Thursday, August 13, 2015

Pensacola Comic Convention Happened, and I was There

Pensacola Comic Convention (also known as Pensacola Para Con) was this past weekend, and I have to say that despite a bumpy start, I had a blast! Still a relatively small convention, PCC has grown significantly over the years and seems to be putting forth a lot of effort to bring their con to the next level. They had everything from media guests, vendors, live wrestling matches, and even the real BatCopter and BatMobile from the 60's TV show! There were certainly a few areas that could use some improvement, but overall I'm glad I went and I'm definitely looking forward to next year!
First things first, they desperately need a new venue. Held in two buildings at the Pensacola Interstate Fairgrounds, this little con has clearly outgrown their surroundings! The main building was just a giant, open area with a spotty sound system and even spottier air conditioning (the word sweltering was used on several occasions). While the A/C issues were better on the second day, it was still pretty miserable. So much so, in fact, that my fellow blogger and cohort, Gillian of Cos Couture, filmed this with an A/C vent no more than 10 feet away from us:

To make matters worse, the panels and additional vendors were relegated to a separate building with even worse sound control and zero A/C:

The only thing cooling that building were several fans scattered about the place, and the only sound barrier between panels was a wall of curtains that didn't even reach the ceiling. Good news, I guess, if you wanted to attend two panels at once. Not so good if you wanted to actually be able to hear and pay attention to just one.

To be honest, the setup made PCC feel less like a convention and more like a trade show with costumes. We were actually so disillusioned that we left pretty early in the afternoon on Saturday to check into our hotel and cool off. What awaited us has been affectionately dubbed 'The Murder Room'. Seriously, with Freddy Kruger slash marks in both the sheets AND the chair, suspicious air holes drilled into the top of the closet (no clue what the inside looked like as I barred it with the chair the minute I found the air holes), lights that turned on and off by themselves, and a growling clock radio that refused to tell time (I threw that one into the room's rusty safe when the growling continued after it was unplugged), we're not 100% sure how we made it out alive.

We quickly decided that the hilarious absurdity of our room was just the perspective we needed to embrace the following day at PCC with enthusiasm. Sunday was going to be FunDay as we decided to run amok and enjoy the shenanigans.

There's no better way to inspire shenanigans than to dive into a Scavenger Hunt! The Pensacola Costumer's Guild had a great photo scavenger hunt going on that we quickly devoured. It turned out that running around searching for random items like tentacles and Star Wars droids was a great way to explore the convention. We found the USS Continuum, a Florida StarFleet chapter, who brought their very own captain's chair to the con (for 5$ you could get your photo taken in it and photo-shopped onto the bridge - which was awesome), and I got to play with the Sword of Omens from Thundercats!

That alone could have been enough fun for me to have fallen in love with this convention, but then I found the Nock family, and their roving Batman Museum! This family of diehard fans not only tracked down and acquired one of the 6 Batmobiles used in the original Adam West TV show, but they also have the one and ONLY Batcopter!! Batman has always topped my fandom list, so my geeky, little heart nearly exploded when I sat down inside the Batmobile and the Batcopter. (You guys, my butt has been where Adam West's butt has been!! I died. I'm dead now, and it was totally worth it.) What's more, for a fee they will totally take you for a ride in the Batcopter. Pass the Shark Repellant Bat-Spray, Robin! I spoke with the matriarch of the Nock family, Jessica (a true superwoman with 6 kids and a thriving business), and instantly felt how much love they have for what they do:
"We just decided to create a real moving museum that we would take to events - comic cons, live fairs - and have a real moving museum. So we bring these vehicles, true Americana history, we bring it out to the public. So, we share it. We don't keep it cooped up in a museum. We like to bring it out."
This is the first time I've personally seen these guys at a convention, and I truly don't know why they're not at all of them. It was a dream come true to be able to get into those vehicles, and I hope everyone gets a chance to do the same one day!

Gillian and I totally look like Gotham's Angels! (Lots more photos in the Vendor Album below)
It was about half-way through day 2 of PCC that Gillian and I realized that the majority of our disappointment from the first day was our own fault. Sure, it was hot and the layout wasn't ideal, but that's not what we go to conventions for. We go to have fun and be surrounded by like-minded people. We go to meet awesome guests, and enjoy experiences we would otherwise never have. That's exactly what we got out of Pensacola Comic Convention once we relaxed, let go of our expectations, and let ourselves run around and be silly fangirls again!

The Dark Side brought cookies!

Now, here are some of the stand-out vendors I found:

Paracon '15 Vendors
...and, of course, I found some great cosplay too!

Paracon '15 Cosplay

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