When FX International general manager Michael Herz plans his pop culture convention, he doesn’t think small.
“We want FX to be everything for everyone,” he said. “A collectible toy show, a comic-con, a sci-fi show, a horror show, a sports show, with anime and gaming events and panels and celebrities. Your basic pop-culture overload circus!”
This year’s FX show, the 20th anniversary of the annual event, is expected to bring 20,000 fans from all over the country next weekend to the Orange County Convention Center on International Drive in Orlando to join together in the great, geeky bliss of a massive costume party that has overrun an indoor fairground during a music festival. So why should you be there?
For The Celebrities
FX has a reputation for attracting cult-favorite media guests, and this year is no exception with Leonard Nimoy from “Star Trek,” James Marsters from “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” “Smallville” and “Dragonball Evolution,” James Kyson Lee from “Heroes,” Lindsey Wagner from the original “Bionic Woman,” Scotty “Scotty 2 Hottie” Garland from the WWE and many more from movies, TV and wrestling.
“I try to bring in guests from vintage entertainment that I would consider icons,” Herz said.
For some of the guests, doing a con is like coming home. “When I was 10…13…I had a big afro, and I would go to Star Trek conventions with pointed ears and arched eyebrows. I had my Star Trek uniform that I hand-sewed myself,” actor James Marsters said in a 2008 interview for Fannish Inquisition, a fan site for TV shows “Stargate” and “Firefly.”
“And I found there were — at conventions — people that I enjoyed being around. Intelligent, a little weird and full of life. That’s why I enjoy doing conventions now. I just love it.”
Stars bring lots of fans but FX has an system of tickets and scheduled
times that eases the long autograph lines. There also will be
professional photo opportunities, themed discussion panels, and “A
Conversation with Leonard Nimoy” on April 19 (separate ticket required)
with goodie bags of collectibles for all attending.
|Who To Expect|
Leonard Nimoy (Spock from “Star Trek”)
James Marsters (Spike from “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “Angel,” Milton Fine from “Smallville,” Lord Piccolo from “Dragonball: Evolution”)
Julie Benz (Darla from “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “Angel,” Rita from “Dexter”)
Juliet Landau (Drusilla from “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “Angel”)
Clare Kramer (Glorificus from “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”)
Camden Toy (Various villains from “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “Angel”)
Jewel Staite (Kaylee from “Firefly” and “Serenity,” Dr. Keller from “Stargate Atlantis”)
Morena Baccarin (Inara from “Firefly” and “Serenity,” Adria from “Stargate SG-1”)
Bud Davis (stuntman “Tango & Cash,” “Hook,” “Forrest Gump,” “Star Trek: Generations,” and actor
Jonathan Frakes (Cmdr. Riker from “Star Trek: The Next Generation”)
Scotty “Scotty 2 Hotty” Garland (WWE, Smackdown, Royal Rumble, Wrestlemania)
Warrington Gillette (Jason from “Friday the 13th Part 2,” Acquin from “Penny Dreadful”)
Mark Goddard (Col. West from “Lost in Space”)
James Kyson Lee (Ando from “Heroes”)
Jason C. Miller (Lead singer of Godhead, actor and voice actor)
Ray Park (Darth Maul from “Star Wars: Episode I,” Toad from “X-Men”)
Jamie “Fury” Reed (“American Gladiators”)
Scott Schwartz (Flick from “A Christmas Story”)
Danny Steinmann (Director / Screenwriter – “Friday the 13th Part V: A New Beginning, Zombie Brigade”)
Cerina Vincent (Areola from “Not Another Teen Movie,” Maya from “Power Rangers Lost Galaxy,: “MTV’s Undressed”)
Lindsay Wagner (Jamie Sommers from “The Bionic Woman”)
Jake “The Snake” Roberts (WWF, WCW, TNA Wrestling, WWE, Beyond the Mat, Royal Rumble, Survivor Series, WrestleMania)
Valerie “SoCalVal” Wyndham (TNA Wrestling, WWE Smackdown, Pro Wrestling Illustrated, Powerslam! Magazine, MuscleMag Online, TNA Knockouts)
George Lowe (Space Ghost from “Space Ghost Coast to Coast,” announcer on “Aqua Teen Hunger Force”)
Yaya Han (Costume designer, model, Anime and Cosplay entertainer)
|If You Go|
WHAT: FX International, a pop-culture convention
For The Artists
More than 70 of the hottest comics writers and artists working today
will be signing autographs and showing off their stuff, including
Special Guest of Honor Michael Golden (“Batman,” “Vampirella,” “Captain
America,” “Micronauts”), Ben Templesmith (“Welcome to Hoxford,” “Dr.
Who: The Whispering Gallery,” “30 Days of Night”), Matt Fraction
(“Uncanny X-Men,” “Casanova,” “Invincible Iron Man”) and many more.
Avatar Press will be making its first U.S. convention appearance, with
limited edition comics made especially for this FX con, and editors
from Marvel Comics will be holding panels and making announcements. And
don’t miss Creators Alley filled with more than a hundred artists of
all disciplines displaying their work.
For the third year, FX will host Project Vinyl, featuring designer toy
artwork and appearances by popular vinyl toy artists such as Ron
English, Buff Monster, Angry Woebots, kaNO, and Peekaboo Monster.
For The Stuff
Aside from the hundreds of exhibitors selling comics, toys, books,
armor, clothing, weapons and DVDs, FX will start something new this
year with a Disney Pin Swap every day of the con. Six exclusive,
officially licensed, FX-themed disney pins will be available, with a
seventh completer pin offered if you buy the set. Plus, FX-exclusive
editions of Warren Ellis’ comics “Anna Mercury” and “Ignition City,” as
well as limited edition Phantom and Captain Action figures are slated
to be on hand.
For The Costumes
For many attendees, costume playing or “cosplaying” is at least half
the fun of going. Cosplaying is as much performance art as dressing up,
with cosplayers acting out their meticulously crafted roles throughout
the weekend for each other and the many eager photographers. You’ll see
Supermen of all sizes chatting with Princess Leias, a team of Sailor
Moons being chased by Captain Jack Sparrow, a man dressed as a giant
Japanese chocolate treat dancing in the lobby and more Wolverines,
Klingons, Poison Ivys and Naruto Uzumakis than you ever dreamed
possible. Bring your camera.
For The Tattoos
Yes, the tattoos. The FX 2009 Tattoo Festival, presented by Mark
Draven’s Ink-Fusion, brings in nine popular ink artists to put a
favorite character, scene or original design where it will last: on
you. If you’ve ever been curious about getting a tattoo but not curious
enough to visit a tattoo parlor, this is your chance to see it done,
ask questions, and think about what sort of artwork you’d like to wear.
All city health codes are observed.
For The Partying
Join some of the most talented artists in the industry on April 17 as
they get increasingly unsteady in the Drink and Draw Social Club at the
nearby International Plaza Resort and Spa. Then come back April 18 in
the evening to celebrate FX’s 20th anniversary at FX Rocks! with music,
contests, celebrity guests, and giveaways. Or stay at the con to see
“Buffy” and “Smallville” actor James Marsters perform a one-hour
acoustic concert (separate ticket required).
For The Games
On April 17 you can face off against celebrity dealers in the Celebrity
Poker Challenge. There will be prizes, auctions, souvenirs, and all net
proceeds go to the American Cancer Foundation. It’ll be $100 to play,
$25 to watch, and donations beyond that are welcomed.
Various booths at the con will host contests, giveaways and auctions.
And you can find rooms devoted to board games, role-playing and video
gaming from the current hit titles all the way back to the retro, 8-bit
FX started in 1989 as two separate conventions: Bruce Zalkin’s Tampa
Toyfest and Michael Herz’s Character and Collectible Show in Maryland.
Over the next two years they joined forces and created the Florida
eXtravaganza, or FX. FX changed hands between the two of them until
Herz took it over in 2004 and then took a corporate partner in 2007,
when it became FX International.
In the first six years, attendance grew from 300 to more than 10,000 fans. This year, 20,000 people are expected to attend.
It can be scary walking through several thousand brightly dressed
people who all seem to know each other. But all you need is common
sense and courtesy.
Be polite, enjoy the sights, but don’t stare. Keep your bags close and be aware of traffic flow.
Cons provide unrivaled opportunities to meet your heroes face to face.
Respect their generosity by not bugging them in the bathroom or while
they’re eating and keeping your panel questions under 30 seconds.
Most of the fans in costume will let you take pictures but remember, they’re not paid mascots — they’re there to have fun.
Ask before you snap a photo (often just holding up your camera and
smiling first will do the trick) and don’t be offended if you get a no.
Don’t block the aisle taking your shot. If they’ve already been holding
a pose, ask before you shoot in case they’re about to collapse from
muscle strain. Don’t take pictures in bathrooms, or when they’re
adjusting, and never touch without asking. In fan terms, “glomping”
means aggressive and unexpecting hugging, and it’s frowned upon.
If you’re in costume yourself — go, you! — please be aware that you
will be stared at. Be aware of the limitations of your costume and plan