Amazing Comic Con Aloha was originally scheduled for last August, but we got an extremely rare Category 5 Hurricane sitting just off shore and they were forced to postpone.
We’ve had a rough year out here in Hawaii. In addition to Hurricane Lane, two communities on the big island were decimated by a volcanic eruption, we had historic flooding on Kauai, and there was that whole false missile thing. Having Amazing Comic Con Aloha washed out was just another blow to a community of people that needed a break. But now here in February 2019, on the other side of the year that caused so much devastation to our islands, that break has finally come.
The locals showed up in their Hawaii themed versions of cosplay, with various Star Wars characters sporting slippahs, board shorts, kukui nuts and floral leis. Even Mario showed up ready for a tropical vacation, giving all those who asked for pictures an enthusiastic shaka in return. The locals are what make the con scene here so great and without them they wouldn’t be nearly as interesting. I always look forward to seeing which characters show up ready to call the week pau and party at the con center.
In addition to the local flair on costumes, local artists were also given a chance to showcase their work. Artist alley is always my favorite destination at any con, but out here it feels even more special. It’s a long trek to get to Hawaii, so those who travel the con circuit on the mainland don’t tend to come here. Shipping their merch is too expensive to be worth it, so Hawaii based talent truly gets a chance to shine.
One such group of local artists is Mana Comics, who showcased their Hawaii inspired superheroes and comics in artist alley this year. If you like what you see, the good news is that they ship to the mainland! Check them out.
Of course, local art isn’t just confined to original comics. We’ve got our own share of fan-artists as well. I’ve started making friends with some of the artists who attend every con each year and have several pieces I’m interested in buying at the next con, Kawaii Kon, in just a few weeks. Right now I’m complete fangirl trash for Boku no Hero Academia and the artists here surely fed that craving.
Usually another major point of interest at cons for me are panels (I’ve hosted a few), but Amazing Comic Con Aloha was not very fan panel focused. The one I was interested in attending got cancelled due to the host being held up in the autograph area. They did have some staff members take the stage and create an ad hoc panel on the fly, but it wasn’t the panel I had shown up for.
However, they did bring a lot of mainland talent for larger panels, including Tara Strong. Tara is the voice of so many characters that, unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve surely heard her somewhere before. During the entire panel she was slipping in and out of various voices. When she slipped into Harley Quinn, I was SHOOK. The highlight, however, was her demonstrating a fight between two of her characters, Bubbles and Raven.
“If she could have two of her characters to interact, Tara Strong chooses Bubbles and Raven having a fight. And she gives us a demonstration. pic.twitter.com/YfKA2aoS18“
— TheGeekiary (@TheGeekiary) February 24, 2019
They also brought many mainland comic artists that you’ve no doubt heard of such as Jim Starlin, George Perez, Ron Lim, Joe Rubinstein, and Neal Adams. The con was much more traditional comics focused than most other cons out here, which tend to focus more on anime and science fiction genres. As someone who is more into science fiction and anime, that meant there was a bit less for me personally, but it’s great to have some diversity for other con-goers.
Overall, Amazing Comic Con Aloha was a different convention that what I usually attend due to the lack of strong locally led fan panels, but the local cosplayers and fan artists showed up to make the con feel like home again. And that’s really what we’re good at out here. We infuse the aloha spirit into everything that we do, so that even a mainland convention company like Amazing has a local flair to it. I hope that if they return they open up panel spots for locals like many of the other cons do, but even if they don’t we’ll manage to show up to support our kama’aina and greet our guests with aloha.
Author: Angel Wilson
Angel is the admin of The Geekiary and a geek culture commentator. They earned a BA in Film & Digital Media from UC Santa Cruz. They have contributed to various podcasts and webcasts including An Englishman in San Diego, Free to Be Radio, and Genre TV for All. They’ve also written for Friends of Comic Con and is a 2019 Hugo Award winner for contributing fanfic on AO3. They identify as queer.
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