“It’s Mother Nature on Line 1.”
“Interesting.” That is the one word that comes to mind when I think of Amazing Comic-Con Aloha. I have only been to two other pop-culture conventions in my life here in Hawaii. Amazing was unfortunately hindered at the gate after postponing the initial weekend of the con back in August of 2018. The state of Hawaii was bracing for whatever onslaught Hurricane Lane was going to throw at it. I remember watching their decision to have the con until the last minute. It was then that the founder of Amazing Comic Con Aloha released a statement:
“We watched the weather closely and as hurricane lane weakened we made a decision to utilize the vendors, talent and media that had made it to Hawaii to still move forward with our show but due to circumstances beyond Amazing Comic Conventions Control the convention center became unavailable for use. The safety of our attendees and guests is paramount to us. We are actively rescheduling and look forward to returning to Hawaii in the very near future with the best Architects of Pop Culture! Information on rescheduled dates can be found at AmazingComicConaloha.com and on @AmazingComicCon Socials as soon as they have the dates figured out.”
I can understand that canceling/postponing must be difficult for a convention’s 1st foray into a new venue. It was unfortunate that the convention was delayed due to Mother Nature. In the end, that may have hindered itself. Fast-forward to February 2019. Evangeline Lilly was scheduled to attend, but unfortunately conflicts arose. It is understandable that cancellations occur, especially with an actress that has formidable credentials under her belt (LOST and her role as The Wasp from Ant-Man, etc.). Whatever 2020 brings, I hope we see a more diverse line of actors/actresses. Actors attending these “smaller” conventions means a lot to their fans who may not be able to travel to California conventions, or any pop culture conventions in the mainland.
The highlights of this year’s convention in regards to the guests were Amy Jo Johnson, and Jason David Frank, the original Pink and Green Power Rangers. I was grateful to be able to attend the Power Rangers panel and see how my childhood heroes behaved off camera. My memories as a kid are still very tangible. I was one of those who watched from Day 1, laying down on the floor and looking up at all the superheros who had Megazords at their disposal. While the heroes were always great, the villains were unique. Lord Zedd and The Machine Empire were my favorite antagonists. While I dipped into Power Rangers in Space, my last favorite incarnation of the fandom revolved around the Zeo Rangers.
As for the Power Rangers panel, both Amy’s and Jason’s personalities shined brightly.They reminisced about their days as Power Rangers back in the 90s as well as what they have done recently in television and movies. They discussed family life; Amy mentioned that she brought her daughter to the convention as well. Jason talked about his many good memories with fans, etc. While I did enjoy the Q/A that was done with Collider, I wished the audience got to have a Q/A with Amy and Jason. From what I gathered during the panel, VIP fans would get a one on one interaction with them afterwards. The rest of the fanbase would enjoy the general meet and greet after waiting in line. Here’s hoping that future panels at Amazing are more interactive with the audience.
“When Life Needs A Pause Button”
Compared to Kawaii-Kon, and Comic-Con Honolulu, which had content on two levels of content mixed with panels/vendors/guests, everything was in one room. The local vendors like Other Realms were a treat to see at Amazing Comic-Con. I really wanted to get the Section 31 Starfleet badge that they had in stock, but unfortunately someone bought it while took some time to think on it and look at other vendors. My significant purchase of the day was this lenticular poster of Daenerys Targaryen, The Night King, and Jon Snow from Game of Thrones. For the most part, vendors were nice and communicative to anyone who has general questions about their products. I was teetering on buying another Marvel or DC graphic novel like the Dark Knights: Metal series, but like struggling Millennials like myself in today’s world, money is always a factor. Diving into your escapism(s) can be quite costly.
As as whole, conventions like Amazing are positive environments. You can let your fly your geek/nerdy, etc., flag with pride and find others who would join alongside you. Fangirling with other like minded individuals about what you love most can be heaven on Earth. Escapism is what we run to when the real world is “dark and full of terrors”. You can be you without much judgement. Sure, the mainstream populace has now accepted “nerd culture” and the obsession with fandoms as the norm. Just look at Game of Thrones and how divisive its final season can be. Being considered a geek/nerd/dork, etc. is no longer a bad thing. We are no longer bound to being negatively personified, whether it originates from an iconic 80s teen movie or elsewhere. To a true nerd, conventions are your Mecca. They are your North Star in a life that may be frustratingly difficult at times. Sometimes the “difficulty settings” for life can be hard to change. When that happens, we need a respite, a place of solace, our Fairy Fountains (conventions) if you will, that will rejuvenate us.
Since I wasn’t a VIP guest, the general meet and greet was where the general attendees could meet all the famous actors. Sadly, it seemed to be near impossible to meet Jason David Frank. A long line awaited me, a line that seemed to last all day. Mr. Frank seems to be one of the many actors of today that has a propensity to talk in length. That’s not a bad thing for any fan who obviously admires the actor they are paying to see. They get some personal time with their idol. The drawback to that is a long wait is in store for everyone else. It is one of the many natural orders that exists in conventions like this one. So due to the long line, I forgo one meeting with one of my childhood heroes to meet with another hero of childhood, Amy Jo Johnson. I am thankful to meet her and get a picture alongside her as well. Her and her family seemed to express exhaustion at the length of the convention, and rightly so. Signing autographs and interacting with numerous faces in a given day can get taxing. Just ask anybody who works at retail. It was an honor to meet get a chance to meet one of my childhood protagonists.
One day, I hope to meet Jason David Frank another year. Other famous individuals who attended Amazing included Asher Angel from SHAZAM!, Legendary Comic Creator George Perez, Steve Cardenas (Red Power Ranger), Neal Adams – Comic Artist, Manu Bennett – Actor, Ron Lim – Penciler, Daniel Logan – Actor (Boba Fett: Star Wars: Attack of the Clones), Charles Martinet – Voice Actor (Mario), Joe Ng – Artist – Udon Entertainment, Lucie Pohl – Actress, Keith Silverstein – Voice Actor, Tara Strong – Voice Actress (Avatar: The Last Airbender), and Marv Wolfman – Writer. It would’ve been interesting to meet the voice of Mario since my childhood. Meeting young Boba Fett from Star Wars: Episode II would have been great too. Unfortunately, time and money didn’t permit me. There is always next year!
“The Future Of Escapism In Paradise”
In the end, Amazing Comic Con was an interesting taste of escapism for all of us who love our particular fandoms in the 50th state. I am really glad more mainstream conventions are coming to the state. Amazing Comic-Con has a lot of work to do. Kawaii-Kon, and Comic-Con Honolulu are significant conventions in this state. I look forward to what it will bring in the years to come. Preparation and planning are key factors. May Amazing not have to deal with any near future hurricanes from Mother Nature. Postponing/cancelling will always bring negative consequences, but I am glad it returned in February of this year. Smaller states like Hawaii need more conventions like this. Many thanks go out to the actors who attended a convention in one of the smaller states. They certainly brighten the lives of the young and old in Paradise. I’d like to thank my brothers and sisters at The Grand Geek Gathering. They gave me this opportunity to meet with my heroes from childhood and find a sanctuary from the complexities of life. I’d also like to thank the crew of Amazing Comic-Con for bringing their slice of nerd-Mecca to our shores. Here’s to many more adventures to future conventions in Paradise.