Zombies, cosplay, anime, sci-fi, comic books, TV and movie celebrities invade Myrtle Beach and its convention center today through Sunday. Get a life? This IS their life. “Be nice to nerds. Chances are you’ll end up working for one.” – Bill Gates
With a renaissance in role-plying and Yugi-Oh games, added to the recent television hits “Big Bang Theory,” “The Waking Dead,” and “Game of Thrones,” along with the seemingly unending cinematic installments of “Spiderman,” “X-Men,” “Superman,” and other Marvel and D.C. Comics-spawned creations, it is apparent that action heroes, their fans, and oddly even zombies, are all in excellent health. So much so that hundreds of comic book and role-playing conventions are held each year, including the family-friendly X-Con World, a Myrtle Beach-born gathering that now, in its seventh year, is in the big leagues.
Two local purveyors of all this beloved nerddom, Steve Haines and Robin Roberts, X-Con’s founders, are at the helm of the X-Con 7 convention. The pair say it’s a “labor of love,” working throughout the year booking celebrities, organizing vendors, and growing the convention, which they say has doubled in size in the last three years. The 2013 convention saw a record attendance of 5,000. Whether or not 10,000 attendees show up this year, expectations are high for a strong turnout for an event that draws from around the country, and is a travel-free treat for fanatics from our own back yard.
In addition to dozens of vendors selling, trading, and appraising, comics, action figures and more, seminars from screenwriters and actors, comic book writers and artists, along with 25 celebrities, round out the offerings. Scheduled to attend: “Battlestar Galactica’s” Richard Hatch and Aaron Douglas, along with Sam “Flash Gordon” Jones, Daniel “Young Boba Fett” Logan (“Star Wars,” “The Clone Wars”), “The Walking Dead’s” Lew Temple, in addition to many of the industry’s award-winning artists, animators and writers.
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A 3-day pass (Friday, Saturday and Sunday, $25 at the door) covers entry. A VIP Package ($200) includes convention entry and Celebrity Green Room access, a limited edition X-Con T-shirt, and a ticket to a VIP dinner party at Medieval Times.
Here are a few of this year’s highlights. (This is a partial schedule only. See official program for specific locations and additional seminars and Q&As.)
6:30 p.m., X-Con Night at Myrtle Beach Pelicans baseball game, TicketReturn.Com Field, 1251 21st Ave. N., Myrtle Beach. Raffles drawn each inning for VIP booth access. Olivia Olson (“Love Actually,” “Phineas and Ferb,” “Marceline the Vampire Queen: Adventure Time”) will sing the National Anthem.
10:30 p.m., “Godzilla” premier at Grand 14, 4002 DeVille St., The Market Common, Myrtle Beach.
Noon, doors open at Myrtle Beach Convention Center, 2101 Oak St., Myrtle Beach
1:10 p.m., Cosplay Panel
1:15 p.m., Paranormal Physics panel discussion
2:10 p.m., Breaking Into Comics seminar
3 p.m., Geek Dating Game
5:10 p.m., Zombie Apocalypse Prep Class
9 p.m., VIP Art Show, Nerd Bar (807 Main St., Myrtle Beach), celebrities, cash bar, light snacks, celebrity performances (limited $100 advance ticket required)
10 a.m., doors open at Myrtle Beach Convention Center (comics given to the first 1,000 kids through the door)
11 a.m., Power Rangers Q&A with Blake Foster and Jason Faunt
Noon, Medieval Times Demo (Center Stage)
Noon, Adventure Time Q&A with Olivia Olson and Jessica DiCicco
2 p.m., Writer’s Workshop with Shane Moore
2 p.m., Kids’ Costume Contest
3 p.m., “Who Needs the Force” Q&A with Daniel Logan (Boba Fett)
3:15 p.m., Adult Costume Judging
5 p.m., Richard Hatch (“Battlestar Galactica”) Q&A
5 p.m., Adult Costume Contest Finals
7 p.m., Lew Temple (“The Walking Dead”) Q&A
9 p.m., Nerd Core Concert (The Nerd Bar, 807 Main St, Myrtle Beach) featuring nine bands of The Mad & Moxious Tour ($8, 17 and younger must be accompanied parent, 21 to drink)
11 a.m., doors open at convention center
11 a.m., Nerd Church with David Powers
Noon, Wrestling Q&A with Animal & Brimstone
Noon, Fiat Lux – The Final Showdown
1 p.m., Introduction to Acting, with Richard Hatch ($25)
3 p.m., Indie Comics & Kickstarter with Lee Newman and Emil Koepcke
5:30 p.m., After Party at Liberty Brewery & Grill, Broadway at the Beach