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 islandsÂ 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 InternationalÂ in San Diego. My wife and I attended for several years, and as we haveÂ 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.
ButÂ “comic con” is actually a generic phraseÂ used by many eventsÂ (although the San Diego operation has tried to sue at least one).Â The comics convention that’s coming to Hawaii this fall isÂ the Amazing Comic Con,Â which started in Arizona four years ago. Amazing Comic Cons expanded toÂ Las Vegas and HoustonÂ last year, and Hawaii’s inaugural event is the fourth and lastÂ 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 interviewÂ 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 SDCCÂ expo floor, while blockbuster movie stars and multi-million dollar cable television franchises commandÂ the spotlight. Heck, we went to our first SDCCÂ 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 ofÂ “pop culture shows” versus comic conventions. And whileÂ I’m not especially well versed in comic books, his traditional viewÂ and focus onÂ the art form is something I can appreciate.
“We want our events to be about the creators,” he explains.Â “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 lastÂ year broughtÂ the first Hawaii Comic & Toy Expo.
It’s almostÂ 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 includesÂ George Perez (DC Comics, creator of the Teen Titans),Â 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 agendaÂ 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 youÂ 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. ForÂ more information, visit AmazingHawaiiComicCon.com.