XCon World VII

This May brought two things to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina: lots of motorcycle riders for Biker Week, and lots of fans of comics, sci-fi, fantasy, zombies, and more for XCon World VII.  Since I'm a huge geek (who's also terrified of riding a motorcycle), I spent the past three days immersed in the area's annual slice of fandom delights.
XCon World VII was set up largely as the past few conventions were.  Almost everything happened in the central area, with an screening room off the main room for movies and a tent outside for panels.  There were lots of booths for comic books, statues, stores (like Medieval Times, MagiQuest, and the Hard Rock Cafe), artists, costumers, and more.  A semi-local gaming group had a table and ran demos through the convention.  There were celebrities, such as: Richard Hatch, from Battlestar Galactica; Ming Chen, Michael Zapcic and Bryan Johnson, from Comic Book Men; Sam J. Jones, star of 1980's Flash Gordon; Olivia Olson and Jessica DiCicco, who do voices on Adventure Time; and Soni Aralynn, a costumer and cosplayer who posed with me:
There were other attractions as well.  Little kids could play in a Bouncy Castle, while bigger kids could thrill at seeing full-size versions of the Ecto-1 from Ghostbusters, the Mystery Machine from Scooby Doo, a Dalek rolling around the convention, and the Batmobile from the 1960s tv show Batman.

There were lots of panels and interactive events happening through the convention.  Panels included a Zombie Apocalypse Prep Class, getting an independent comic book made through Kickstarter, a Wrestling Q&A, and even some Nerd Church on Sunday morning.  People could also participate in the Geek Dating Game, the Nerd Trivia Game (I won against my two opponents!), or battling with foam weapons or medieval weaponry.

Geeks have been dominating movies and television, and it's no surprise that pop culture affected a lot of fan costuming.  There were numerous characters based on Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Frozen, and The Amazing Spider-Man 2.  Classic characters like Wonder Woman, Catwoman, and different versions of the Doctor mingled with folks from Teen Titans Go!, Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead.  And since Deathstroke has been the main villain on Arrow, it's no surprise that multiple versions of him were at XCon World VII.

Change is inevitable from year to year at the convention -- this year there were a lot fewer t-shirt sellers and a lot more vendors with bootleg dvds -- but, alas, some of the problems with XCon World remained.  There were no classrooms or sealed areas for panels, resulting in a lot of noise pollution either from being surrounded up on the main stage, or from passing traffic in the outside tent.  With only two areas for panels, there wasn't that much offered, resulting in a lot less time picking where to go and a lot more time circling the convention floor.  Instead of spending the whole day there, you could pick one or two panels of interest, go around the convention area once or twice, and be done for the day in just a few hours.

But even with those flaws, XCon World VII was still pretty fun.  I talked to a lot of interesting people, I loved the costumes (not to mention that this was the first time I saw people dressed as Jesus and a piece of watermelon), and I look forward to going there next year.  Probably not on a motorcycle, though...

Written by James Lynch

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