Soda City Comic Con brought together people from all over Columbia and beyond this weekend to celebrate nerd culture and entertainment of all forms.
Last year’s con took place during the floods that devastated the Columbia area and suffered as a result. This year, however, the weather was sunny and clear, and the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center was packed with vendors, cosplayers, famous artists and hundreds of excited fans.
When the show began, the crowd made their way onto the show floor where tables and booths were filled from wall to wall with comic books, toys, vintage video games, art and many other forms of collectibles and merchandise.
One of the vendors was Pop Culture Playground, which was selling a wide assortment of classic and new comics, vinyl records and other collectibles. Tom Raupp, who was operating the booth, expressed that what he enjoys about shows like Soda City Comic Con is being able to interact with fellow fans and collectors.
“The cool thing is meeting newer collectors and getting new customers and just talking and interacting with everybody and also seeing everybody that gets dressed up in cosplay and see the different outfits,” Raupp said.
Pop Culture Playground is based in Florida but travels around to various cities and shows to sell items and meet new people.
“If we see you at a show, please stop by and say hi,” Raupp said.
Once the main events began, attendees had the opportunity to see numerous premieres of unreleased shows, one of which being FOX’s upcoming “24: Legacy,” which is set to release February 2017.
“24: Legacy” takes place three years after “24: Live Another Day,” the sequel to popular political thriller show "24," but it follows new characters. Corey Hawkins, who played Dr. Dre in “Straight Outta Compton,” stars as Eric Carter, a war hero whose past begins to catch up to him, putting him and his wife in danger and leading him to a problem far larger than he could have realized. “24: Legacy” keeps the same premise and style of the original show, meaning that each episode takes place over one hour of the story, and a ticking clock is periodically shown to tell viewers how much time has passed.
One of the events that gathered the biggest crowd was animator Tom Cook’s panel about how he got started in the cartoon animation industry and how the process has changed since he first started.
“We had to use this thing called a pencil and write on something called paper,” Cook said during his panel. “It was a weird time.”
During his time as an animator, Cook has worked on numerous popular animated shows such as “He-Man,” “Scooby-Doo” and “Tiny Toons.”
Cook talked about how he was inspired by renowned comic book artist Jack Kirby and joked that he could have ended his life after getting the opportunity to work with him. But before Cook became a well-known animator, he was a bus driver. Cook said that during his time as a bus driver he also took an animation class where his talents were noticed, and eventually he was hired by popular animation studio Hanna-Barbera.
For the middle section of the panel, Cook explained the animation process step by step from the initial script to the final, animated product and all of the work that goes into each stage. Cook showed actual examples of some of the resources he used as an animator and told personal stories of his time in the business before shifting to talk about the convention at the end of the panel.
“I would have killed to have conventions like this in the '60s,” Cook said.
A short distance from where Cook spoke was a room filled with TVs and gaming consoles where different tournaments were being held in games like “Super Smash Bros.,” “Street Fighter V” and “Mortal Kombat X.” The “Super Smash Bros.” tournament was the most prominent and had many intense matches that often ended in shouting, cheers and calls for rematches.
In addition to the events and activities, a large part of the show’s entertainment came from observing the detailed costumes and outfits that many attendees wore. While Jokers and Harley Quinns were certainly the most common, there was still a large variety of characters being represented such as Deadpool, the Green Arrow, Boba Fett, Poison Ivy and many more.
The second Soda City Comic Con provided a way for fans of all forms of pop culture to show their creativity, buy items from their favorite properties and meet many like-minded people. Additional coverage and photos from the con can be found on the Arts and Culture twitter page, @tdg_arts.