Jake’s Take: the 2017 Planet Comicon Wrap-Up

Planet Comicon 2015

Thousands of pop culture fans filled Kansas City’s Bartle Hall for the 2017 Planet Comicon (Logo property of Planet Productions)

By: Jacob Elyachar, jakes-take.com

Kansas City’s largest and longest-running comic book convention and pop culture expo just concluded.

For its 19th edition, Planet Comicon returned to Kansas City’s Bartle Hall with over 250 creators and 33 celebrity guests joining the thousands of fans that celebrated the best in anime, comic books, movies, science fiction, and television.   The fun kicked off Friday morning when Planet Comicon’s official hostess Clare Kramer welcomed the press and fast pass guests to a special kickoff ceremony.

Planet Comicon Founder and CEO Chris Jackson revealed to Ms. Kramer that he created the convention to celebrate the city’s passion for all things pop culture related.  He also introduced new attractions that made their convention debut which included the Planet Entertainment Zone that demonstrations by local Kansas City talents such as the Mesner Puppet Theater, magicians, the Science City STEAM Team, and nerd band Clearly Guilty.

Another group that made an impact on the opening day stage was the National Wrasslin’ League (NWL).  NWL founder Major Baisden was joined by both Dax Draper, the NWL Kansas City Champion, and Todd Letterman, the NWL St. Louis Champion. Mr. Baisden stated that he founded the NWL to rekindle the “pro sports story” of the rivalry between the two Midwest towns that feature larger-than-life characters. After Baisden had broken up a brief skirmish between his two champions, Kramer invited one of Planet Comicon’s youngest attendees, Davey and his family up to fulfill a lifelong wish: meet the legendary Sith Lord-Darth Vader.

Actor Spencer Wilding bonds with Davey at the 2017 Planet Comicon press conference. (Photo property of Jake’s Take)

Actor Spencer Wilding, who portrayed the tragic villain in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, walked up to the stage accompanied by numerous Jedi and Sith cosplayers who dressed up as key franchise characters such as Jedi Masters Qui-Gon Jinn, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and the Force Awakens’ older Luke Skywalker.  As Davey and the Darth Vader actor interacted, Olathe Northwest High School’s engineering program, Engineer a Better World, presented Davey with his very own TIE Fighter. The group logged over 350 working hours to bring Davey’s personal TIE Fighter and told him that he hoped enjoyed using the vehicle at the convention.

As everyone headed up to the stairs, Planet Comicon attendees headed off in numerous directions. Some dashed to Celebrity Row in hopes of collecting the autographs of geek culture icons including Stephen Amell, John Barrowman, Felicia Day, Jason Isaacs, Catherine Tate, and Wil Wheaton. Fans checked out the creations of the Crafters’ Alley exhibitors, while gamers headed to Tabletop Gaming’s room to see which of the hundreds of board games or card games that they could play.

However, if you could ask any convention attendee where the main action took place, they might have narrowed it down to three areas: Artist’s Alley, the 2100 panel rooms, and the Great Hall.


Chris Claremont at Planet Comicon

Celebrated “X-Men” writer Chris Claremont met with fans at Planet Comicon. (Photo property of Jake’s Take)

In Artists’ Alley, guests mingled with local creators and Planet Comicon mainstays such as Jason Aaron, Dennis Hopeless, Phil Hester, Ande Parks, Don Rosa, and Rick Stasi. Others waited in line for iconic and legendary creators such as King of the Hill artist Joel Adams, DC Comics illustrator Neal Adams, X-Men writer Chris Claremont, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles co-creator Kevin Eastman, Nick Fury creator Jim Steranko and Star Wars author Timothy Zahn.

Both the 2100 panel rooms and the Great Hall were packed with pop culture fans as they heard from their favorite creator or media superstar.  Highlights from the panels included the Reign queens’ (Adelaide Kane and Rachel Skarsten) powerful message of “women to support other women in the entertainment industry,” actor Jason Isaacs revealing that Lucius Malfoy is someone looking for power and should not be considered a villain,  how fans inspired the Harley Quinn creative team to create the popular DC antiheroine’s outrageous costumes, and Kansas City native David Dastmalchian revealed that he wanted to portray the Joker after being a henchman for Batman’s arch foe in The Dark Knight and FOX’s Gotham.

John Barrowman’s Planet Comicon panel brought down the house. (Photo property of Jake’s Take)

However, the panel that stole Planet Comicon this year belonged to John Barrowman.  The Arrow and Doctor Who fan-favorite began his panel by prancing around the stage in a Tardis dress and stockings to the delight of the crowd.  The 50-year-old actor revealed everything from fellow Arrow star Stephen Amell’s birthday surprise to his experience being naked on the Doctor Who set.  Also, he was a constant professional throughout his panel as the stage suddenly came tumbling down shocking fans.  He also advised the show’s volunteers (affectionately known as the Minions) to leave the clean-up to the professionals.

Ron Burgundy Planet Comicon

Ron Burgundy took a break from San Diego to visit Planet Comicon. (Photo property of Jake’s Take)

Once again, Planet Comicon proved that its attendees have some of the best cosplayers around. While I saw some of the usual suspects such as Batman, Captain America, Deadpool, Harley Quinn, Joker, and Spider-Man, there were superb interpretations of magical warriors such Doctor Strange, Enchantress, and old school Rita Repulsa.  Also, there were creative cosplayers who brought The Hunchback of Notre Dame’s Clopin, It’s Pennywise, and Ron Burgandy to the convention hall floor.

Next year, Planet Comicon will celebrate its 20th anniversary, and I firmly believe it will be a party that no Midwest pop culture lover cannot miss!

For more information about Planet Comicon, visit their website.

You can see all the photos that I took at Planet Comicon by visiting my Facebook page.

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Copyright 2019 Jacob Elyachar