Whew! This past weekend I was so glad the air conditioning was going strong and not in need of an AC repair at the Tampa Bay Comic Con 2014. 40k super fans from the Tampa Bay area and beyond gathered at the Tampa Convention Center for an all-out nerdtastic playdate of costumes, celebrity Q&A, breakout sessions, and nearly 400,000 sqft. of expo space for the whole family! That’s right, you can now use your 6-year-old as a cover while you scope your favorite superheros, and stock up on your favorite big kid toys. In my mind, that plays out perfectly. Not to mention I’ve yet to meet a 3 1/2′ Superman I didn’t like.
Tampa Bay Comic Con 2014 Review
This year, Tampa Bay Comic Con really took it to another level with a nice blend of fine artists, comic illustrators/storytellers, and vendors ranging from next art prints, comic books, movies, hand-made accessories, and collectible toys/action figures. So, I got up at stupid o’clock in the morning to set out and beat the masses. What I found was no lack of kick-ass to be seen. I met some pretty sweet artists, posed for a close-up with a few zombies, and stocked up on some killer prints for my Fairytale Traveler office cave (which is a rendition of a Bat Cave complete with pirate maps, my collection of vintage fairytale books, the Little Fairytale Traveler’s preschool art, and one unicorn head). After that, I popped into a few celebrity Q&As to get the skinny on some of my favorite stars. Check out my highlights:
Tampa Bay Comic Con Favorite Artists
I actually think I made some friends here! I really enjoyed having the chance to talk to some of the artists about their travels, where they find inspiration, and what cons they’re headed to next.
Jeremy Bastian Illustrator and Comic Book Creator
Jeremy Bastian is an American comic book creator and illustrator best known for the series Cursed Pirate Girl. He received an associate degree in fine art from the Art Institute of Pittsburgh. When I approached his table his stack of books immediately caught my eye. They looked so old! Opening one would prove to be even more fascinating. The amount of linework in this book is just unbelievable! Check him out here
Brandon Peterson, Illustrator and Storyteller
Brandon Peterson is an American comic book writer and artist known for his hyper-detailed artwork and intricate line work. He is better known for his work on Marvel Comics’ Uncanny X-Men and Top Cow’s Codename: Strykeforce in the 1990s. Check him out here
Michael Kulick, Fine Artist
Michael Kulick is a Florida based painter. As a self-taught painter, he has also worked in sculpture, woodworking, and drawing. Check him out here
Will Pigg and Jacob McAlister of Mutagen Press, Fine Artists
Will Pigg is a freelance illustrator, paper crafter, screen printer, moving images maker, pictures, narratives, stop-motion funnery, designer, music, and any other. Jacob McAlister is an illustrator, teacher, actor, and singer in Central Florida. Check them out here
Jaime Torraco of Kittens of Industry, Fine Artist
Jaime Torraco (aka JaimeKittens) brings you “Art for the Sunshine Noir”. Kittens Of Industry creates paintings, drawings, and prints large and small. Her art is mostly made with pencils, fine-lined pens, acrylic paints and the occasional watercolor/gouache action. The subject matter is cutely morose, magical, hilarious, peculiar, and full of an imaginative story. Elven girls, ice cream cones, sugar skulls, cats and other animals combine in an organized chaos of color and clean line work to build new worlds for viewers to explore. Check her out here
Morgan Wilson of Lux Nova Studio, Fine Artist
Morgan is a fine artist, painter, fabricator, and creator of artastic things with a dark twist. I really liked her rendition of Maleficent. Her logo sign was pretty rad too. Check her out here
Dredmor’s Plunder, Custom Pirate & Medieval Leather
Dredmore Plunder is a leather maker to pirate and medieval enthusiasts. He crafts accessories, home goods and even crafted a mug for the Hound of Game of Thrones. Check him out here
Tammy Pryce of Sad Little Dragons & Fantasy Art
Born in Ohio and currently living in Woodstock GA, Tammy has been a freelance artist for the past 6 years. Growing up she was always doing arts and crafts and anything creative. She also worked at Fenton Art Glass Co. for 5 years as a decorator, during that time she did hand painting on all types of glassware including things such as bells, baskets, and lampshades. Check her out here
Tampa Bay Comic Con Celebrity Q&A
You’ll never truly gather the lung capacity of a 14-year-old girl until Richard Madden walks into a room. Holy eardrums. The famed Game of Thrones (now dead), King of the North graced the adolescent masses at Tampa Bay Comic Con for a series of autographs ($50), photographs ($50), and a Q&A with Pedro Pascal. Between the two it was a swoon fest. It was hard to compete with questions like “What color are your underwear?” and “Will you follow me on Twitter?”, but I barreled through and went in for the win, seized my moment and asked him about Ireland’s new Game of Thrones Territory and if he had any favorite locations along the trail.
Bring a jacket! Ireland is beautiful, it’s a lovely place. It’s not too far from home in Scotland for me and so while I was there I liked being on the coast. On a clear day, you can actually see Scotland. It’s just a beautiful area where we filmed.” -Richard Madden, Game of Thrones, Klondike, Cinderella (2015).
Just when I thought my decibel capacity had reached its max, Evan Peters came into the room. The American Horror Story and X-Men star had yet another (or perhaps even the same) group of swooning girls pouring into the room to ask him questions like “Who’s your favorite Hollywood couple?” and “Can I have your number?”. They just don’t stop, it’s madness! I was able to squeeze by the trembling tweens to ask him if he had any advice for the Little Fairytale Traveler as he enters a career in television.
Keep a close eye on him. The film industry is a pretty shady place. Look out for him and yourself, and keep him in acting classes.” -Evan Peters, American Horror Story
There’s a definite difference between the audience of the above celebs and Lord of the Rings Gimli dwarf star John Rhys-Davies. Being a much older film star, his Q&A was not nearly as ridden with innuendos and flirtatious tweens. Instead, it was a show of appreciation for film, on character building, and an obvious and proclaimed respect for J.R.R. Tolkien, the author behind the Lord of the Rings fantasy series. When standing with John Rhys-Davies one must ask, “Star Wars or Lord of the Rings?”
Lord of the Rings, though they are both absolutely amazing films, I have to say this due to the literary roots of Lord of the Rings. J.R.R. Tolkien was a profound author. -John Rhys-Davies, Lord of the Rings, Indiana Jones, Spongebob Squarepants.
Tampa Bay Comic Con 2014 also featured celebrity appearances from Caity Lotz of Arrow and Mad Men, Brighton Sharbino of the Walking Dead, Kyla Kenedy of The Walking Dead, and Daniel Cudmore of X-Men: Days of Future Past, X2, and X-Men: The Last Stand. For a complete list of celebrity appearances click here.
Costumes, Costumes, and More Costumes
There was no shortage of talent at Tampa Bay Comic-Con. It seemed like the was a small mob at every corner enjoying photo ops with their favorite fantasy, comic, superhero, cartoon, and movie characters. I’m not going to lie, I was right there with them!
What I Took from Tampa Bay Comic Con 2014
Tampa Bay Comic Con was a blast. I would have liked to see more food options there, but that was probably just the convention site. Besides, who needs food when there’s killer costumes, zombies, toys, comics, and celebrities? The weekend was a whirlwind of awesome. We are totally looking forward to the next Comic Con, and hope to see you there. Till then, my new office wall art will have to do.
Want to Plan for Tampa Bay Comic Con 2015?
You can start by checking into the convention hotel at Embassy Suites conveniently located across the street from the Tampa Convention Center. Its catwalk will take you over the street and land your comic book, nerdism loving feet right at the convention. Embassy Suites has valet parking (the way forward) for $13 (check for up to date prices), an in-house Starbucks with wi-fi, with breakfast included and afternoon refreshments. Equally as convenient as its location is the Tampa Trolley just in front of the entrance which will take you straight into historic Ybor City for the after event shin-digs. If you’re wanting to stay put, you can walk across the street to the outdoor bar and catch the sunset on the bay. If you’re looking for a spot that requires a few more buttons on your shirt, stroll over the itty bitty bridge to Jackson’s on the water. Dine by day, party by night. Embassy Suites and the Tampa Convention Center are located in one of the prettiest parts of downtown Tampa on the water overlooking the premiere residential neighborhoods of Harbor Island.