I apologize for the low-quality of the pictures as they were taken on my cell-phone camera since I’m still in the market for a new digital camera)