What does N*Sync, Mickey Mouse, and Star Trek have in common? Normally very little, unless you were at PLANET COMICON in Kansas City over the weekend. What started off as a small gathering of comic book fans in hotel conference rooms has quickly exploded into a cultural juggernaut, celebrating all things geek, and pop culture, with independent events hosted around the world.
PLANET COMICON does an incredible job of ensuring that there is something (and someone) there for everyone, no matter what your interests are, and it can become very nostalgic as well. WWE legends BOOOKER T, SGT. SLAUGHTER, and JERRY THE KING LAWLER? They’re here. One of the two yutes. The Karate Kid himself, RAPLH MACCHIO? Check. The king of cool for 90’s babies, Zack Morris – MARK-PAUL GOSSALER? Of course!
All celebrities were available at their tables for photos, and autographs, with many hosting panels over the weekend, telling stories, and answering burning questions from fans. Vendors from around the country sold original art, crafts, vintage comic books, video games…whatever you could possibly want, whatever your fandom is, there’s something for you at PLANET COMICON.
Saturday’s panels started off with a very sweet “Voice Your Dreams” panel hosted by the voice of Mickey Mouse, Bret Iwan, and voice of Ahsoka Tano, Ashley Ekcstein. Both of whom had dreams connected to Disney – Bret, who wanted to be a Disney artist, and Ashley, who wanted to voice a Disney Princess. Both succeeding in their own ways, and gave all those in attendance permission to live their dreams, and a card to help remind us that they believe in us. It was a wonderfully sweet moment, and great way to kick off the day.
The day would continue with great panels from the cast of The Justice League, with Maria Canals-Barrera, Phill LaMarr, and Susan Eisenberg, where Phil LaMarr, as Hermes Conrad, scolded She-Hulk for tearing her clothes at work. It’s these kinds of things you’ll only see at a fan convention, and PLANET COMICON delivers for those who come into Kansas City.
The day would also include the King of the Nerds. Mythbusters, and Tested favorite ADAM SAVAGE. His enthusiasm for all things is infectious, and his energy electrified the room. Thankfully, nothing was blown up, though he regaled us stories of his favorite explosions, and meetings with bomb squads around the world.
Sunday, the last day, normally when things are winding down, was even more action packed. One of the two yutes. The Karate Kid, RALPH MACCHIO, from N*Sync, JOEY FATONE, Zach Morris himself MARK-PAUL GOSSELAAR, the Green (and coolest) Power Ranger, JASON DAVID FRANK, the voice of Pokemon, SARA NATOCHENNY, and of course, Dr. Beverly Crusher, and Q – GATES MCFADDEN & JOHN de LANCIE!
And these were just the panels on the main stage: there were panels for podcasters. For aspiring podcasters. Trivia. An E-Sports Tournament. Crafting demonstrations. And so, so much more. And even the Planet Entertainment Zone stage, featuring performances from local magicians, and my friends at THE COMEDY CLUB OF KANSAS CITY.
Whether you’re a fan of movies, the macabre, comics, video games, or cartoons, you’re sure to find something for you. PLANET COMICON has set its 2023 dates for March 17 – 19, so keep an eye out at https://planetcomicon.com/ and we hope to see you there.
Words and Photos by Josh Chaikin