2017 Amazing Las Vegas Comic Con Balances Fandom and Flash
The fifth year of the Amazing Las Vegas Comic Con (ALVCC) balanced comic book core and guest star flash, integrating celebrity guests and panels into its programming without diminishing its focus on comic book fandom.
An undeniable success for both organizers and fans, the 2017 ALVCC hosted its largest crowd to date at the Las Vegas Convention Center, with attendance estimated at over 33,000. Over its short existence, ALVCC has established a reputation as a comic fan’s convention, focusing on the artists, writers, and creators that drive the comic book industry. For this year’s convention, they complemented their comics-first focus with a strong array of celebrity guests anchored by the legendary Stan Lee.
Where some geek conventions tend to let the celebrity guests take precedence over creators and fans – often to the detriment of the creators and their projects – ALVCC’s guests and programming artfully bolstered their primary goal: the celebration of comic books and geek culture. The “Batman ‘66” panel featured stars of the 1966 Batman television series in a tribute to their show and the late, great Adam West. Peter Mayhew (Star Wars’ Chewbacca) headlined a tribute panel to the cultural force that is Star Wars. Ray Park’s (Star Wars’ Darth Maul) panel included a mock showdown with an impeccably-costumed Darth Maul cosplayer. And in addition to the aforementioned Stan Lee, panels featuring more recent comic book legends Rob Liefeld (Deadpool, Youngblood) and Todd McFarlane (Spawn) offered insight and stories about the industry and creative process of comic books.
Away from the Main Stage, highlights from the 2017 ALVCC included Garage FX’s cosplay prop booth and its life-sized Spawn mecha, Projekt Cars’ trio of Spawn-themed custom vehicles, Maximum Comics’ yearly carnival-esque merchandise and mini-game booth, and a walk-in Tardis that was bigger on the inside. Some of the notable creators this year included Sandy King Carpenter and James Ninness (both from the upcoming John Carpenter’s Tales of Science Fiction), Mat Nastos (Fanboyed, Man With the Iron Heart, Phineas & Ferb), and Bonnie Gordon and Xander Jeanneret of The Library Bards.
By the end of its 3-day run, the 2017 ALVCC remained a convention focused on the artists, writers, and creators that are the heart and soul of this particular fandom. Comic books, toys, and collectibles may have owned the center of the convention floor, and the main stage saw a steady progression of industry luminaries, but the robust display of mainstream and independent talent remained the true hallmark of ALVCC, allowing fans both young and old to explore and discover new creations. This year’s convention featured a strong lineup of guests, but their focus on the fandom and the creators is what will allow them to remain the premier comic convention in Las Vegas for years to come.