Comic-Con Revolution is a new event on the comic/sci-fi convention circuit. It’s inaugural launch was located in the Palm Beach County convention center in West Palm Beach. Unlike similar events, parking was no issue as the convention center is adjacent to CityPlace shopping, dining district which meant plenty of parking in the numerous parking garage locations.
Upon arrival I checked in, and received my press pass. Again, no issues what so ever. They were able to scan my smart phone instead of a printed ticket like many other events in the recent years. I arrived about an hour and 20 minutes early to make sure I could beat the crowd.
While in line I met a man named John Card from Bowling Green Kentucky. Both he and his daughter traveled here to meet one of their favorite celebrities Chris Claremont. This is an apparent trend in fandom; braving airport security, and a layover in what some see as the new “Wakanda” (or Atlanta as it’s more commonly known,) demonstrating a new level of dedication to a celebrity.
With the initial group of fans of all stripes lined up and ready to go the event coordinator, and staff allowed entry 45 minutes early.
This being the inaugural launch the event as expected appeared to be on the small side. That being said the aisles between the booths for artists, and vendors were large with good lighting. There was a comfortable feeling in the air, and everyone truly wanted to be there not because it was part of making a living in the industry, but because they truly enjoyed everything associated with the industry.
Unlike other Cons I have attended this didn’t have the feel of a large indoor flea market for nerds. Yes, there were vendors of every stripe, however this Con was a celebration of the artists, writers, and entertainers of the comic book and sci-fi world.
The artists and writers came from all walks of life. The major companies of D.C. and Marvel comics were represented which was nice, however the local and independent talent pool was truly amazing to behold.
The first booth I approached was set up by Storm King Comics. This is an independent company owned and operated by none other than Hollywood director, and producer John Carpenter and his wife Sandy King Carpenter. All of the proceeds from the sales of their comics, posters, and an art concept book from the movie “The Thing” were pledged to be donated to the charity fund set up by the students and faculty of Stoneman Douglas high school in nearby Parkland Florida. Their comic offerings were The Vault, The Vortex which are compilations of sci-fi and horror stories from authors across the nation including John Carpenter, and Sandy King Carpenter respectively. The Vortex was an exclusive early release for Comic-Con Revolution.
Next I spoke to the owner of Aftershock Comics, and Port St.Lucie Florida resident Stephan Nilson. Aftershock Comics is a company concept that gives new independent artists, writers, and independent owners a launch point to get their work published and circulated to the readers and fans. Their comic offerings cover all bases ranging from new spins on classic horror characters, steam punk, sci-fi, and all points in between.
Other Florida artists included Walter Ostlie from Orlando, who stated that Shiver Bureau was picked up by, and will be published by a Florida based comic company Scout Comics.
Another Florida based writer and artist was Mr. Kevin Joseph. His most popular self published title you may know already is “Tart”. You can find it in local shops like Tate’s comics in Lauderhill, and Boynton Beach. If you haven’t read it I recommend it. It is described as demon hunting meets Quantum Leap. The writer takes you to real world locations that are “hauted,” where the main character wakes in an undetermined time and place, and then must find and kill the demons at those locations. It’s comical, well drawn, and an interesting original concept.
The talent pool in Florida was surprisingly deep and well rounded; so much so that I couldn’t do these truly talented people the justice the deserve with an in-depth look at their work.
I will however touch lightly on some other honorable mentions:
- David Byrne author of “The Couch” dealing with superheroes and psychology.
- Devon Wright the author of Avant Guardians; a time travel music, and super hero graphic novel.
- Josh Strnad author of a Wild West and Greek Mythology mash-up.
- West Palm Beach resident, author, and artist of an online 3D rendered Graphic novel – Walter Pearcy. He is a self taught digital graphic artist, and lives literally 5 minutes from the Convention Center on foot. His latest work is titled Untold Sagas, and is a story of a man that by twist of fate finds he has super powers. He isn’t one of many super powered individuals, but the only one in this universe. The villains are all made more powerful by advanced technology. You can find this, and future work from Walter at patreon.com/untoldsagas.
The cosplayers were out in force as well. They were represented by professionals, amateurs, and groups and clubs.
These include but are not limited to Task Force 27 a charter of the Finest (the G.I. Joe cosplay organization), the 1701st (an international Star Trek cosplay group) , the 501st Legion Everglades detachment which is known for movie accurate Star Wars costumes, and their sister spin off group the Mandalorian Mercs Buurenaar Verda Clan of Florida. All groups were decked out in costume to perfection.
An interesting note on these groups is that most of their members are involved with other groups. Passion, artistry, and professionalism are their watchwords, and they embody them to the nth
degree. It’s a close knit and welcoming community of fans that embraces everyone.
There were some amazing individual cosplayers as well like a 9ft tall fully L.E.D. lighted Gundam robot, the classic Joker from D.C., and a comic book accurate version of Marvel’s Deadpool.
Vendors from Tate’s Comics in Lauderhill Florida, to Aces High Tattoos were there selling merchandise, and collectables from all genres of sci-fi, comics, movies, and T.V. As I mentioned before this Con wasn’t an overgrown flea market for nerds nerds designed to vacuum dollars out of attendees wallets. The vendors were low-key, warm, welcoming, and professional. There seemed to be no overpriced knock off merchandise, or pushy salesman.
The main food vendors were to be as expected low quality, and overpriced. 2 hotdogs, fries, and a coke cost just over 16 dollars! The snack booths however did offer a good selection at reasonable prices.
One vendor in particular caught my eye, and won a commission of a custom piece of artwork as a gift for my wife. Mellanie Chafe also known as her Tumblr handle Luniara, and Luniara.Deviantart.com. Her use of vibrant color, and varied character subjects kept drawing me back to her booth she was running with her husband. I asked for a custom design based on Baby Groot from Guardians of the Galaxy. I was not disappointed by her work in the slightest. She confessed that she never attempted Groot in any form, but had always wanted to try a piece with him in it. I returned an hour later to find her well and truly dug into her art. Her references came from a search on her smartphone. As if to add to my amazement there were about 20 thumbnails of Groot that she combined to form the finished drawing. Moreover not one of her chosen images were enlarged to aid in creation. They were references in the loosest sense only.The organization, attention to detail, and presentation of the Con told me, and I hope you, the reader, all I needed to know. I truly hope this will not be a one time event. I thoroughly enjoyed myself, and look forward to attending next year.
Contributed by special correspondent Michael A. Bragel