Tuesday, September 15, 2015


Indy Popcon was Friday through Sunday, June 26-28, at the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis. This con report should have been posted months ago, but my other obligations - personal and work - kept getting in the way of my writing it. Given how enjoyable my Indy Pop Con weekend was, I’m opting for “better late than never” and starting my three-or-four-blog report today. 

My Thursday afternoon drive from Medina was a long one, complicated by my unfamiliarity with the GPS unit in my Sainted Wife Barb’s car and the frequent areas of road construction I encountered. I missed turns, but course-corrected with ease. The entire drive took close to five hours.

My first stop was at the La Meridien, which is on South Illinois Street within an easy walk to the con. The small hotel was great, but a little too swanky for my tastes.

After checking into the hotel, I drove to the convention center to unload my show stock (Archie digests, comic books, Isabella-written stuff and Superman posters) at my exhibition hall booth. I also got the lay of the center, which was quite nice. It reminded me of the Columbus [Ohio] Convention Center in its cleanliness and utility.

Digression. Almost everybody in Indianapolis was great to me, but there was one major asshole. He was the attendant for the parking lot behind the convention hall. He decided it would be hilarious to tell the guy from Ohio that there was no convention at the center. Because you know the guy who’s been on the road for five hours is going to think that’s a hoot and a half. When I suggested he call his supervisor, he finally admitted he was having me on. I smiled, more out of exhaustion than anything else, and was directed to the unloading area. Ha. Ha. Ha.

The unloading went well. Since the convention wouldn’t be starting until two on Friday afternoon, I decided to leave the actual set-up of my booth for my return. I drove back to the hotel to relax and get some dinner.

The staff at the hotel were terrific. It was nice to be greeted by name whenever I entered or left. But my room was way too high end for my simple tastes. It was hipster modern with fixtures like fine art prints on the bathroom walls and a weird toilet paper holder that didn’t actually hold the roll in place. I felt like I was in a catalog showroom. I am a man of simple tastes.

The hotel restaurant’s menu was too much for me as well. I’m about as far away from a foodie as you can get without eating my meals on all fours and from a bowl. Fortunately, there was a Steak ‘n Shake across the street from the hotel and it was open all day and night. There also a big wonderful mall a block from the hotel and it had a great food court. My dietary needs were met.

According to my notes, I started Friday with breakfast at Steak ‘n’ Shake. Later that morning, as I was leaving the hotel to walk over to the convention center, I was introduced to David Michael Latt, one of the founders of the Asylum. I would chat with David several more times during Indy Pop Con and, later, meet and chat with David  Rimawi, another of the studio founders.

Spoiler alert: I have been mightily impressed with every one I’ve met from The Asylum. They have all been down-to-earth people with great business savvy, creative chops and energy and without any of the pretension so common to the movie business. I haven’t loved a company this much since I discovered Marvel Comics back in the day. I’d come up with a catch-phrase like “Make Mine Marvel” for them, but, thus far, the best I’ve been able to come up with is “Asylum Assemble!” I’ll keep trying.

I was pretty good about taking notes during the convention, though those notes often contain random thoughts that occurred to me and which I wrote down in my show journal out of convenience. Seeing one of my neighbors in the exhibition hall had a old-time comics spinner rack made me wonder if those things are still being made. Outside of some used comics spinner racks priced in the hundreds of dollars, my quick online search in recent days hasn’t located what I’m looking for.

While I was setting up my booth, I heard the welcome news that the Supreme Court of the United States had ruled that same-sex marriage was a constitutional right. My immediate thought was how wonderful it was to be at this convention in this state when the announcement was made. Veteran readers of this bloggy thing might recall that I had originally decided against attending the convention in protest of the anti-LGBT legislation passed by Indiana Governor Mike Pence  and his fellow Republicans.

What changed my mind was the convention’s immediate and strong show of support for the LGBT community and diversity in general. I felt it was important to stand up for the rights of my fellow Americans by showing up where those rights were threatened. I wish I had the means, time and energy to do this all over the country and, indeed, the world. But I was glad I was in Indiana that day. It felt good, real good.

Sidebar. On Saturday, a Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg cosplayer was walking around the convention. She looked the part, so much so that fans came up to her to thank her for the Supreme Court ruling. My delight at that was audible.

There were lots of terrific cosplayers at Indy Pop Con. There was an impressive Ghostbusters group, as well as Nightwing, Marvel’s Black Cat, Captain Jack Sparrow, Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch, Hawkeye, a Bombshells version of Wonder Woman, Batgirl, Ms. Marvel, a drag Power Girl, a couple of Agent Carters, a “Sailor Deadpool,” and Aquaman and Aqualad crossplayers.

The most audacious and therefore amusing costume was a woman made up as a pregnant Predator. Her husband walked the floor with her, often pointing at her large belly as if to say “Look what I did!” If I wore a hat, it would be off to the man so fearless and suave that he could romance and mate with one of the deadliest killers in the known universe. Truly a man among men.

I met the lovely and talented Peter Spellos, an actor who has lent his live action and vocal talents to well over a hundred cartoons, movies and TV shows. He was such a nice guy that I’m tracking down as many of his appearances as I can find. That I already own a DVD of Attack of the 60 Foot Centerfold says more about me than Peter.
I met Jim Wynorski, who has directed and written a hundred films, including such Isabella favorites as Gila!, Piranhaconda and Camel Spiders. Coming not soon enough to suit me will be CobraGator and  Sharkansas Women's Prison Massacre.

In between meeting celebrities and dropping their names, I came up with a series - A SERIES - of at least six books of commentary and pop culture and a movie concept.

All of the above came before Indy Pop Con opened to those fans who had purchased VIP tickets. I could already tell this was going to be a terrific event.

Come back tomorrow and I’ll tell you more.

© 2015 Tony Isabella

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