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The Asian ApertureTampa Bay Comic Con 2014: Con Report
POSTED BY JASON FETTERS, August 9, 2014    Share

Day one on Friday, August 1st, I was up and ready for Tampa Bay Comic Con at 5am. Following a shower and a quick oatmeal breakfast, I was driving on Bayshore Blvd just after 7. I was nervous because this was my debut as a Panelist. I parked at the covered garage not knowing what to expect, all I knew was that I had to find the table to collect my VIP pass. I sat outside in the hot sun waiting for the con to begin. Some artists with their teacher was drawing quick sketches of cosplayers.

Sometime around 10, I wander around trying to follow my map. I asked two police officers and multiple security guards before stumbling to the right table. Scarlet, my partner in crime, was waiting for me. She also had arrive early. Now it was a big task getting inside. A long line snaked down the riverfront with fans chanting, ďLet us in!!Ē Total chaos in the August heat. I heard somewhere that crimes happen and people go nuts when the temperature reaches 92 and higher.

Scarlet and I had to run back to the parking garage, up a driveway, to get to the loading dock, the only place we could get inside early. I walked into the dealerís room as different vendors raced around preparing for the masses.

It was so nice to walk inside the Tampa Convention Center before the attendees. It was like walking around in an episode of The Walking Dead. There was also this nice feeling that we were all part of this and not just attending. Even though it was early, I wanted to check our room, number 24. I brought my laptop with me and wanted to make sure there was an HDMI hookup for the projector. I didnít find the right cable so I wander around until I found Staff who called IT for me. Then I headed back to the room to wait.

IT showed up and brought a HDMI cable and adjusted the focus on the projector so my images appeared clearly. With that out of the way it was time to enjoy Comic Con. I took my time checking out the dealerís room that first day. Then I took a few pictures and then it was time to find a chair and rest up before my 6pm panel.

While I was resting I heard a loud siren blasting and looked up to see survivalists with toy guns coming down the escalator with zombies chasing. This is the closest I will ever get to feeling like I was inside the Monroeville Mall in the original Dawn of the Dead.

6pm came quick and 20-minutes before I was inside room 24 setting up. I had dragged my laptop with me for hours. Then Scarlet and I started our panel called A Brief History of Anime in the US. I talked about growing up an anime fan in the late 70ís because of Battle of the Planets in South Tampa, when there just wasnít a lot of fans. I rushed through the panel and had a lot of time left.

The room was packed with a hundred people sitting down to listen to me.

Somehow I made it through that first panel and answered a few hard questions from a couple of intense fans.

Then it was all over and I walked outside with two members from Tampa Otaku, Esther and Brian. We walked to Platt St just past Four Green Fields to find the quaint and authentic Japanese restaurant called Nakaya. They have a special menu written in Japanese hanging on the wall and I translated for Esther. I ordered Takoyaki and Katsu Curry rice. Both were great. Maybe it was the heat or I was still nervous because I ate very little and ended up taking home most of my dinner.

Day Two was pretty much the same with our panel on Miyazaki starting at 8:30pm. I forgot my camera and left it at home so I was bummed out about that. However my buddy Kyle took pictures of me with various Star Wars characters and three really cute and adorable cosplay girls. Following the assault at San Diego Comic Con, I was extremely careful not to touch anyone.

Sometime just after 11am, I went to hear Martin Leung perform Video Game music for piano. He started off with the Zelda theme and played Super Mario Brothers for his encore. Martin is fantastic and if you get a chance, go see him.

8:30 finally arrived and we began our panel called Miyazaki Trivia Challenge. It was sat up like Jeopardy with the categories separated by movie titles. It was packed and everyone had a blast. Scarlet provided the prizes based on Miyazaki and each gift was wrapped up in white paper with question marks. The winners got to pick one present from the prize table. The losers got banana stickers. Overall, this panel went well.

Day 3 was beginning to feel like a 9 to 5 job. I was locked into my role as an Entertainer. I must confess that I was getting tired of seeing so many Dead Pool cosplayers and my nerves prevented me from getting enough sleep so I was exhausted. Still I had to stick it out until 1pm for a repeat of our Miyazaki Trivia Challenge. Things were slowing down on Sunday. At 2pm, when my last panel was done. I took a quick stroll for a couple more pictures and then I headed home to collapse.

Tampa Bay Comic Con was so much fun with over 30,000 people and Iím already looking forward to having all new panels for next year. It is a family friendly event and everyone was very nice.

"The Asian Aperture" is ©2014 by Jason Fetters. All contents of Crazed Fanboy are ©2014 by Nolan B. Canova and Terence Nuzum.

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