Memphis Comic and Fantasy Convention 2013

I figure I should take a break from the game-centric stuff to nerd out about the Memphis Comic and Fantasy Convention.  This will be a long post, but I hope I’m not too boring.  So, without further ado, let’s get started.  Hoo hah!

Hubbles surprised me with tickets to the Memphis Comic and Fantasy Convention – MCFC for short – a few months ago, and I am so glad he did.  It was held this past weekend and, even though it was kind of small, it was really fun.  We attended a few panels, ate sushi, bought Christmas presents, and did some other stuff.  By “other stuff,” I’m specifically referring to when we met Jess Harnell.  You may not recognize his name right off the bat, but you’ll recognize his voice:

Yup. Wakko freaking Warner!  I can’t begin to say how excited I was, so I’ll let you judge for yourself.

Jess was really friendly, and I envy his people skills nearly as much as his talent.  Also he has amazing hair.  It was difficult to stop myself from digging into it with both hands.  I almost couldn’t contain myself when he agreed to take a creepy face picture with me for the tumblr my sister and I share.  Guys.  His hair was right there.

jess harnell, wakko warner, voice actor, creepy face a day, katy bug, wildblueyoshi

He didn’t hesitate for a second to take this weirdo picture with me, and it turned out perfectly.  Except that my teeth and eyebrows really freak me out.  Fun fact:  I was sick this weekend.  Man, I hope I didn’t give Mr. Harnell my cold.  His voice is his job, so the stakes are pretty high.  (Click the photo to go directly to this picture’s post on the Creepy Face A Day tumblr.)

This was really special for me because Wakko has always been near and dear to my heart.  For a detailed explanation, click the pic above to go to my post on tumblr.  For the quick and dirty, single paragraph rendition, here it is:

I was “the weird kid” growing up, and sometimes I felt uncomfortable with that.  Watching characters like Wakko, who were one hundred percent okay with being weirdos, made me feel a little better about who I am.  Wakko was loveable because of his weirdness.  Why couldn’t I love weird little Katy Bug?  Essentially, Wakko gave me a confidence boost.  Meeting the man who voiced my cartoon confidence booster, and seeing that he’s really nice and happy to interact with fans, was awesome.

Besides meeting Jess, we also got to see him perform live as both a voice actor and a singer.  (A video of the singing bit is further down.)

Apparently there is a tradition at MCFC where some folks get together and perform a live cartoon.  Yes, really.  This one, called “Commander Currency:  Revenge of the Extortioner,” wasn’t fully animated.  That would be an insane feat to pull off with live voice acting, so a storyboard was presented instead.  What’s extra cool about the storyboard thing is that their artists were kids from elementary, middle, and high schools in the area.  What a neat way to get kids interested in art!

For “Commander Currency,” which was created by a fourth grader (!), Jess and other actors whose names I can’t remember because I’m a bad person provided voices and sound effects as the storyboard played.  It was about a superhero who charges for his good deeds and lands in a tough spot as a result.

Before the cartoon, Jess spoke a little about voice acting and creating the right voice for a character.  (Did you know that Wakko’s voice is a high pitched Ringo Starr impression?  Mind blown.)  Then he presented some options for Commander Currency’s voice and the audience voted on which option we wanted him to use.  Lo and behold, the Bill Cosby impression won!  It actually worked really well and resulted in hilarious Jell-O pudding jokes.

Cats were involved in the story, too, which I loved because obviously.

cat, kitty, maine coon, ginger, ibsen, long hair, american longhair

Very obviously, according to Ibsen.

Everyone who was involved with Commander Currency, including the young artists, signed posters for the audience members. I plan to frame ours eventually.

wildblueyoshi, commander currency, memphis comic and fantasy convention, memphiscfc, mcfc, con, cartoon, live cartoon, voice acting

Now imagine that tagline as stated by Bill Cosby, and you’ll have some impression of how entertaining the whole thing was.

Besides the Commander Currency autographs, Mr. Harnell signed a Rock Sugar CD for us.  (Relevant because he is the lead singer for Rock Sugar.)  The CDs are expensive on Amazon and ebay, but they were only $20 at the convention.  Score!  I would post a picture of our signed copy, but it has our names on it.  Hubbles would NOT be pleased if I exposed his name without first obtaining his written permission.  I married a dude who is as paranoid as I am, which surprisingly prevents more fights than it causes.

Other than all this, there were some great performances by local bands.  I really liked the V Is for Villains music, but it was too loud for my sinus headache. I had to sit outside the ballroom and listen to their performance.  Boo headaches!  Luckily, I felt well enough in time for the Memphis School of Rock concert – guest starring Jess Harnell, of course. They were really, really, really good.

I expected the School of Rock concert to be more of an “Awww, how cute!” experience than a “That was badass” experience, but holy crap was I wrong.  Jess said in a Q&A session beforehand that he hadn’t rehearsed with the School of Rock and had no idea if it would be “really good or really cute.”  Believe me when I say that it was really good and that the kids in the band handled the show like champs.  Jess didn’t join until the second half, but the first half was just as good.  I really liked their performance of “Smells Like Teen Spirit.”

Their last song was “Don’t Stop Believin'” by Journey, one of my personal favorites.  Here’s a video of it.  We’re in the audience, but I couldn’t spot us when the camera spun around at the end of the video.  Oh, well.  Rest assured that we were rocking out!

Meeting Jess Harnell was absolutely worth the price of admission, but I need to show off some cosplay, too!  Naturally, I wanted to cosplay as Wakko, but I couldn’t find the right pieces for it.  I couldn’t even find a light blue turtleneck, for crying out loud!  On top of that, I only got pictures of a few cosplays – I suffered from annoyingly painful shyness on top of the nasty cold most of the weekend – but they’re cute ones.

Full disclosure:  I forgot to get the first two cosplayers’ names or contact info.  I am a forgetful face meaniepants.  If you are one of these cosplayers, feel free to leave your name and twitter handle.  Tumblr pages are also acceptable.  And, if you want, I can email or tweet the original, unedited images to you.  Just say the word, bird.

On to the cosplay!

wildblueyoshi, cosplay, blue yoshi, memphis comic and fantasy convention, mcfc, memphiscfc, super mario world

I flipped over this first one for obvious reasons. The blue yoshi is her favorite, too, so we’re like kindred spirits… One half of which knows nothing about the other and feels awful about it.  In any case, I told her she would love the name of my website.  Her reaction to my business card was highly gratifying.

wildblueyoshi, cosplay, super mario world, boo, ghost, memphis comic and fantasy convention, mcfc, memphiscfc

In Super Mario World, some of the ghosts will chase Mario when he faces away from them. If Yoshi were allowed into the ghost houses, the ghosts would probably treat him the same way.

wildblueyoshi, cosplay, super mario world, boo, ghost, surprise!, memphis comic and fantasy convention, mcfc, memphiscfc

I couldn’t resist!  When Mario faces the ghosts, they immediately stop and cover their eyes.  It’s adorable and adds an interesting element to the gameplay.

wildblueyoshi, cosplay, the last of us, ellie, PS3, memphis comic and fantasy convention, mcfc, memphiscfc

Okay, I got her name: Cassie. (I hope that’s how she spells it.)  She’s cosplaying Ellie from The Last of Us.  It’s a spot-on cosplay, but we didn’t realize who she was at first.  We don’t have a PS3 and haven’t played The Last of Us.  Sad day!

Cassie there actually looks a LOT like my little sister-in-law, Rebecca. We had a “Wtf?” moment when we saw Cassie because we thought she was Rebecca!  You can look at the pictures in my last post to see for yourself.  The resemblance is uncanny.

Then we bought stuff.  Some things are Christmas presents so I can’t show them.  I can, however, show you this one print I bought for myself.

spiderman, venom, om nom nom, musetap, prints, comic books

Other than Doc Ock, Venom and Carnage are probably my favorite Spiderman villains. I couldn’t not get this. Eventually, I’ll frame it and hang it in my half of the office.

This is by Musetap.  They had a lot of really nice prints, and you should check them out.  Here’s their Etsy shop:  Musetap on Etsy.  I also linked the image above to their shop.

When we weren’t doing all this stuff, we were chatting with authors or playing Pokémon.  Hubbles made a lot of new Pokémon friends, whereas I remained a Pokémon hermit.  There was a video game room, but I only played one game of Super Smash Brothers Melee for GameCube.  I, ever the nostalgic retro gamer, thought it was great that a few older game consoles were there.  However, since I typically feel awkward playing video games with or in front of strangers who may be much more skilled than I am, I spent very little time in the game room.

That pretty well covers it all.  We had a great weekend!  I wish we had the time and money to attend more cons, but it’s hard to go wrong with a weekend like this one.

Have you gone to a con before?  Have you been to any of the big ones, like Comic Con or Dragon Con?  If so, I am jealous and want to hear all your great con stories in the comments.

Speaking of conventions!  We’re planning to attend the last Invader Zim themed convention, called InvaderCON III:  FINAL DOOM.  It will be next July.  We’ll get to eat waffles in the same room as Richard Horvitz and Rikki Simons!  The whole thing started as a Kickstarter, which is where we got our tickets.  But!  Tickets will go on sale for the public in December or January.  Invader Zim fans should jump on this opportunity because there will not be another InvaderCON!

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