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We embarked on our journey at 8:00 am. The odd duo of a comic book geek and a professional cosplayer. Our destination Puerto Rico convention center, in San Juan. Our objective, Puerto Rico ComicCon. It’s an unlikely event given that this is not a place renown for big comic conventions; in fact this is the second annual convention of this magnitude. Last year the con did not have a good publicity run, it was the first time that a convention was done in a big venue. The truth of the matter was nobody knew if this was going to work.
That first year a legion of pop culture fans came to the rescue. It was good enough that the organizers decided to do it again. They tried to make things right by getting better publicity, more guest and more interactive events. Unfortunately, this time around the date was for May, 21 2011, the so called "end of the world". Everybody joked about the end of the world but the seeds of doubt were already implanted in everybody's hearts. This could mean trouble for the convention. Will people care enough to go? If you knew it was your last day on Earth, would you spend it in a comic book convention, with four main guests, a variety of merchandise and a lot of activities to entertain the geeks?
I didn't care and neither did my friend. We headed to San Juan even though it was a three hour drive and it might be the end of everything we once knew. One: I wanted to get some comics and maybe some autographs. Second: my pal wanted to show off his awesome Stormtrooper outfit. We got there like the Blues Brothers on a mission from God. We were going to spend, Saturday and Sunday in what could be a slow and sad comic convention.
(My pal & convention partner Mr. PRTrooper)
What we found was a sea of people waiting to get in. We finally got into the event and my pal found close to three hundred other cosplayers, yes competition was big for him. For me, well it means I had to fight my way to the booths between the thousands of people there. The booths were dominated by action figures, t-shirts, Anime and some Manga. The comics were in a minimum, I have most of the stuff and some I didn't care for. I saw a laser tag arena and it tempted me into playing but I didn't want to play with a bunch of little kids, mostly because of fear that they might beat me.
My friend was having the time of his life as he was stopped every five seconds so that people could take his picture. I saw a lot of local comic books and I notice that the talent here is growing every year. This time around the convention offered fans Q & As, tutorials, short film festival, anime theater and a lot of promotional stuff among other things. They gave me a cool Green Lantern movie poster. I went to Doug Jones' Q & A, the man knew how to entertain an audience, it was a fascinating look at his career and by the end of the Q & A you couldn't help but feel happy because of his contagious positive personality. He is probably the nicest human being in the planet.
Larry Hama and his anecdotes served as a great insight on the industry. His tales of editorial blunders and his origins in comics, were educational and helpful to fans who really want to get into the comic book business. The man has a lot of experience a lot of people could have learned a lot from him, it’s too bad he didn't pack the house. I did enjoy more of the activities and by the end of the day my friend didn't win his cosplaying competition, but we left with a feeling that this was the best con we had ever been to.
The next day a friend of a friend showed Margot Kidder (Lois Lane) an amazing painting of her and Superman, she was so surprised and amazed by this so much that it became a beautiful fan moment. I went to Johnny Bosch's Q&A he had a full house, he was pretty cool, fans were screaming with excitement whenever he did something from his voice work. I'm not a big anime fan or Power Rangers but after this Q&A I can say he won me over as a fan. My friend the Stormtrooper, discovered that his photo was the one gracing the national newspaper. This was better than winning the competition as he felt he achieved his goal. I got an autograph and a free sketch from Tom Beland, from True Story Swear To God another nice creator and a adoptive son to this island. I met a couple of local creators. Got myself some goodies and grab a couple pics. It was a good day, I wished I could stay but I was too tired and I'm going to work the next morning.
We said good bye to our friends and when we got close to the exit, we heard the organizer say, “Its official, next year we are moving to the bigger venue!” I looked back and although it didn't offer a lot of comics and it was only four main guests, I couldn’t help but feel like we won something. Just like my friend, our PR Comic Con had achieved its goal and it wasn't the end of the world, but perhaps the beginning of something new.