X truly marks the spot at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center – for “XCon World 10,” all this weekend.
The Palmetto Studios Arts Alliance’s annual family friendly event, centering on comic book character industry and pastime, is noon-8 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Saturday, and 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday., at the convention center, at Oak Street and 21st Avenue North, and admission remains free for ages 12 and younger. Save on advance tickets, at www.xconworld.com, for pickup at the will-call window.
The co-founders, Robin Roberts and Steve Haines – also business partners at Palmetto Studios’ Corsair Comics, in downtown Myrtle Beach – spoke last week about their fun in orchestrating this grand gathering, and its benefit to several children’s charities such as the Boys & Girls Club of the Grand Strand, and the arts. Some free tables also are made available for local causes, such as the Cub Scouts, to tout their work in the community.
Haines said planning for the convention each year begins “two weeks after” the last one ends. Roberts said lining up guests from TV and the silver screen, and artists and writers, with a bevy of activities and contests, helps reach “that whole demographic” curve with something of interest and interactive for folks of all ages.
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Welcoming such talents as Arthur Suydam, known for his artwork in the “Marvel Zombies” series, and Mark Texeira, a “Megalith” artist, XCon continues to draw guests whom “you’ll see in bigger comic cons,” Roberts said.
Roberts said movie producers have “made a deliberate effort to be family friendly,” an effort extended, Haines said, in “the whole industry” through “a lot of new animated series” with famous characters, including Marvel Comics’ a forthcoming “Deadpool” edition.
Both men stress, though, with the array of subjects, titles and stories geared to various audiences, the importance for parents to “check everything” in which their youngsters have interest.
That’s another reason why XCon loads up on programming for children, both men said, especially because the two men also hear from vacationing families who email that they’re coming to town, so this event provides a “great awareness for Myrtle Beach,” Roberts said, something the coordinators have aimed to maintain in its first decade, Haines said.
Remembering ‘perennial favorite guest’
One special element to XCon for 2017 entails remembering a “perennial favorite guest,” C. Martin Croker, whose work included voice roles in “Space Ghost Coast to Coast” and lending his voices and animation for “Adult Swim” productions.
Roberts said Croker died unexpectedly last year in his mid-50s, “so we’ll have a little memorial for him” at “a table set up in his honor,” where fans can jot down memories of him and draw pictures.
“He was a guy,” Roberts said, “that if we saw him anywhere else, he would have dinner with us. He was a fan himself of so many things; that’s why he ... He was so approachable. You could walk up to him and start talking about Godzilla. ... I also found out a lot more about him after he died.”
Preparing for “this milestone” 10th anniversary show, Roberts and Haines strive to make the whole weekend inviting to “sit down and be part of it,” such as through demo and video games, including a tournament on Sunday, and the annual “Cosplay” contest, for ages 16 and older, on Saturday.
Amid another year of comic-book characters driving movie ticket sales globally, such as “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2”– with an estimated $246.2 million in ticket sales nationwide from just its first 10 days in release – Roberts and Haines look forward to catching that sequel, after the convention, along with “Alien: Covenant,” opening this Friday.
“My whole life is on hold for every movie that comes out,” Roberts said. “Hollywood discovered comic books, and a whole lot of money.”
Among movies of late, “Rogue One: A Stars Wars Story” and “Dr. Strange” have made the biggest impressions on Haines and Roberts, respectively.
Looking back at the inaugural “Guardians” movie, from 2014, Haines brought up knowing people who bought its music soundtrack “because of seeing the movie.”
“It was a good idea to take vintage Marvel characters and put them together with vintage music,” Haines said, referring to the slew of a 1970s pop hits reborn. “It was a novel idea.”
Contact Steve Palisin at 843-444-1764.
If you go
WHAT: “XCon World 10”
BY: Palmetto Studios Arts Alliance, based at 807 Main St., Myrtle Beach
BENEFITING: Several charities such as the Boys & Girls Club of the Grand Strand, based at 1404 Carver St., Myrtle Beach (843-712-1977 or www.bgclubgs.org)
WHEN: Noon-8 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Saturday, and 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday.
WHERE: Myrtle Beach Convention Center, at Oak Street and 21st Avenue North
▪ Three-day badge, $30 ages 13 and older, or $20 advance, with pickup at will-call window.
▪ Free ages 12 and younger
▪ Three-day VIP – $90 advance.
SCHEDULED CELEBRITY GUESTS:
▪ Husband and wife – Reggie Rolle, best known as Damon Henderson, the green Power Ranger, and Amy Rolle, Trakeena, respectively, from “Saban’s Power Rangers Lost Galaxy.”
▪ Jeremy Ambler, W.F. Bell, Matt Bolick, and Jeremy Palko, all from AMC’s “The Walking Dead.”
▪ Jeffrey Breslauer, actor, puppeteer, writer, and voiceover artist.
▪ Carey S. Means, from “Aqua Teen Hunger Force” TV series.
▪ Chelsea Talmadge, from “Still the King” and “Stranger Things” TV series.
SCHEDULED ARTISTS/WRITERS: Bob Boan, John Dixon, Tom Fleming, Sanford Greene, R.J. Marchese, Hector Miray, Arylias Nova, Arthur Suydam, Tattoo Bob, Mark Texeira, and Tsunami Studios.
SCHEDULED “COSPLAY” ARTISTS: Christiana, Cosplay Inc., Mystery Machine, Donnie Osborne, Tow-Mater, The 501st Legion, Bumblebee from “Transformers,” and “Supernatural” Baby.
INFORMATION: 843-839-4840 or www.xconworld.com