Magic City Con 2016--In The Books

The plan for this blog is to post a variety of topics. I have a couple of podcasts that tackle different subjects and I have a couple of other things that I have feeling about. So far since I started posting here I’ve talked a bit about my food addiction recovery and a little about bullying. But there will also be movie reviews and general musings of life. Today, I thought it would be a good idea to stick to the site’s title about the geek that my kids have as a dad.

This weekend I went to Magic City Con. I’m sure that even if you’ve never been to a con that you’ve at least heard about them and know what they are. But, if by chance you don’t, I’ll try to explain it. Although, I do believe that to truly understand and appreciate a con you have to experience one.

Of course, “con” is short for convention and it is generally used to compare to Comic Con, which is the biggest one there is…at least as far as I know. Comic Con was originally created to be a comic book convention where people would simply go to a meeting hall at a hotel somewhere and trade comic books, buy some toys, talk about their favorite storylines…that sort of thing. That was back in the days when it wasn’t cool to be a nerd. Now we live in a time when every other big movie that comes out of Hollywood is a comic book property. So, cons have slowly become more than just comic books. They are now a haven for all genres of fiction. Sci-fi, fantasy, anime, video games…all of that stuff in represented at conventions. Comic Con is the biggest because Hollywood studios like to premiere trailers to big films there. And they have panels with the cast of huge movies and TV shows.

Birmingham is not known for its cons. Over the years there have been a couple of small ones that have tried to sprout up but they usually drown because of the ones in larger cities like Atlanta that aren’t far away. A couple of years ago we had the Alabama Phoenix Festival. It was here for two years but for some reason it didn’t happen the third. That’s where United Fandoms came in and filled the gap with Magic City Con.

Last year it was good. It was the first time that I had been to a convention since the Star Trek gathering that I attended in 1993. And one of the senior planner was a friend of mine for way back and she asked me to conduct a Doctor Who panel. I did. Only four people came but I still had a good time doing it. This year she asked me to step up and do a little more since I’ve launched a podcast in the year since the first one. I did and this year was a really great experience.

One thing that made it great was one of my podcasting co-hosts was able to come to town and take part in it as well. If you listen to the show then you’ve heard Rick Tetrault quite a bit. He’s also the host of several shows on the Simply Syndicated podcast network. He hosted the very first podcast that I ever downloaded back in 2009. So getting to meet him in person was great and getting to know him over the weekend was a lot of fun.

Officially, I did three panels which Rick was involved in as well. We co-hosted a panel with a couple of other guys on Friday night. The subject was “On Moffat: A Blessing And Curse For Doctor Who”. I recorded that panel and I’m going to release it as an episode of the podcast in a week or two. On Saturday morning we hosted a game of sci-fi/fantasy Jeopardy which was a lot of fun. We gave away some prizes and met a lot of really nice people. Finally, on Sunday morning we did a presentation on the basics of podcasting. That one was co-hosted by the guys from the Rocket Punch podcast.

In addition to that, we got to meet Joe Crowe who is another podcaster here in the Birmingham area. He invited me to join him on Friday night for his Awesome Superhero Movie panel that was a blast in spite of some technical difficulties. And Rick and I served as judges for his Sci-Fighters bracket game where Star Trek characters were pitted against Star Wars characters in a fight to the death. That one was a lot more involved than you’d think it would be and I think we could have done it all afternoon.

There are a few things that I took away from the weekend. First, the cosplay was on point. These guys and girls had on some phenomenal costumes that you could tell took a lot of time and money to prepare.


The management of the con did a great job of getting everything covered especially since this was only the second year it has existed and the first time that it has been at the Wynfrey Hotel.

On Friday night and Saturday morning my wife and my daughter joined me. It’s not exactly their thing but they indulged me. And I think that they had fun in spite of themselves. My daughter, Gracie, even dressed up on Saturday.

The best part of the whole thing was the fact that I was able to relax and have conversations about things that most of the people in my daily life wouldn’t care to talk about. Where else can you sit and have an adult conversation about who would win in a fight between an Ewok and a Tribble. Hint: it was the Ewok but we had to roll a die to decide it.

So, I’m on board for Magic City Con any time in the future. Jamie Phelps and Rita Houston did a fantastic job. If you need anything from me to help make next year even better, just let me know and I’ll do what I can. I’d love to see this thing grow into something that will put Birmingham on the convention map.

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