I’ve been a guest at Anime Mid-Atlantic for fifteen years. Wow.
With my first appearance back in 2003, I’ve appeared every year since. How mind-blowing.
It’s amazing to look back on my history at some conventions because during the weekend the con is running, time seems to fly by and also stand still. It seems like you are melding into the past and the future and if you look hard enough, you’ll see yourself where you were and where you will be.
Anime Mid-Atlantic 2018, or AMA, was this passed weekend and it was a lot of fun. The big news for me, professionally, was having the entire Caffeine & Ink team present. I do events with LG Ransom with some regularity, which is like seeing a rocket ship slowly countdown to lift-off (the Legacy Dawn series is going to be a major name in sci-fi one day). But to have Gabriel Novo and Manny Camacho present was a delight (I’ve worked with Gabriel periodically since signing with C&I in 2012 but I’d never met him in person until this weekend). And Michelle Lawhorn remains an untapped literary resource. Our resident expert on Star Wars and a few other fandoms, she the Black Widow to our Avengers. And given the regard I hold for Black Widow in the MCU, I hope that registers as the praise I mean it to be.
I managed to catch two of Charles Dunbar’s panels, which is like getting a standup show and a college lecture in one go. His North Korea panel is enlightening (and damn terrifying, on par with some of Last Week Tonight’s best work) and his Hell panel, often unique to the difference audiences, is bewildering and charming. I rarely get the chance to see Charles’ panels so getting that chance was a delight.
I also get the chance to see DJ AARock at work. I’ve known him for years but I’m an old man who can never stay up late enough to go to any of his concerts. Getting to see him on stage with Edo Bushido and Neo Atomic Motor was amazing.
For my own work, the Top Ten Episodes of Transformers panel went well. With an hour to work with and some minor technical problems to address at the beginning, I wasn’t able to give each episode the time due. I was delighted at the discussions the panel invoked, however. There was a lot of ‘yeah, but what about ___ episode’ the rest of the weekend which is always fun. More than one person advocated that I do a more in-depth presentation on the episodes, and perhaps have a separate list of episodes that aren’t ‘the best’ but maybe required viewing. We’ll have to see. Suffice to say, though, now that the panel is “done” (at least until the next series is completely available in physical media), some considerable effort will be applied to the panel going forward.
Anime Avengers was a strange panel. What started as a discussion of shared universes in anime turned into an evaluation of the general construct and how it works (and doesn’t work) in different media. I was pleased with how the panel came out, but it is always astounding when you set out to present one thing and end up speaking on something quite different. The attendees seemed to dig it, so I’m glad.
And Video Game Movies. I love this panel because I like advocating for art that is often maligned for the wrong reasons. Video game movies are, in general, a lot better than people give them credit for. Far from perfect, make no mistake, they are still of a higher quality and a higher pedigree than most people recognize. Even perennial punching bags like Super Mario Brothers and Street Fighter really are much better – both as movies and as video game homages – than people seem to recognize. I think this is the result of inconsistently applying the wrong standards to watching the film. Even something like Doom or Silent Hill is deserving of more praise than they ever seem to get. Plus, I like to throw in a few nods to X-Strike Studios, which this panel always lets me do.
At the table, RocKaiju sold like a fiend. The tale of a girl and her giant lizard was well-received, which makes me glad. Sam and RocKaiju’s story is near to my heart and I’m glad to see fans responding well to it. The table was hopping pretty much the whole time, especially when someone nearby was banging the Cha Cha Slide.
I like AMA because I get to say hello to people, shake some hands, and give some hugs. The AMA staff was terrific, with big nods to Ed Fortner, Jennifer Joseph, and Tracey Reagon. Y’all were amazing, as always.
Lastly, thank you to the fans. Thank you to the new fans, the old fans, the casual fans, and the hardcore fans. Thank you to everyone who came by the table, everyone who went to a panel, everyone who picked up a book or got a card or grabbed a sticker of RocKaiju. Thank you to everyone who came by this site to see more of what I create.
Thank you to Anime Mid-Atlantic for fifteen years of wonderful memories, and for the most recent weekend of adding still more to those memories.