So as a fan of MegaCon, when they announced a mini MegaCon in November, I was excited. They actually didn’t call it a mini MegaCon, they called it MegaCon Fan Days. To be honest, I called it a mini MegaCon. I think that has a nice ring to it, and describes it for what it is…a smaller MegaCon to tied you over until the big event.
(It’s kind of like opening one Christmas present on Christmas Eve because you are too excited to wait until Santa comes the next day to eat your cookies and leave you everything you asked for…except one thing…which he forgot you asked for it…because while he has shopping last minute it got kind of overwhelming, and some strange lady was standing in the way, and….well…you get the picture…At least the wine store was still open that day.)
Honestly, I was a little worried at Mini MegaCon. Was this not going to be as good as Big MegaCon? No one was really talking about it. None of my friends were going. There wasn’t any commercials on TV about it. I checked the Deadpool Cosplayers Society of America’s (D.C.S.A) website, and they said nothing about it.
So yeah, I was a little nervous.
Still going though. It’s MegaCon (Mini) after all!
As soon as I walked through the Orange County Convention doors, I knew everything was going to be just fine.
All the right things were there. The artists booths, the celebrity meet and greets, the rows and rows of Pop! toy vendors.
Here is what was really nice about MegaCon Fan Days, it wasn’t wall to wall/floor to ceiling people. These conventions have gotten so popular and so big that it’s sometimes hard to move through the aisles and see everything. It was busy, but it wasn’t my-face-smashed-into-the-backs-of-four-Harry-Potter-dressed-women, whom-had-decided-for-some-reason-to-add-My-Little-Pony-wings-to-their-cloaks, while trying to make my way to the Star Wars spoon art display.
My only criticism of any Pop Culture convention is the crowds vs the space. You often end up having to pick a side of the aisle and sticking to it, unless you’re brave enough to change directions mid-stream…but that’s sometimes like trying to merge on a six lane highway while driving a Vespa scooter that only does 35 mph.
At MegaCon Fan Days we actually got to spend time and talk to several of the artists and vendors, like Bonnie Wong and Dennis Hansbury:
She does ball point pen drawings and he does wood carvings. We spent a good thirty minutes talking about their craft, Star Wars, and conventions. You could never get this personal with the artists at some of the bigger shows. What drew us to this booth initially was the three iconic Jokers of history coasters you see on the left front. (You can find them on Etsy here.)
We also got to hang with legendary artist Tommy Castillo. Normally his table is 6 deep of fans, and you would only be able to wave or catch a quick glimpse of him from between someone’s elbow and armpit, but traffic moved smoothly in front of Tommy’s booth, as eager fans were able to talk and snap pictures. Tommy has been going through some rough patches as of late, but sure to stay tuned for an interview with the iconic artist in an up coming future article. You have seen his work on everything from Batman, George Romero, to Nine Inch Nails, and more.
(If you ever visit the LAP offices, you will find several of Tommy’s prints hanging on the walls.)
The convention was big enough, yet small enough to be really enjoyable. Think of it as having some of your really cool friends over for dinner and of course, that one friend who isn’t as cool, but tends to make everyone laugh…but he doesn’t double dip in the seven layer bean dip, so you put up with him for a few hours.
And that’s not to say that people were not there, because they were. It was just a little more relaxed atmosphere.
For those that have never been to a convention of this sort, here is a rundown of the need to knows:
- Plan your day around the Celebrity Q&As and seminars. These can fill up fast. Get that program and studied and plan.
- Bring money. Even if you go with the mind set that you are not buying anything…there will be something you run across that you want. This year I wasn’t going to buy any art, and I ended up with another Castillo print, and some Nuka Cola signs.
- You can take lots of pictures of the cosplayers. They like that. If you want to take a picture of the artists booths, you should ask them first. Some are cool with it, some are not.
- You don’t have to dress up. You can if you want. I don’t. My cosplay is: “Man Wearing Comfortable Shoes.”
- Celebrity Autographs are not free. They may range anywhere between $5 to $150 or more. Celebrity Q&As are free.
- Shop around the vendors before buying something. There are multiple vendors with multiple price ranges. One thing though, towards the last day of the Convention they start running out of stuff. Make your decisions before then or you too, will not be taking home a Maleficent Key Blade that you have never seen anywhere else, except MegaCon last year…and he sold out before you decided you wanted it…and now you can’t find it anywhere. Don’t be that guy. (me)
- Children are welcome and often free to get it.
Some unique things you can find:
If you collect comic books, you will find vendors selling past and present issues. However, you can also find independent comics. One of my favorites is Richard Rivera’s Stabbity Bunny.
It’s the simple story of Grace and her bunny…and how she is suddenly kidnapped right on page one! It’s a complex and griping tale of secrets and heroes. I like this one because it starts the story right away and never lets go.
Plus I really look good in the Stabbity Bunny t-shirt.
If you run across this guy, buy his CDs. The band is called Random Encounter. They bill themselves as a video game band, and despite the accordion the music was really good. We were suckered in by the Zelda songs, but ended up pleasantly surprised by how good the whole CD turned out to be.
If your into Cosplay, the MegaCon Fan Days had professional cosplayers you could talk too. They might have been available at the regular MegaCon as well, but I don’t remember.
They probably were. I’ll try to pay more attention at the 2016 one.
This vendor had lego people!
If you are into Steampunk:
This group is a volunteer organization called: Costumers With A Cause. They volunteer their time and costumed selves to help children’s charities.
Looking for that perfect Spider-Man tattoo? Look no further.
This is some costumes from the 501st Legion, a Star Wars costume club.
This was a Q&A session with Karen Allen from Indiana Jones. If you look close, you can spot someone really important waiting to ask her a question. He is in the back, with the hat and the whip.
This was a class on how to build your own Star Wars Droid cheaply…well…if you think $2000 is cheap….
And I’m going to end it on some of my favorite cosplay pictures. You can check out the full gallery on the Long Awkward Pause Pinterest board.
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