Boston is a city that embraces nerds. There are an assortment of conventions available year round to cater to any favorite pasttime: Boston Comic Con, AnimeBoston, Northeast Comic Con, Super Megafest Comic Con, PAX East, Arisia, Walker Stalker Con, and more. Comic con enthusiasts in this area will usually make a short trip to either Rhode Island Comic Con or the New York Comic Con. With all those resources within a short radius, why drive out 3.5 hours to Vermont Comic Con? Now that gas prices are down, it was a great excuse for a road trip. It’s a beautiful drive through rural New Hampshire and the mountains of Vermont. Burlington itself has a marketplace that is reminiscent of downtown Salem. It’s also nice to fully immerse yourself into a convention where it’s so far away that you have to stay in a hotel rather than commute.
Comic book conventions are great fun, but they can get a bit congested. Sometimes you need to take breaks from the hustle and bustle of the crowds. At this event, you could decompress and watch battle demonstrations. These gladiators in cosplay would skirmish and encourage you to join. The VTCC didn’t have many food vendors, so bringing your own picnic food to consume while you watch these scenes at the nearby field at UVM would have been an excellent choice. We think with the 8,000+ attendance at the Con this year, the local food trucks will want to seize this opportunity to feed these hungry attendees next year.
This year’s celebrity guests were Brian O’Halloran (best know as Dante in “Clerks” and roles in other Kevin Smith movies), Nicholas Brendon (best known as Xander on “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and a “Criminal Minds” recurring role), Rochelle Davis (Sarah in “The Crow”), and Brimstone the pro-wrestler. In addition to these actors were several illustrators, writers, and other creatives. Smaller gatherings like these mean shorter lines to talk to these stars on a one-on-one basis.
This is how we learned that Brian O’Halloran drinks Gatorade after a night of drinking and swears that it is a hangover cure. This tickled our fancy since the hockey players in “Clerks” seemed to love it, too. Brian also recommended checking out the Rock and Shock horror and music convention, but warned us to be prepared for a weekend without sleep.
Celebrity karaoke after party
The official Vermont Comic Con after party occurred on Saturday, Sept. 19 at the Zen Lounge. There was a karaoke contest with a $100 prize for the best cosplay performance. Locals, convention attendees and celebrities alike sang on stage for some hilarious results. Brian O’Halloran is pictured here doing his version of “War Pigs” by Black Sabbath. We found a short clip, but you’ll have to take our word for it that he had a good growl. We also witnessed him singing “Safety Dance” and a duet of “Piano Man” with Brimstone. As for Rochelle Davis, she sang an appropriately themed “Back in Black”. The Green Mountain Cabaret demonstrated their burlesque dancing with their nerdy audience in mind. Let’s just say that the pasties were themed.
Conventions will sometimes have movie props and other interesting paraphernalia. Vermont Comic Con had the blue outfit that Johnny Depp wore in “Cry Baby” out on display.
Panels are the part of the backbone of a convention. VTCC 2015 discussions included an introduction to cosplay culture, the 501st Legion, superhero psychtherapy, a sketch off moderated by Johnny C, a Dr. Who gathering, and a secret guest appearance by Colin Trevorrow, director of “Jurassic World” during the “Meet Hawk Ostby” panel.
Our favorite session was the opportunity to meet the staff from Generator, a community of artists, engineers, and inventors that innovate their art with technology with a special workspace. They can educate you on 3D printing, welding, soldering, laser cutting, programming and electrical components. Eric Roy is pictured with one of his crafted costume masks. This was truly a fascinating conversation about being a creative and the multitude of materials and techniques to perfect your art.
Local vendors and entrepreneurs
Pete Talbot is pictured here with samples of his cardboard wares, including masks, a “Legend of Zelda” shield, an elven sword, and a desktop pinball game. He was part of the Generator panel and we admired his dedication to recycling and art.
Other fun vendors that we noticed at the convention were Andromeda Pro-Tech that created custom 3D objects, Yogibo bean bag furniture, Noadi’s Art (whose cuttlefish and octopus themed pieces would have been a hit at Necronomicon), hilarious commission artist Griffin Ess from Shaded Areas, and the funny con art from Jay Mooers of Eden Park Tales. These vendors are top-notch. Since this is the only comic book convention in all of Vermont the highest caliber cosplayers and vendors would have to be present.