Alamo City Comic Con Celebrates Year Five with All Things Star Wars

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ART BY RICHARD JEMAL
  • Art by Richard Jemal

Don’t worry. We haven’t fallen into some sort of space-time continuum—a San Antonio version of Kang the Conqueror’s Damocles Base or the Flash’s radioactive Cosmic Treadmill. Yes, the 5th Annual Alamo City Comic Con (ACCC) is about to take place only eight months after last year’s record-breaking event, but trust us when we say there won’t be any world-destroying warheads to dodge or black voids to avoid. And although  it would be cool, no one is likely to increase their knowledge of the mystic arts by discovering a galactic wormhole this side of Highway 281.

Then, why is this year’s ACCC some four months early? Instead of securing a date in September or October like it had since its inaugural convention in 2013, ACCC was forced to choose another weekend when the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center told founder and director Apple de la Fuente there just weren’t any dates available during those months, especially since the expanding convention needed more space. So, de la Fuente looked at the calendar and picked another—Memorial Day weekend, May 26-28—and told his team they would have to buckle down.

“We decided to take on the challenge and make it happen,” de la Fuente said. “ACCC was always in the fall, but I think the growth of it surprised [the City]. The space that is needed surprised them.”

ACCC attendance has increased every year since 2013. De la Fuente anticipates over 120,000 attendees this year. If that ends up an official number, this would put ACCC third on the list of the largest comic-centric conventions in the U.S. in terms of attendance (after the ones in San Diego and New York City).

“It is a little surreal,” de la Fuente said. “I always think back to that first year and the chance I took. I wondered if people were even going to come out for it. It’s taken all of San Antonio for this to happen.”

May the Brew Be with You

The original 1977 Star Wars film—now known as Star Wars: Episode IV—A New Hope—debuted at theaters on May 25, 1977. It’s “serendipitous” timing, said de la Fuente, since ACCC starts May 26. Celebrating the 40th anniversary of the film is a major component of this year’s ACCC festivities.

This includes an art exhibition, “Lone Star Wars,” created by San Antonio artist Lucas Dooley. Using over 30,000 Lone Star beer cans and over 16,000 Lone Star bottlecaps, Dooley, 31, recreated an assortment of spaceships from the Star Wars franchise, with a Texas twist. From 30 TIE fighters to X-wing and Y-wing Starfighters to an eight-foot-long Star Destroyer, Dooley spent over 450 hours building the pieces. Although he wouldn’t reveal all the models he is bringing to ACCC, Dooley said the exhibition would include “a very iconic piece that everyone is going to love.”

“I can’t want to see everyone’s face when they see the work,” he said. “I want to see everyone smile.”

Sharing his love of Star Wars, too, is Canadian comic book artist James Raiz, who spent over 400 hours drawing a Star Wars tribute for the film’s anniversary. The intricate artwork will be on display at ACCC this year.

“I drew this piece for only one reason,” Raiz said on a YouTube video documenting the seven-month-long project. “I love Star Wars.”

Along with Raiz, other comic book artists showing off their Star Wars-inspired artwork include Dave Dorman, Dan Panosian, Scott Harben and John Cassidy.

Star Search

Star Wars love doesn’t stop at the artists displaying their work at ACCC. Celebrity guests this year include actor Ian McDiarmid, who plays the role of Palpatine (AKA the Emperor) in the sci-fi franchise, and 7’3" actor Peter Mayhew who plays everyone’s favorite Wookiee, Chewbacca.

Other big Hollywood names on the docket include actor and semi-retired professional wrestler Dave Bautista, who has made a name for himself in the Marvel Universe as Drax in the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise and in the upcoming Avengers: Infinity War; actor Val Kilmer (Batman Forever, Tombstone); actress Karen Gillan (Guardians of the Galaxy); actor Karl Urban (Star Trek franchise); Oscar-nominated actor Edward James Olmos (Battlestar Galactica); actor Michael Madsen (The Hateful Eight); and artist/writer/director Frank Miller (Sin City).

Reunited and it Feels So Good

Hey, you guys! The star-studded lineup continues at ACCC with a trio of fascinating reunions taking place during the con. First, actors Corey Feldman (Mouth), Sean Astin (Mikey) and Ke Huy Quan (Data) will do a little treasure hunting when they reunite as the cast of the 1985 adventure comedy The Goonies.

Rocky fans will rejoice when they see Dolph Lundgren (Drago) and Carl Weathers (Apollo Creed) meet face to face in the convention center to reminisce about their Rocky IV days. A rematch 32 years in the making, perhaps?

Finally, it might seem a bit incongruous for a comic con, but attendees will also get a chance to see the reunion of three cast members of the 80-90s hit TV series Cheers. In attendance: John Ratzenberger (Pixar voice actor), who played Cliff Clavin, the all-knowing mailman; George Wendt (da Bears), who played bar regular Norm Peterson; and Kirstie Alley who joined the cast in Season 6 as bar manager Rebecca Howe.

Film Fest Freeze

Since organizers found out this year’s convention was going to have to be a few months earlier than usual, they decided to forgo the Alamo City Film Festival, which had run in conjunction with ACCC since 2015. In a statement on Facebook, ACFF organizers said they “were unable to properly program the festival” due to the date change.

“I don’t ever want to do something that is not going to have my full, invested attention,” de la Fuente said.

De la Fuente adds that the film festival could return as a stand-alone event later this year, or rejoin the ACCC in the fall of 2018.

Alamo City Comic Con
$15 (child pass, 3-10); $30-$45 (1-day pass); $85 (3-day badge); $250 (Flash pass); $175-$995 (VIP packages), May 26-28, 11am-8pm Fri, 10am-7pm Sat, 11am-6pm Sun, Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center, 200 E. Market St., alamocitycomiccon.com


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