By Avery Wood
As Comic Con Palm Springs draws nearer, occurring August 25-27 at the Palm Springs Convention Center, founder Christopher Spellman is working to bring even more features and developments to the event.
Stan Lee is confirmed to be in attendance once again, after enjoying the event last year. He cut the ribbon at the inaugural Comic Con Palm Springs and the mayor declared August 26th Stan Lee Day in Palm Springs.
Not only will Stan Lee himself be there, but according to Spellman, this is going to be “the only convention on the west coast to have the Stan Lee museum,” which is a massive display of Stan Lee memorabilia and iconic contributions like collectible editions of his comics. Spellman hasn’t yet seen the collection and doesn’t have any specifics, but considering the breadth of Lee’s influence, it’s sure to be impressive.
Stan Lee’s manager put the museum together and Spellman also notes that “Stan Lee’s and his management team are the producers of [the] event. That’s what brings a highly regarded upper echelon Comic Con to the Coachella Valley among many other shows is because Stan Lee’s manager and Stan Lee are actually part of the producing team.” Spellman explains that this is notable because Stan Lee’s Comikaze, for instance, is not produced by Stan Lee or his management team and will not be hosting the Stan Lee Museum.
Procuring Stan Lee’s participation in Comic Con Palm Springs was not especially difficult, thanks to the appeal of the location. “I’ve been in the business for a long time, in the entertainment business… and when we met up and I told him about doing it in Palm Springs they were very excited. They already had eyes for doing it in Palm Springs so we joined forces,” Spellman says.
Spellman indicates that Stan Lee’s team is integral to the event, saying, “They are bringing the biggest names in the comic book area, so we just booked a huge person to the industry… we just landed a very famous comic book artist… J. Scott Campbell.” Campbell is best known for his work “Danger Girl” and on the cover art of The Amazing Spider Man and has worked as a writer and artist for many other series. They were also able to book one of the most notable stars from The Walking Dead Khary Payton who portrays “King Ezekiel.” The biggest and rarest booking is icon Lynda Carter for a concert in the evening. According to Spellman, booking Lynda Carter is a first for any Comic Con. “Lynda Carter in concert at a Comic Con. She’s never stepped foot in a Comic Con before,” he explains. “She’s not going to be there during the day on the exhibit floor, but for her to do her concert at a Comic Con is pretty unique.” Spellman goes on to say, “She loved Palm Springs… we all just worked hard on bringing her to do her concert at the Comic Con and for 50 people there’s going to be a VIP ticket to go back stage, meet her, get an autograph and take a picture with her.”
Another feature that’s expected to be a big draw is Sean Rich’s Weaponry of Pirates of the Caribbean display. Sean Rich is also known for being the weapons expert on the TV show Pawn Stars. Other events include a Zombie Burlesque Show, Pop up Zombie Café and a Zombie walk. Tom Kenny, Troy Baker and Jess Harnell are all in bands performing at the event. There will also be an after party on both Friday and Saturday night. “BB’s going to produce the one on Friday and there’s going to be another one on Saturday with live bands and DJ’s… some of the talent will come and hang out,” Spellman says, though it’s unknown whether or not Stan Lee will be in attendance at the after parties. “He’ll be there all three days signing and taking photos. We hope he’ll come back every year.” Spellman notes. “He loves the event. He thought it was the best first year Comic Con he ever had been to. He actually said that. He told the crowd when he did one of his panels.”
Comic Con Palm Springs is unique in that they “provide a lot of experiences,” which, according to Spellman is feedback that the event has received multiple times. “There are a lot of things to do other than just walk the vendor floor. We’re going to have the Symphony Pop Live show again, which is a live orchestra and choir playing the music to pop culture movies like Star Wars, Game of Thrones, Superman and everybody’s favorite pop culture movies and TV shows, they play the live music while the clips from those programs are playing on large screens. We’ll have double the size Arcade Expo, double the size Lego Room, the Zombie walk. We’re doing something called Twisted Toonz, reading Back to the Future… that’s Tom Kenny (Spongebob), Jess Harnell from the Animaniacs, Troy Baker who’s a video game legend… Khary Payton… they’re going to all do a script reading in their own cartoon voices from Back to the Future. It’s done at only the biggest Comic Cons like Seattle, Salt Lake City, New York, and they’re going to be doing it at ours.”
To purchase tickets or view a full list of events visit comicconpalmsprings.com. General admission tickets start at $25 for one day, three day membership is $57, and VIP three day membership is $97 and includes early admission Friday, entrance to the Saturday night after party and more.