Hawaii Just Got Amazing
Written by Chris Kwock (@kwock)
The guys who do all the Amazing (Arizona, Las Vegas, Houston, just to name a few) Comic Cons expanded their convention list and brought their "amazing" convention to my home town in Hawaii. With their “Comic Con” name they brought in things more geared towards comics; no anime seiyuus, concerts, or anything that you may be used to at anime cons (this didn’t stop people from dressing up as anime characters though). The big name draw that they brought down for their first year was Stan Lee! He is like the god-father to every geek’s childhood comic book heroes. They used their strong ties with the mainland (continental US for you not living on an island) to bring down vendors that we’ve never had before. With so many local cons going on lots of people were calling this con “Stan Lee con” to not confuse anyone with similar names. Stan Lee’s most iconic character has to be Spider-Man; over the weekend I saw so many Spider-Men in all shapes and sizes and different outfits.
For the local community who may not have experienced any conventions outside the state, this was definitely a more mainland feel to me. It was more of a comic con feel where there were many things to do in the vendor’s hall and much of everyone’s time would be spent in there. With the big name draws, there were many attendees who went to a con of any kind for the first time. I saw many new faces in the crowd and I saw high school classmates and coworkers who I would never have seen at an anime convention. There were several panels going on with their guests including Stan Lee.
One of the other big name artists they brought down was Rob Liefeld, the creator of Deadpool. During his panel he talked about the upcoming movie which was a real treat to listen to his plans and what the movie is going to have. I am kind of excited for Colossus having a decent amount of screen time! Of course with the creator of Deadpool at the con, there were also a lot of Deadpools ~_~;; There was our usual bunch and then a handful of guys who were dressing up as Deadpool for the first time and weren’t into the whole “act like Deadpool” deal...or didn’t know about it. I’m hoping the former. All the comic book artists were more than happy to sign people’s comics for free and any number too. I saw one guy have 5 Venom #1s signed. Many people brought comics to sign especially in protector cases. I saw several comics I recognized, where I was like, “I remember that one!” or “I have that issue somewhere at home!”
Okay, let’s talk Stan Lee! He is doing great for his age. I had purchased a photo OP, because seriously, I don’t know how many more chances I’m going to get and at 92, he isn’t getting any younger. I missed getting one at San Diego so I wasn’t going to miss it a second time! For the photo OP, I got to go in, say hi and say how much of an influence he’s had on my life. He smiled and said thanks, the photo was snapped and that was it. Over in less than a minute. Which is a really good thing because the line for everything Stan Lee was long and long all weekend! Between photo OPs, Autograph signing, purchasing tickets and memorabilia, and to get tickets to his panel, there was always a long line.. All these lines is what makes purchasing the VIP packages very worthwhile. With the VIP you get to be escorted to the front of the line before all the general admission and believe me, some guys waited in the lines for 2+ hours.
I felt like the line to pick up tickets were always pretty long. What was really nice was that kids under 10 were free to attend all weekend. Sunday was a special kid’s day where artists would be doing free sketches for all the kids under 10. There was such a great assortment of guests and vendors that there were long lines even before the doors to the vendor room opened! Thankfully the lines went down pretty quickly once the doors opened.
Now Stan Lee wasn’t the only one who drew in huge lines. Kevin Eastman, the creator of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, brought in a large crowd and following for all of this turtle signings. Cosplayer Jessica Nigri also brought in lots of fans. She was so popular she ran out of prints. On Sunday there were guys who lined up soon after the vendor room opened and just started the line with no idea what time she’d show up. In fact lots of vendors were taken back at how receptive and thirsty the Hawaii community was. Many vendors severely underestimated the amount of product to bring and sold out on a few things. I mean, the kettle corn booth sold out by around 4pm on Saturday. SOLD OUT!!! How do you sell out of kettle corn?!
Amazing Hawaii didn’t rent out the whole use of the convention center, so they had their main events in the back area of the vendor’s room. This was good and bad, as it was cool for some of the vendors and attendees to see what was going on in the giant projector screen and had room for overflow, which there was a lot of! So people didn’t miss out necessarily just because the seating was full. Unfortunately it made it hard to talk and hear vendors when big events were going on. At times it felt like a mini San Diego Comic Con, with people just every where and needing to slowly move along to get to where you wanted to go. Thankfully the Hawaii convention Center isn’t as huge as San Diego’s.
It was definitely an amazing weekend and all the vendors, artists, guests, and attendees alike were super beat after it was done. Things were slightly unorganized with the line situation, but it was their first year after all. They’ve already announced the dates for next year in May. I am looking forward to hearing who they announce as their big draw next year!
Check out a few of my favorite photos from Amazing Hawaii Comic Con below!