Monday, May 21, 2012

Motor City Comic Con: A testament to the growth of the comic con

It was a weekend jam-packed with comics, costumes, crowds, cool stars of classic TV, rockin' star cars, and chance encounters with friends and more-than-friends and assorted others old and new. That about sums it up. But amid the scantily clad, tattoo'ed Harley Quinn and legions of "Star Wars" and "Star Trek" characters, we also saw a powerful demonstration of something else: The rise of the comic con.

The Motor City Comic Con at the Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi, Michigan, over this past weekend sparkled with excitement and nothing short of pure magic all day Saturday -- and Friday and Sunday weren't bad, either. In fact, on Saturday it was so jam-packed of people itself that we wondered if the joint was going to be shut down for fire code. Maybe we were just thinking of that 2008 Dukesfest in Nashville, where far more showed up to the party than anticipated and that fire code thing did factor in, but heck, we'd never seen a line around the building to get tickets hours into the Motor City show's Saturday opening.

The delicious Dean Cain of "Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman" might have seemed a bit big for a con, still, but perhaps that's just the nature of this show and others like it around the country these days. Cons used to be "up" for some and "down" for others, but now they're just plain big business. And with the San Diego event going so mainstream and pop-culture phenomena like "The Big Bang Theory," we all know that geeky has been far more cool in recent years.

Take the stunning Audrey Horne of "Twin Peaks," a character we fairly worshiped, and Sherilyn Fenn's career since David Lynch's masterpiece was on the air has not been shabby. But there she was, chatting at her table, more than approachable in her skinny jeans and high-heeled wedgies, and it wasn't "down" for her, either -- just the nature of how our entertainment world changes over time.

And, of course, you had the con's regular natural assets, like the lovely Dawn Wells of "Gilligan's Island," posing in one of the two original screen-used Monkeemobiles, which is owned by Mel of Metro Detroit (and featured in previous posts on this blog). Wells is wonderfully vibrant and full of life. We've seen her at these cons for so many years, and she seems to thrive in this environment, continually cracking jokes and finding a rapport with everyone who approaches her table. She was the last of the celebs to leave on Sunday evening.

Photo ops could be found in all sorts of places, even with celebs hunting down their own ops, like Felix Silla of "Buck Rogers in the 25th Century" and "The Addams Family." Below, Dwight Schultz of "The A-Team" and Nichelle Nichols of "Star Trek" sign for fans.

Billy Dee Williams, whom we know, of course, as Brady Lloyd on "Dynasty," did a panel discussion on Sunday with his son, Corey Dee Williams, and fellow "Star Wars" alum Stephen Costantino. Watch for some video of that on the BRBTV YouTube channel.

BRB got to chat again with the amazing Yvonne Craig, TV's Batgirl. She interviewed Craig a decade ago for The Detroit News in advance of her Motor Show appearance, and at the time Craig was just finishing up her book, "From Ballet to the Batcave and Beyond." This time around, in this new age of the con, the appearance of Craig and others of her classic TV fame was splashed across both of Detroit's dailies and other local print media. TV cams of all varieties were at the show all weekend.

Peter Tork of the Monkees prepares for an interview with local TV, above, and talks to the owner of this amazing original car, Mel.

And speaking of interviews and TV cams, Billie Rae Bates of BRBTV was part of the action, too, doing some interviews with con guests for local Detroit television. Stay tuned for more on that, and where you'll be able to watch 'em ...

Photos by Billie Rae Bates / BRBTV
with the exception of photo of BRB and Yvonne Craig, by Meridel
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