I’ve never been to San Diego Comic Con and honestly, I have no interest in going. I’m uncomfortable with flying and I think SDCC is too commercialized.
But I’ve been to a few toys and comics shows with celebrity guests in the CA bay area. I’ve been to a toy. comics and collectibles show in Pleasanton, Alameda and San Jose. Campbellcon in (where else?) Campbell, CA was my first trip to this lovely city.
I first learned about Campbellcon through an advertisement at a local toy shop in Union City. It said that some Star Wars: The Clone Wars voice actors would be there. As a Star Warrior, I wanted to meet these actors and I wanted to buy some comics and some SW action figures to my collection. So I paid for a ticket online ($21.94) and printed out driving directions to Campbell.
On November 7, I headed out towards I-880 S. After some distance (and getting a little lost – but not too lost) I reached my destination. The con was held at the historic Campbell Community Center which used to be a high school. It’s a very nice building as seen above.
After I was allowed in, the first thing I did was go to the celebrity table. I forgot to mention that most of the CW actors I wanted to meet had canceled their appointments. But there was still one SW actress that showed up: Debbie Lee Carrington, who played Romba the Ewok in Return of the Jedi was there signing pictures of her in the saga and Total Recall. But before I stopped at her table, I went to see another actress: Lana Wood, sister of Natalie and former Bond Girl. I wanted to ask about her time on The Wild, Wild West. She had guest-starred twice on the classic sci-fi western, “The Night of the Firebrand” and “The Night of the Plague” as two different characters. I had hoped that she would have a photograph from the show that she would sign (hopefully one with Pernell Roberts) but, alas she didn’t. However, she offered to send some pictures to my e-mail address. We had a nice chat, took a picture and I ended up buying a wonderful picture of her and her legendary older sister which she signed.
Then after much browsing and buying only one trade paperback, I went straight to Ms. Carrington’s desk. She noticed my Xena tin lunch box (where I was keeping my money) and told me that she was friends with Lucy Lawless (“she’s a wonderful person, very down to earth”). I picked a still of Romba and she signed “Greetings from Endor!” (how cute!) and shook my hand.
Now for the low points of Campbellcon: merchandise-wise, it was very disappointing. As I said earlier, I bought only a comic book: Young Justice. Most other comic books available either didn’t interest me or I had already read. And as regards to finding the Star Wars action figures I’ve been desiring, forget it. A majority of the SW toys were from The Force Awakens. You see, I’ve been craving that new Black Series Ceremonial Gown Leia, that Hasbro had to push back a couple of months because that’s one of my favorite Leia dresses. I’ve also been hoping to find that Vintage Collection Ahsoka Tano action figure but there wasn’t any. Oh well. Keep searching and you will find…
But there was another positive realization I came to at Campbellcon, especially when it comes to Star Warriors.
There were a couple of cosplayers in attendance and most of them were dressed from the prequel or EU era. One person was dressed as a clone trooper. There were some men in jedi and sith robes selling lightsabers (I think it was the Saber Guild). Another young man was dressed in a sith robe with a double-bladed lightsaber, (but judging by the hilt design, it wasn’t Darth Maul’s or Bastila Shan’s). And as I left, I passed by four teenagers in jedi robes. It taught me that there is a difference between the internet and real life. While the internet may have you believe that “fans” have a seething hatred for the direction the saga took in recent years, those “fans” spend most of their time raging on the internet while the more positive fans are out and about expressing their devotion and having fun.
Another thing I learned is the importance of attending your local sf/comic book convention. Why go to San Diego, NYC or Anaheim every year when you can show your support for a pop-culture related event, no matter how small. It boosts morale. It’s good for your local economy. I’m looking forward to the next available toy and comics show.