Planned Comic Con in September is ‘Amazing’
My geek cred was challenged this week when a coworker of mine asked what I thought about Comic-Con coming to Hawaii, and I had to confess that I didn’t know anything about it.
As it turns out, there is a new comic book convention coming to the islands in September, and while it’s a relatively new franchise, they’re making a splash with their first announced guest: Stan Lee, veteran comic book writer, publisher, and former head of Marvel Comics.
Of course, I know Comic-Con. Specifically, the mother of all comic conventions, the Comic-Con International in San Diego. My wife and I attended for several years, and as we have many good friends who still make the pilgrimage each summer, we know quite well when passes go on sale, or when hotel registration begins (a.k.a. “Hotel Hell”), when demand outpaces supply by such a huge margin that total chaos ensues each year.
But “comic con” is actually a generic phrase used by many events (although the San Diego operation has tried to sue at least one). The comics convention that’s coming to Hawaii this fall is the Amazing Comic Con, which started in Arizona four years ago. Amazing Comic Cons expanded to Las Vegas and Houston last year, and Hawaii’s inaugural event is the fourth and last on the company’s 2015 calendar.
The Amazing Comic Con series was created by Jimmy Jay of Jay Company Comics. His company is one of the larger exhibitors at several comic conventions, including SDCC. In an email interview from last year, he talks about his long history in the comics industry and the genesis of the Amazing Comic Conventions brand.
“I see many events pop up that attempt to book nostalgia actors, wrestlers, bay watch models, and dub their events as a ‘comic con,'” he writes. “Instead of chasing trends, at Amazing Comic Conventions we wanted to return to the concept of a comic con back to its roots.”
Indeed, comic book creators and fans have long been relegated to the far end of the SDCC expo floor, while blockbuster movie stars and multi-million dollar cable television franchises command the spotlight. Heck, we went to our first SDCC to celebrate “LOST,” and had to be encouraged to visit “Artists’ Alley.”
In commenting on a less-than-perfect event in Los Angeles, Jimmy Jay dismissed the explosion of “pop culture shows” versus comic conventions. And while I’m not especially well versed in comic books, his traditional view and focus on the art form is something I can appreciate.
“We want our events to be about the creators,” he explains. “These are the architects of pop culture, and I think they should be the highlight of our events, not a footnote.”
Fortunately for Hawaii geeks, there are now plenty of options for fans of comics, animation, and pop culture. Our biggest fandom gathering, Kawaii Kon, is just wrapping up its
tenth eleventh annual event this weekend. Its organizers are in fact launching a spin-off convention, Hoku Kon, in July. (The tagline? “Hawaii’s Comic Con.”) The Big Island’s HawaiiCon is celebrating its second year in September. And last year brought the first Hawaii Comic & Toy Expo.
It’s almost enough good stuff to forget the ill-fated Oni-Con.
The first Amazing Hawaii Comic Con is taking place at the Hawaii Convention Center from Sept. 18-20, 2015. In addition to Stan Lee, the first slate of special guests includes George Perez (DC Comics, creator of the Teen Titans), Adam Kubert (Marvel Comics, artist for Wolverine, Origin II, Marvel Axis) and Mark Bagley (Marvel Comics, artist for Spider-Man).
At this early date, the three-day agenda is still coming together, and organizers have already put out the call for fan panel and program submissions. They ask: “Do you have a local fan club or organization that is looking for additional outreach? Is there an area of fandom that you would like to see included into the greater Comic Con event?” If so, you can email your ideas.
Ticket sales are set to begin in May for single-day, three-day, and VIP passes. For more information, visit AmazingHawaiiComicCon.com.