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Planet Comicon

Planet Comicon KC is the one of the largest pop culture and comic book convention in the US, certainly the biggest in the area. The first Planet Comicon KC was held in 1999 but I didn't get involved till 2014 when I heard they were looking for volunteers for their growing event. It is now a three-day extravaganza attended by tens of thousands of fans from across the country. Planet Comicon KC features the best in comic books, as well as fantasy, sci fi and superhero television and film. Since I've been involved it's been held in downtown Kansas City, near the Power & Light District.

As a volunteer there are a lot of different ways to be involved. The entry level position most anyone who is willing to commit to a schedule can get is as a "Minion". Like the little guys from the Despicable Me movies there are a lot of us and we are the foot soldiers that do everything from guide guests through lines and and sell merchandise at the info booth to run tabletop games and handle celebrities in the green room. Availability of roles vary depending on how long you've been doing it or who you know in scheduling. Each group of minions reports to a Superhero that is responsible for an area like the convention hall, food handlers, entertainment, or the Esports arena. Each Superhero has a Sidekick who serves kind of as a supervisor to oversee the logistics while the Superhero (from my observation) walks around glad handling and dealing with political issues.

Depending on how much you volunteer you will be awarded a pass or passes to enjoy the con on your own or with a +1. I used to sign up for Thursday (setup), Friday and Sunday so I could go on Saturday with the family. Saturday is the busiest day as a lot of folks will be there and it's the day most celebrities' are available. Sunday's they end early but a lot of vendors will discount items so it's a good time to swing by and pick up that thing you weren't sure about on your 1st (~4th) pass. Changes in 2019 require you to work Saturday to get the 3 day pass though so I had to get creative on the timing but it still saved me from having to buy two ~$100 passes.

When it comes to area availability I've tried to jump around and sample all the different positions having helped with line control, the green room, the board game library, convention halls and minion check-in among others. My biggest moments as a minion were shooting the breeze with Alice Cooper and Alan Tudyk (both high quality people).

While walking the convention floor solo and with my family I have seen a diverse array of pop culture represented by statues, robots, cosplayers and/or booths. Among the notable (to me/ones I remember right now) franchises I've seen are Star Wars, Marvel, Dr Who, Ghostbusters, Disney, Star Trek, The Walking Dead, G.I. Joe, Harry Potter, DC Comics, TMNT and a whole slough of anime and video games I know next to nothing about. It is a paradise for nerds like me, awe inspiring for kids (and adults) and a dangerous place to have money because you will want to spend all you have on you and more.

As with most things the 2020 con got postponed, postponed then canceled and the 2021 con has already been shoved back from it's normal Spring slot to the early fall. I've enjoyed seeing memories pop up on Facebook the last couple weeks but it's making me anxious for these types of things to return to the world. Fingers crossed 2021 yields a successful Planet Comicon for the nerds of the Midwest to enjoy!

4/28/2021

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