Sunday concluded the 17th annual Planet Comicon in Kansas City. The event had an estimated attendance in the tens of thousands. The Con’s biggest draw was celebrity guest the legendary comic creator Stan Lee. There were also plenty of other celebrities that had long lines, including Tom Felton who played Draco Malfoy in the Harry Potter films, Peter Mayhew who played the iconic Chewbacca in the Star Wars franchise, Jeremy Shada who voices Finn in the Adventure Time cartoons, and George Takei of Star Trek fame, among others.
Kansas City Mayor Sly James introduced Stan Lee for a panel discussion in front of a crowd of 3,000 fans. James honored the 93-year-old creator of comic characters such as Spider-Man, Hulk, Iron Man, and others by declaring Saturday, May 21 Stan Lee Day in KC. James embraced Lee as he made his way to the stage and presented James gave him a Challenge Coin.
“(It’s) a military tradition of recognizing that the recipient has performed in an outstanding way,” James said of the exchange. “If I see Stan again and one of us does ot have the coin, that person must buy drinks.”
The showcase floor was packed with many exhibitors and creative guests, giving fans something to do and look at if they weren’t interested in waiting in lines. This year’s Planet Comicon featured a more open layout compared to years past, the new layout had the creative artists along the west wall of Bartle Hall with vendors open throughout the middle of the floor. Lawrence, Kan.-native and co-creator of the Dream Thief comics Jai Nitz said he preferred being at Planet Comicon rather than the famous San Diego Comic-Con. Talking about how much space there is at PCC, Nitz had made a stark comparison to the famous San Diego con.
“I’m not a fan of shuffle cons, and San Diego Comic-Con is a shuffle con,” he said. “Sometimes you even have to dream of shuffling, because you just won’t be able to move due to the mass of people.”
Other creators that were showcased included Cullen Bunn of DC Comics’ Sinestro, Greg Smallwood who is an artist on Marvel’s Moon Knight, and Amanda Conner who is an artist on DC’s Harley Quinn. Two alumni from the University of Central Missouri were also in attendance – the Artisan Rogue, Mario Mora and Dan Scott, an artist for Magic the Gathering, whose work has been cards like Ponder, Serum Visions, and the Planeswalker Daretti, Scrap Savant.
I was fortunate enough to spend the entire weekend with friends who have never attended a comic-con. They stated that they were really impressed with the turnout and were surprised at how much fun they had. Even with all of the headliners, they were most excited to see the author Jim Butcher, just going to show that no matter what your preference, there was something there for everyone.
In the end, the entire crowd came to celebrate their interests helped make everything special. Whether it was a celebrity, a comic creator, or a cosplayer, there was plenty to enjoy. Planet Comicon’s 17th showcase was one to be admired. The end result shows that this event is only growing in prestige and size.
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