In March 2015, I was able to attend Planet Comic Con in Kansas City. As a first time Con attendee, I wanted everything to be perfect. Knowing this was possibly a once in a lifetime opportunity to attend a Con, it put me under a ton of pressure to get the most out of the experience and do it right. I came up with a budget, a list of must have items and mapped out the creators I wanted to meet and the panels I wanted to attend. I stuck to my detailed itinerary but also scheduled a little time to just wander and take it all in. During those times wandering the floor I met the voice of Darth Maul on Clone Wars, Sam Witmer, got to hear Tom Kane, the voice of Yoda on Clone Wars record a voicemail greeting on a fan’s phone and was also able to talk with Cullen Bunn, Brian Hurtt, Skottie Young and Stan Sakai. I am a huge fan of Skottie Young’s art style, Marvel variant covers and work on Rocket Raccoon. His Con commission list filled up quickly and the line to have him sign books was massive. If I had a second chance I would have paid for a commission on site because I saw some of the finished work and it was simply amazing. I also have to mention how brilliant Hurtt and Bunn’s Sixth Gun comic series is and I highly recommend it. They were both kind enough to sign some Sixth Gun books and talk with me about the series as well as upcoming projects. Stan was also amazing to speak with but I will talk more about him later. While roaming the floor I couldn’t help but be introduced to the world of cosplay and was amazed at the detail and quality of many of the fans costumes. Many were kind enough to let people snap some photos or pose for pictures with them.
When planning my trip it was very important to me that I not miss out on anything or regret not being able to do something at the Con so I went all in for the VIP pass. After talking with a few friends who had attended cons in the past, this pass seemed like the best choice. The price for the VIP was $200 versus a 3 day pass for $55. The extra money was worth every single penny. While I am not familiar with other Con VIP passes and how they would compare to KC, I can’t imagine it getting much better than this badge of honor. First on the floor every single day means a head start on thousands of people. VIP food lines, VIP celebrity meet and greet lines, VIP seating at every single panel. Crowd estimate for the 3 day event was around 40,000. They only sold 200 VIP passes, making these extremely limited. The VIP seating at panels gave the option of showing up 5 minutes prior and still getting a front row seat for pics and a first shot at the microphone for some fan questions. Panel seating was normally standing room only for most big name stars and the VIP pass saved the day by guaranteeing a great seat. Food lines and Celebrity lines got crazy and without the pass these would have taken 45-60 minutes each. VIP badge cut that down to less than 3 minutes in every single case except one…Stephen Amell. My fan experience with him is highlighted in second post (Coming Soon)!
Other highlights included a vendor, Ultra Sabers, that manufactures and sells custom lightsabers (including a dual blade version like Darth Maul’s lightsaber) and other fantasy swords such as the Sword of Omens from Thundercats. Prices vary on many of these pieces based on how much you want to customize your purchase. Very high quality, weighted and they can be equipped with specific sound effects and light colors. These were simply amazing.
There was also a book binder, Houchen Bindery LTD
, that can take a run of comics and convert them to a beautiful hardback collection. When putting together the hardcover they include all the covers and even the letter pages and adds from each comic in the exact order they appeared in each issue. You can personally pick the cover designs or have the binder come up with something unique like the Usagi collection they had at their table. Some current comic professionals such as Matt Kindt, personally use them for this service. If you have boxes of books that you want to read and don’t care about long term collectability then this is a fantastic option. It allows the owner to condense their collection from all those comic boxes in a closet to a prominent spot on a bookshelf. Their work is beautiful and top notch. There were countless other vendors selling discounted statues, action figures, posters and comics. A con is the place to buy collectible statues and figures. The prices were amazing as vendors were looking to move inventory and take nothing back to their stores. I was also looking for some unique things that I knew I wouldn’t find anywhere else or maybe had never seen before. Some of these notable and unique items included custom designed decals typically featuring logos or iconic symbols from various pop culture and comic related properties and I was even able to purchase a replica set of license plates from the Supernatural TV series Impala that the Winchesters drive on the show. There were also many vendors selling T-shirts, hoodies and other clothing featuring nearly every superhero or villain imaginable.
Planet Comic Con in Kansas City was simply one of the best experiences I have ever been able to take part in. The staff that organizes and puts on the event would stop and talk with the VIP pass holders who were in line each morning to see how they could improve next year and get our opinion on each of our daily experiences. That kind of customer service and one on one interaction was very impressive. The city was extremely easy to navigate, parking was readily available even with the NCAA Big 12 tournament in town and local food choices, especially the BBQ were outstanding. Getting a taste of this event in KC has left me hungry for more and I cannot wait to attend again next year with my entire family.
Stay tuned for the next post highlighting my experience meeting Stephen Amell and the man who brought me to Kansas City, Stan Sakai!