Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Reverend’s Preview: Anaheim Comic Con

There will be more characters than usual roaming around the Disneyland Resort area this week, as the Anaheim Convention Center hosts the inaugural Anaheim Comic Con April 16-18. No doubt, a sizable number of GLBT comic book and pop culture fans will be among them.

One might think the massive Comic Con International held each summer in San Diego would have the southern California market cornered when it comes to superheroes, graphic novels, role-playing games and fantasy movies, as well as related toys and other memorabilia. Not so, according to the Anaheim event’s producer, Wizard Entertainment; as publisher of the pop culture magazine Wizard, the company knows well how keen interest is in more Comic Cons both locally and nationally. Wizard Entertainment presents several other such gatherings across the country each year.

Anaheim’s first Comic Con will be smaller than the San Diego event, but I welcome this as someone who has covered Comic Con International for several years now. Limited convention center space, parking and hotel rooms have made San Diego’s con increasingly difficult to attend. A formal proposal has been submitted to move Comic Con International to Anaheim in the future for at least one year, since the Anaheim Convention Center is a larger facility.

At press time, at least 150 celebrities and pop culture icons were confirmed to appear during the Anaheim Comic Con’s three days. They include Captain Kirk himself, William Shatner; Marvel Comics’ superhero creator, Stan Lee; Oscar-nominated actors Mary McDonnell (Battlestar Galactica and Independence Day) and Eric Roberts (The Dark Knight); The Empire Strikes Back director Irvin Kershner; and Ilya Salkind, producer of Superman: The Movie and its first two sequels.

Other celebrities of more specifically GLBT appeal set to attend are the fabulous Julie Newmar and Lee Meriwether, both of whom played Catwoman on the campy Batman TV series in the 1960’s (the late Eartha Kitt also served as the show’s feline femme fatale); Star Trek actress and GLBT supporter Nichelle Nichols; The Bionic Woman herself, Lindsay Wagner; Kathy Najimy of Sister Act and Hocus Pocus fame; sexy actor Kaj-Erik Eriksen (The 4400); pop music diva Taylor Dayne; and Linda Blair of The Exorcist, Roller Boogie and Chained Heat fame.

More than 400 exhibitor, celebrity and creator booths will be set up, giving attendees ample opportunity to peruse collectibles and pursue autographs. As at Comic Con International and other such conventions, guests are not only allowed but strongly encouraged to dress in costume as their favorite comic book, film, TV, game or other characters. There will be a costume contest on Saturday, April 17. Please note: There will be children present, so costumes must be kept “PG-13” with no nudity or anything too revealing. I anticipate there will be more than a few costumes inspired by Tim Burton’s current box office hit, Alice in Wonderland.

A feature unique to the Anaheim Comic Con will be a Horror Pavilion. Billed as “a celebration of all things gory and grisly,” the pavilion will feature writers, artists, actors and musicians who have contributed to the horror genre in comics, movies and TV. There are plenty of GLBT horror fans who will want to check the Horror Pavilion out … but don’t do so alone!

For complete information about the event and to purchase tickets, visit the official Anaheim Comic Con website.

Preview by Rev. Chris Carpenter, resident film critic of Movie Dearest and the Orange County and Long Beach Blade.

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