OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — Bounty hunters, droids and space explorers descended on Planet Comicon last weekend for the annual comics and sci-fi show.
Thousands of fans attended the gathering, which headlined Jeremy Bulloch, the British actor who played bounty hunter Boba Fett in “The Empire Strikes Back” and “Return of the Jedi.”
Alaina Huffman of “Stargate Universe” and “Smallville” appeared at the convention, and spoke to fans at a panel.
Huffman plays Tamara Johansen in the series, which is nearing its end, but says she didn’t get any souvenirs from the set.
“They have not struck our set. They really would like to finish up with a movie, so all of our sets are still standing,” she said.
A fan asked if she would like the Stargate itself, which allows rapid transport to Stargates at distant locations.
“I want two of them,” she said, laughing. “You can’t go anywhere with one. … Our gate is really spectacular … it really lights up. It really makes that loud, obnoxious noise.”
The convention itself was filled with lights and noise, as fans dueled with light sabers and crowded dealer booths looking for bargains.
Writers and artists from Marvel Comics, DC Comics and other publishers converged, with more than 40 creators in attendance. Writer/artist Phil Hester (“Firebreather”), who writes “Wonder Woman” for DC Comics, said he’s been attending Planet Comicon for nearly two decades.
“This might be my 19th year at Planet Comicon,” Hester said at the “DC Unleashed” panel at the event.
In an interview before the show, Hester talked about the rise of convention culture. Hester said in addition to the large shows including Comic-Con International in San Diego, he also attends several regional Midwestern shows.
“It’s really strange, it’s one of the real riddles of the comic-book market,” Hester said. “Readership is kind of diminishing, but convention attendance is exploding.”
Hester said Emerald City Comicon in Seattle, which he attended, has gone from about 3,000 attendees about five years ago to 25,000 this year. Comic-Con International attendance has grown from less than 50,000 in 2000 to more than 130,000 in 2010.
Diamond Comic Book Distributors, North America’s largest distributor of comic books, reported comic book sales to specialty shops were down 3.59 percent in 2010.
“I’m sure it has something to do with comic books making their way into television and movies, but it’s a weird conundrum to see sales drop off like they have, but comics enter the larger media more readily,” Hester said.
- Matthew Price
From Friday’s The Oklahoman