Convention Review

I-CON 25

March 24 – 26, 2006

A Review by Melissa Minners 

            With I-CON 24 having been somewhat of a disappointment for me, I was somewhat apprehensive about attending I-CON 25.  Going to the I-CON had become somewhat of a tradition, but I wasn’t certain that I would want to attend more than one day as I had on previous occasions.  The only saving grace – this I-CON was a special number: number 25.  My first I-CON was I-CON 20 and it was a great deal of fun.  The succeeding I-CONs were decent, but lacked something of the first one I attended.  I had hopes for this I-CON, being the 25th anniversary of the event.  My hopes were answered.

            Entering the registration room was a feat in itself, as hundreds of would-be attendees lined up down the block and around the corner, waiting to buy tickets to the event.  Hundreds more were inside the registration room picking up tickets they had bought online in advance.  Many were dressed in the costumes of their favorite movie, cartoon, and anime heroes.  The tables in the registration room were packed with registration materials, programs, free memorabilia and more.  Attendees roamed the room perusing the interesting wares being sold on the surrounding tables.  I immediately spotted Goats creator Jonathan Rosenberg and rushed over to strike up a conversation with him and R. Stevens, creator of the internet comic Diesel Sweeties.  Then it was off to the other tables where I perused everything from Celtic music to science fiction books that were given away freely to those who wished to donate to the campus library.

            Then, it was off to the dealer room which had seen a dramatic change since my last visit.  What once seemed crowded and dreary was now bright and open.  I had been worried that the dealer’s room would be like that of I-CON 24, basically suited for the gaming crowd, but things had changed this year.  I was delighted to see that there was quite a variety of tables this year.  There was something for everyone.  Yes, there were gaming tables with dice, characters, costumes, etc, but there were also comic book dealers, art dealers, and more.  DVD and VHS sets were discounted on the first day, unlike last year, when everything seemed to be full price.  There were more tables containing action figures and statues of every variety including wrestling, sci-fi, comic heroes and more.  There were tables filled with books of all kinds – hardcovers, paperbacks, and collections – all at reasonable prices.  I was extremely happy to find a true bargain amongst all the book tables.  Klon Newell of Klon’s Interplanetary Books sold me 4 hardcover superhero guides, normally retailing for $20 apiece, for the low price of just $20 for all four!  I walked away with an extremely wide grin on my face and two very heavy bags. 

            Also in attendance were independent authors of science fiction novels, comic book artists, and more, all hopeful that they might have found new fans among the hundreds of science fiction, anime, and comic book fans thronging to their tables.  These authors and artists were on the ball, happily greeting all that passed their table and drawing them in with exciting descriptions of their wares.

            I found many interesting forms of memorabilia, from Lost survivor ID badges to patches from every science fiction show that ever existed.  I was disappointed in the lack of superhero and movie image t-shirts available.  I had bought my favorite Batman shirt at the first I-CON I attended and have been looking for more shirts of its caliber ever since.  Although, I must say, if I were a Superman fan, I’d have been in heaven at one particular kiosk which sold an assortment of original Superman designs.  Also available were t-shirts containing beautifully artistic renditions of animals and fantasy creatures and some that contained funny little sayings, all selling at reasonable prices.

            My awkward geek moment came when I arrived at the Signatory Tables.  There, seated before me was actor Marc Singer who I had watched in several shows including the movie Beastmaster and the mini-series V.  Having been a terrific fan of the V movies and the television series that followed, I was awestruck that one of the major players was seated before me.  I was even more surprised when the actor stood up and started shaking hands with everyone who walked by.  It was a dream come true.  As I shook hands with Marc Singer, I remember stammering something about watching him on V as a kid (something I’m sure he loved hearing from an adult) and smiling the grin of a stupefied idiot.  It was a true geek moment, and something that I haven’t experienced in quite some time.

            My only complaint about the dealer room was the lack of actual comic books.  There were some comic book dealers, but most of the comics sold were either super old and therefore super expensive, or brand new and not of much interest to me.  I had been looking to complete my collection of Birds of Prey comics, but couldn’t find one dealer who was selling them.  My favorite hero, Batgirl / Oracle, was found on very few tables, mostly in a goofy anime depiction.  Despite this unfortunate turn of events, I found myself wholly enjoying my experience in the Dealer Room.   

            After last year’s Art Show experience, there was no way I was missing the show this time around!  This year, the coordinators of the I-CON decided that the Art Room should be in a separate location than the Dealer Room, thus providing more room for tables in the Dealer Room, and a huge amount of space for the various and plentiful amounts of art submitted for perusal and purchase.  On display were works of art completed in various mediums, such as sculpture, digital prints, acrylics, sketches, and more.  As you enter the room, you are captivated by the artwork of Rob Granito, whose renditions of your favorite movie characters and superheroes are so detailed as to be lifelike.  To the right of Rob Granito’s display were sculptures of castles, dragons, gargoyles, and more.  All around the room there were wonders to behold from simple sketches to lifelike images.  I was particularly taken in by a digital print of a mermaid pulling on a fisherman’s line, holding hr finger to her lips as if to ask the viewer to keep their silence at her little joke.  I believe it was called Naughty Mermaid, but unfortunately, I can’t remember the name of the artist.

            But the I-CON experience didn’t end there!  Not by a long shot!  There was so much to do and so much to see, I found it virtually impossible to take it all in.  There were new movies to see, like Batman Begins, The Chronicles of Narnia, and Serenity.  There were old favorites like The Time Machine and Most Dangerous Game.  The I-CON wouldn’t be complete without a performance of The Rocky Horror Picture Show.  Gamers were kept very happy in the brand new gaming location.  There were several opportunities to meet authors, comic book creators, game creators, actors, artists and more.  I had been interested in the rocketry launch held in the Athletic Fields, as I believed that it was the first time the ICON had held such an event and I had seen some of the rocket models in the Dealer Room.  Alas, I missed the launch – there was just so much taking place at once! 

            Believe me, I’m not complaining.  At past I-CONs, I’ve wished that there were more events, more dealers…in short, more to do.  I-CON 25 had it all!  It has me psyched to attend I-CON 26, which takes place at Stony Brook University on March 23-25, 2007!

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