The day I got my rejection letter for the Electronic Entertainment Expo I didn’t pout, although it was severely disappointing news to say the least. Nope, I knew that would be a complete waste of my time, and decided to begin a search for other conventions and events in the Los Angeles area that I might be interested in attending. I started by going to Google, typing in “Los Angeles Conventions”, and within about three seconds I knew what I was gonna do next:
It sounded perfect, a comic book convention, with actors! I had never met any actors before, not that I can remember at least. Almost immediately after reading a description of this event I remembered a quote by Raoul Duke in the late, great Hunter S Thompson’s ‘Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas’:
“In some circles, the Mint 400 is a far far better thing than the Super Bowl, The Kentucky Derby, and the Lower Oakland Roller Derby Finals all rolled into one. This race attracts a very special breed.”
A “very special breed” had surely descended into the historic Shrine Auditorium, located on the beautiful campus of the University of Southern California, and the site of this historic event. Let’s look at some of my favorites moments:
You don’t know how fucking excited I was to meet both of these guys
The man on the left is none other than Vernon G Wells, the Australian actor best known for his villainous turns in The Road Warrior, Weird Science, InnerSpace, and, of course, most famously as Bennett in Commando, yep the “Let off some steam, Bennett” guy. Outside of maybe Predator, he was the best villain Arnold Schwarzenegger has faced in his movies.
Wells was pretty fuckin’ cool guy too, he was kind enough to talk to both Rika and I even before he knew I was writing a story on the event. I was unaware of the fact that he has done quite a bit of work in video games, including providing the voice of Samael in the first Darksiders game as well as it’s upcoming sequel. He also did voice work in 2007’s Golden Axe: Beast Rider, and three games released in 2005: Ty The Tasmanian Tiger 3, Dungeons and Dragons: Dragonshard, and Ultimate Spider-Man.
The man pictured with Wells is Eric Walker, best known for playing Mace Towani in the 1984 made-for-TV film Caravan of Courage: An Ewok Adventure, and I probably watched it even more than the Star Wars films growing up, which is saying something.
To put it in perspective, sometime in 2002 I signed and promoted the shit out of an online petition to get Caravan of Courage released on DVD. My dreams came true in November of 2004, when a double feature collection with it and it’s sequel, Battle for Endor, hit the shelves. Yes, I got it the first day.
Eric has been says that these days, besides his successful business ventures, he mostly uses his creative energies on his music. His album Tangier Dream includes a tribute to the Ewok films, titled “Return to Endor“. You can find it on iTunes or order it direct from the man himself at ericwalkermusic.com.
George Chase of Hypno Comics was actually the first person I talked to at the event. When he saw Rika taking pictures and me writing in my notebook he asked “Media?”, it took me a second to realize that’s what I actually was doing there, I mean, that’s what I thought I was doing there, so I uttered out an overly loud “yeah! I am!”. He was very cool, and even gave me signed a copy of his new comic, titled “Comic Book Junkie, described on the Hypno Comics website as “A dark, violent, and humorous title about the Comic Book Industry in the 90’s”.
Ivan Gonzalez had a booth right next to Hypno Comics, he was selling his amazing set of collectibles which had a little bit of this, and a little bit of that, including Transformers, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, X-Men, and the sweet figurine of Luke Skywalker on a TaunTaun from Empire Strikes Back. If you are interested in buying his stuff you can call him at 310-938-9233 (yes I asked).
Terry’s Comics has been present at comic book conventions all over the world. In fact the gentleman I was talking to at the booth (who I assume was “Terry”) said they had just got back from the London Super Comic Con that ended on February 26th. They will also be attending what looks like literally every major Comic Book Convention in the United States this year. They are serious pros of the game and you can ask them if they have what you want by email at email@example.com.
A&G Comics had a guy working the booth who really knows his shit. They hold booths 817 and 819 at The Frank and Son Collectible Show every Wednesday at 19649 East San Jose Avenue in City of Industry, California.
Cape and Cowl Collectibles had what could only be described as my “Dream Booth”, decked out with a very large amount of Godzilla figurines, which I walked by about six times to look at them. C&C Collectibles’ website says they specialize in “new and vintage collectibles, from Marvel, DC Comics, Star Wars, He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, Godzilla, Transformers, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, G.I. Joe and many more”
After I gave him my card, I told the guy behind the booth that if this website takes off he can expect a call from me, and I would be making a large purchase of Godzilla swag. Seriously, as a major fan, do you think I can ever find something better than this?
When I gave my card to the dude who I assumed Brad Sloan of F V F Comics (at least that’s the name on the card he gave me) I told him I would be doing a story on the convention. His reaction? “Double B Reviews huh? I like it already.” See, that’s the right attitude, a few of these exibitors were fucking pricks to deal with, which isn’t a huge surprise, obviously, but hey I will now always remember F V F Comics and look forward to doing business with them. If you love comics and are looking to buy or sell, you might want to give them a call at 818-653-8527.
Lastly, there was Victor Icaza, an NBC employee who has been “collecting what’s collectible” for over twenty years. He had been keeping everything in the garage at his home and admitted that his wife, who was working the booth with him wanted him to sell it to “make more room”.
Amongst the items he showed me were his vast collection of Star Wars paraphernalia, a rare Harry Potter Telephone (pictured above), and a Randy Moss figurine (pictured below). He and his wife were geniunely friendly and I am glad to have met them. If you would like to get a hold of him the best way is via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
All in all I had a complete blast at my first convention and will always remember it. Thanks to all the vendors I had the pleasure of talking to, it was nice to be around so many nerds like myself at one time.