Sunday, May 22, 2022

I Survived Orlando MegaCon 2022, I Hope

It's been awhile since I've done one of these blog reports from the cosplay front lines, hasn't it?

A major reason has been, well, from 2020 until now it's been insanely unsafe to host a massive crowded shindig due to this little thing called the COVID-19 GLOBAL PANDEMIC. Skipping 2019 may have been by choice - I recall that year there were no major celebrities that interested me to attend - but 2020 and 2021 were not.

Even going to THIS year's MegaCon ran the risks because 1) Not everyone is yet vaccinated, especially in Florida and 2) There is yet another uptick in COVID cases due to a new variant spawning again.

And yet, even with the vax and the boosts, even with some assurance that if I do catch COVID it - knock on wood - won't be dangerous to me (I have several health risks, I decided this year to go.

So hold onto yer steampunk hats, kiddos, there's a ton of photos and videos to document the atrocities!

Just because 90 percent of the attendees weren't masked,
didn't mean I had go unmasked. I'm still trying to observe
the niceties, thank you.

 This year's MegaCon was not at the West Concourse but the North/South building. It made for an odd alignment of space - the middle area for the vendors and artists/celebrities, the North Concourse for certain events and promotions, and the South Concourse for cosplaying and other events - meant you had to run back and forth if you wanted to partake of one event and then another.

The line to get in, after the outdoor line to get tickets, which
this year involved getting a sensor badge for some reason, and involved
jumping through 5-8 more hoops than usual to get things verified.

Always taking pictures of the escalator lines to show the variety
of cosplay at work. Saturdays are the big costume contest days,
so LOTS of cosplay...

It's R2-D2!
Always rolling the comic con like a pimp.

The local Lego fan club setup with their models and
cityscapes, complete with working trains!

The cosplay area on the Third Floor of the South Concourse.
One of the hardest parts of the con to reach, and difficult
to walk through once it got packed with cosplayers.

One of the many cosplay groups - this one the DC villains
(with maybe Beast Boy?).

The Lego room got busier as the day progressed.

One of the big draws of any Con: The celebrity autographs
and photo lines. It's difficult to even get close enough in these lines
to see who the celebrity is, for this line it's Dante Brasco!
(pause) Zuko. (pause) You never watched Avatar? NO, NOT 
(sigh) Rufio from that Robin Williams
Hook movie, okay?

 This was around 12:00 PM. Saturdays are usually the busiest of any weekend Comic Con.

In a nice personal surprise, I had found out my nephews
Tommy (right) and Drew (middle) had gotten their own tickets to attend MegaCon
on their own (they are now in college!!!) (Guy on the left is Drew's friend Garrett).
I had worried that I had dragged them to the Tampa Bay Con years ago,
but it turns out they liked the experience and wanted to visit the Orlando
one. Nephew Drew (middle) is even in cosplay this time, can you guess
which character/movie he's cosplaying?

Back up at the Third Floor Cosplay Zone,
this time all the Scarlet Witches are gathered
to promote THE MULTIVERSE!!!

You don't see that many winged cosplay, so when I saw that
redbird outfit I rushed to get a picture from the escalator.
I should have gone back around to get a closer pic.

All that walking since 8:30AM and by 2:30PM I was a mess.
Dammit, MegaCon, where are the benches
to help a tired old fart rest???

There weren't that many Q+A sessions this year, so this one by
Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti was a treat!

Taken by 6:30PM, as I was waiting for the
Jay and Silent Bob show at 7:30PM.
This is where most of the Con begins to shut down
for the day... and half of everybody was
heading out before the thunderstorms rolled in!

One of the draws this year was an evening performance by Kevin Smith and Jason Mewes, better known as Jay (Mewes) and Silent Bob (Smith). It's something my brother Phil enjoys, so I offered to buy him a ticket for the evening event. There were headaches involving the reality the special event was separate from the comic con, but I got them straightened out by the time Phil showed up at the door. Still this was more complicated than it needed to be, con organizers... 

Brother Phil, proof of life that he was here for
the chronicles of Bluntman and Chronic!

One of the pains of any comic con: The waiting is the hardest part. Coordinating scheduled events to cope with any emergencies - or the overwhelming size of crowds that packed MegaCon as a return to post-pandemic normalcy - meant the scheduled start of the show (7:30PM) didn't happen. The autograph lines for the View Askew 'Verse cast - especially for Smith and Mewes - were longer than expected, so they were caught wrapping that up so as not to offend those fans. But that meant the fans at the show were stuck.

This was actually the cleanest the restless crowd had gotten during
the hour-long wait. When you got a crowd that grew up on 30 years
of dick and pot jokes, some of the antics could get pretty risque.

The MegaCon organizers did what they could to appease the masses, with a couple of giveaway contests and a brief trivia quiz that surprisingly stumped a lot of people. But finally, after the autographs were done... Jason had to go pee and Kevin had to go unwind (let's just say it was a herbal relaxant and keep it at that, trust me it was for medicinal purposes!). THEN, we finally got the show we waited for.

Jason Mewes and Kevin Smith!

As always, it was Kevin spending half the night extolling his fellow Hollywood celebs and being a genius storyteller (some people have a fcking knack for it), with the second half of the show turned into a Jay and Silent Bob script read for a comic short story, where they brought up volunteers to use weird-ass voice impressions. All I can tell about that is one guy voiced his character like Forrest Gump to huge laughs, the woman voice did a decent Southern drawl, a second guy did a brilliant Scottish brogue, and then they called up a third guy who, Gods help us, nailed a Walken impression for the ages. IT BETTER BE ON THE DAMN PODCAST, KEVIN.

By then, it was 10:30PM, long fcking day, I dropped Brother Phil off at the hotel - he was sticking around for a Sunday breakfast with the nephews - and I braved the I-4 traffic to make it home and feed the kittehs.

Actually surviving the whole day, getting home by 12:05AM
just so Mal could hit me in the face with his tail.

There ye have it, fair mortals. What do ye think?

Should I brave the Tampa Bay Comic Con later this August (That is, if I haven't caught COVID at this one? We'll see in 5-12 days...)?


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