Small but mighty, this last minute, free, and online event, Mainframe Comic Con, was exactly what the doc (ock) ordered during the COVID-19 pandemic. Since all comic conventions are canceled for the foreseeable future and most comic book shops and other retailers are closed, fans need new ways to interact with and support their favorite artists, writers, actors, cosplayers, etc.
Mainframe Comic Con allowed for just that in a way that truly favored the average person. There may not by hundreds of thousands of viewers watching live (yet) like at real large comic cons like SDCC, but watching your favorite stars being interviewed from their COVID-19 shelters was actually more humanizing and allowed for greater fan interaction. You could see your favorite actress or actor with their pets in their own home and donate a few bucks to have them answer YOUR question live on YouTube, which was an opportunity that would rarely happen at a real convention.
Of course, a lack of physical presence does bar you from bumping into them in real life, but this way you can compose the question you want to ask and ask it. For those of us who are shy and might bumble with our words as we meet a star, the chance to ask a question through a chat was awesome. And the fact that it incentivized giving to charities like the Hero Initiative made it even better. I would happily donate $2.99 to hear Donny Cates talk about the favorite comic story he’s written, and someone did just that. That’s a whole lot cheaper than buying admission to a convention folks!
Members of the SKKAW.BLOG team tuned in for a few panels each day, and we found them truly a great way to take our mind off the intensity of current events. Since this convention was organized so last minute and done online with what technology different people had access to, it makes sense that there would be some technical difficulties, like people not hearing each other for a moment or some lag on moderators. We were able to use YouTube on our smart TVs and phones to watch the panels and it was truly a comfortable experience. We found it endearing to see how people handled those technical glitch situations and didn’t detract from the experience. Seeing people discuss their careers in the comfort of their own space helped cement the fact that these are real people who also have families, pets, and hobbies of their own at home.
If you are reading this and have connections with the people who put on SDCC, please suggest that they host some kind of online event like this. Artists need it, fans need it, we ALL need it.
Now that we’ve described our general experience with our first online comic con, @skkaw and I thought we’d share some highlights/favorite moments.
I really enjoyed my first panel watch with Jami O’Brien, one of the show writers of NOS4A2; Joe Hill, the author of the book; and Jahkara Smith the lead actress who plays Maggie Leigh; and host, Chuck Lindsey. I haven’t seen the show but I am a big Joe Hill fan and watching them talk about the show made me want to check out the show! Jahkara Smith seemed like a super cool human. I loved how she admitted how scared she was since this was her first job. I also liked hearing her relationship with the other lead actress and how their closeness that made it easier to talk about uncomfortable moments during filming. Interesting bit for fans of the show: they brought Joe Hill into the writers room to make season two and he gave them an idea for a whole new character not in the book! And, finally, my favorite moment was when Joe Hill compared Maggie to Hermione Granger addicted to drugs and Vic to Buffy the Vampire Slayer with Vin Diesel’s personality. Now I definitely have to check the show out.
Nathalie seemed like a truly sweet person and so down to earth. Her interview really went from her favorite vegan recipe to possible future projects. I really enjoyed hearing about her journey as Missandei and her take on Daenerys’ madness. I agree with Nathalie, Daenerys obviously went crazy because she lost you! She also said that she would love to play a superhero in the MCU! Apparently, people often fan-cast her as Ironheart? I hope the big execs heard that because I think she would make an awesome addition to the MCU.
Donny Cates and Megan Hutchison
I love Donny Cates and his wife Megan Hutchison and you could tell the interviewer was a huge fanboy for Megan. Sounds like they’ve got a super dark underwater western comic coming out together through Image that should be interesting. I’m personally a fan of Donny’s run of Venom and his comic God Country but he is huge in Marvel right now doing the new run on Silver Surfer and Thor. It was fun to hear Donny talk about some of his super secret upcoming projects. Sounds like he recently posted some artwork from a comic with Geoff Shaw who worked with him God Country and Thanos Wins. This new comic sounds like it is going to be a huge deal. He said that he makes a promise on one of the pages in the first issue that he’s going to keep and that it has huge implications for other comics. Lastly, Donny mentioned that he teased a comic with a boy and a sword that will be an original story with a tie-in to God Country!
Kevin Smith (Note: some Mallrats Sequel spoilers)
Unfortunately, I missed Mainframe Comic Con Day 1, glad Justin was there to cover for us, so I was up bright and early for Day 2. And boy it was worth it. The first guest that they brought up was the legendary Kevin Smith! I have been a fan of Kevin Smith since the days of Mall Rats and the original Clerks movie. Yes, that’s how dated I am haha. But I have to say I believe those movies really defined the 90s geek genre. I remember seeing the Stan Lee cameo in Mall Rats or the eclectic introduction of Jay and Silent Bob into those films. So I was pretty thrilled to see the Kevin Smith interview. For starters, he talked at length about his new Mall Rats sequel (YES!) Twilight of the Mallrats. It’s not surprising that malls are going a thing of the past now with online shopping (no spoiler there) and it seems Kevin is looking into this a strong story arc for the sequel. He also, suggests that there could be some COVID-19 influence in the film. I mean, it does make a lot of sense. Kevin also hinted that you can expect a lot of our original cast of characters (e.g, like Brodie) would be making a re-appearance in the film! I for one can’t wait to go to the cinema at our local mall and to see this film – after they finish filming and all this is over of course!
I like many others am I HUGE Stranger Things fan. I remember binge-watching it for the first time. I think I finished it within the first weekend that it came out! So of course, I was excited to see the David Harbour interview by Chuck Lindsey at Mainframe Comic Con. Chuck Lindsey of Chuck Load of Comics who did an excellent job of interviewing David and we LOVED the virtual hi-five pictured above, nice touch! Aside from sharing a few things about the recent Stranger Things Season 4 filming, David talked about working with Chris Hemsworth in Netflix’s Extraction, how he cannot talk about the BlackWidow movie (of course) and quarantine life in general. I especially liked the Q&A section where someone asked how much of a nerd/geek David is. The answer: he’s one of us for sure! He said he’s done his fair share of painting War Hammer minis, playing D&D and spending hours in World of Warcraft. Also, he said he’s enjoying his new Playstation VR and spending time playing Beat Saber. Lastly, he did talk a little on Stranger Things in general. Like how he did not expect Stranger Things to be that much of a hit show. And, that among all the characters he’s portrayed, Hopper from Stranger things is the one he enjoyed the most playing. Sadly, season 4 was only 4 weeks into filming when the pandemic hit so we may have to wait a little longer for the release! Man, that was a good interview. If we weren’t a fan of David Harbour before I think we all should be fans of him now.
Lamorne Morris, BossLogic, David Dastmalchian and the Robot Chicken Crew
Some of the other highlights from Day 2 include the interviews with Lamorne Morris (New Girl, Bloodshot movie) , Boss Logic, David Dastmalchian, and the Robot Chicken crew!
For starters I didn’t know Lamorne Morris was in the Bloodshot movie and, from the interview, it sounds like his role made a good impact on the movie. I’m familiar with the Bloodshot comics but not necessarily a fan. Now I’m fairly curious and will definitely check it out as part of my quarantine list.
I also enjoyed the interview with BossLogic. If you’re not familiar, BossLogic does some epic art and one of his more recent pieces was his illustration of Dwayne The Rock Johnson as Black Adam. If you haven’t checked it out, go see it here. Also, he called in all the way from Australia and it was 3am his time! I gotta say that’s a dedication as a fan. I’m grateful he made it. I’m now interested to see what he comes up with next.
Another good panel was the interview with David Dastmalchian and the Doctor Fearless (Dark Horse) comic team. I’m a big fan of The Ant-Man and the Dark Knight so it was fun to see David and hear about his comic. To be honest I didn’t even know about Doctor Fearless and from what I heard during this talk I think I just found myself another quarantine read for the list!
Lastly, some icing on the cake was just seeing the Robot Chicken crew and their shenanigans. The interview with them was hilarious and exactly what I needed during quarantine to lift my spirits!
We believe Mainframe Comic Con was a success! Not only was it all for charity, it also brought radical levels of geekiness into our living rooms. Big THANK YOU to the Mainframe Comic Con team for their tireless efforts putting on this online event. We had so much fun following all the interviews and talks. If you weren’t able to see the show, don’t worry. The interwebs have your back. Just search Mainframe Comic Con on YouTube.com (linked here) and you’ll find all the fun documented for your enjoyment!
Did you catch Mainframe Comic Con online? Plan to watch it on YouTube? Let us know what you think int he comments below! Also, for more comic news, reviews and the like, keep following us here at SKKAW.BLOG.