OVERLAND PARK, Kansas — Thousands of fans showed up for what could have been the most heavily attended Planet Comicon ever. The event, held since 1999 in Overland Park, Kan., is the area’s largest comics and pop culture show.
An additional atrium area at the Overland Park International Trade Center was added for panel seating this year, and it was put to good use, as 500-plus fans packed the room to standing room only for a panel featuring Billy Dee Williams, who played Lando Calrissian in “The Empire Strikes Back” and “Return of the Jedi.”
“Lando Calrissian has been good to me,” Williams told the gathered crowd. Williams talked about his acting career, which included an Emmy-nominated role in the TV movie “Brian’s Song,” and his painting, found online at www.bdwworldart.com.
He said his work on the “Star Wars” saga began with a meeting with Irvin Kershner about the Lando role in “The Empire Strikes Back.”
“We had a real good rapport, and that’s how it all began,” he said.
The show featured a variety of other TV and movie stars, including Erin Gray and Gil Gerard from “Buck Rogers in the 25th Century”; Edward James Olmos from “Battlestar Galactica” and Amy Okuda and Robin Thorsen from “The Guild.”
There were plenty of comics creators at the show for fans to meet, with artists including Tim Sale (“Batman: The Long Halloween”), Ben Templesmith (“30 Days of Night”), Don Rosa, Dan Parent and Nathan Fox (“Haunt”). Writers on hand included Jason Aaron (“Wolverine and the X-Men”), Dennis Hopeless (“X-Men: Season One”), B. Clay Moore, Gary Friedrich and many more.
Oklahomans were well-represented in the comics creator contingent at Planet Comicon. Writers and artists from the Sooner State on hand included Scott Sackett, Jerry Bennett, Mike Kennedy, Charles Martin, JM Fowler and Don Rosencrans.
Planet Comicon continues from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday.
- Matt Price