Does the perfect comic convention exist? I’ve attended many conventions from coast to coast including very large ones like International Comic Con in San Diego, Wonder Con, LA Con and Baltimore Con; I’ve been to smaller conventions like Great American Comic Con, Galacticon, and San Diego Comic Fest as well. I can honestly say that although I’ve thoroughly enjoyed them all, Rocket Con’s fully immersive experience is unparalleled and provided for a truly magical weekend for this attendee. This show had everything from highly accomplished artists, writers, voice actors, directors, movie actors, and professional athletes to local and up and coming artists, gaming opportunities, cosplay, toys, and tons of merchandise. There was far more to see and do than a weekend could allow, but it didn’t stop me from trying.
After quickly scoping the layout of the convention, I attended a must-see panel titled “Saturday Morning Cartoons.” It featured Larry Houston (Producer / Director of X-men the Animated Series and many other works), Jamie Sullivan (Cover Artist for IDW’s GI Joe and toy and comic artist), and Josh Keaton (Voice actor known for voicing Spider-Man in Spectacular Spider-Man, Captain America in What If? And numerous other roles). This panel was very inspirational and informative for anyone wanting to learn more about all of the various facets involved in making a successful cartoon show.
There were many other panels to choose from throughout the event covering topics such as producing anime, discussing Dragon Ball Z, meeting Power Rangers, writing tips, trivia, cover art, auditioning, or my personal favorite, a panel in which I got to discuss X-Men: TAS with Larry Houston!
If you are a Power Rangers fan, then Rocket Con was the place to be this weekend. The Power Rangers In Space cast celebrated the 25th anniversary of the “series that saved the Power Rangers.” Apart from their two reunion panels, the cast members were very friendly and approachable throughout the show.
You didn’t have to venture very far from the Power Rangers to meet several highly talented voice actors. I very much enjoyed my conversations with Josh Keaton and Sandy Fox. I could have talked with them for hours. The most difficult part was deciding what to take home with me from their impressive resumes. From Josh, I decided to get a print with a quote of his from Marvel’s What If? I now owe it to him to watch his performance in Spectacular Spider-Man and let him know what I think next time we meet. From Sandy, I found the Unicorn print from Sailor’s Moon to be the perfect gift for my 16 month old daughter as her bedroom has a prevailing unicorn theme. Now it really is magical.
The voice actors from Dragon Ball Z, Kyle Hebert, Stephanie Nadolny, and Mark Britten were also delightful to meet. You could catch them at their Panel, Going Super Saiyan or stop by their booth nearly anytime. They even delivered this exceptional Kamehameha wave pose!
There were also so many highly talented comic writers and artists. Each of them was highly approachable and eager to talk with attendees. The aforementioned Jamie Sullivan had a collection of his works, especially GI Joe, on display for purchase. He was very engaging and personable. It was like hanging out with a long-lost friend. I was also happy to be able to get both a book for my collection and one for a friend who is a big fan of his.
Joel Gomez and his wife Beth Sotelo were also such a delight to spend time with. Both being passionate about their work, it was exciting to learn about La Muerta, Lady Mechanika, and Grump firsthand! I hope to see them again so we can converse again after I’ve had the chance to read these books.
For the past several years, I’ve seen images and write ups of David Booher’s Canto. As soon as I saw his booth at Rocket Con, I wanted to kick myself for still having not read Canto even though the artwork and premise had called out to me. Fortunately, David also had a warm personality and was happy to talk about Canto, the show, family life, or anything else that came up. He also had a sweet deal if you bought more than one cover. Now I have no excuse to put off reading Canto any longer. I may just have to review it in the near future as well.
It wouldn’t be a con if there weren’t show exclusives. There was a beautiful Rocket Con exclusive cover for Machi the Lazy Witch #1 by Jim Cheung and Raven Monroe. Unfortunately, I didn’t learn about Raven’s contribution until I had left and am still kicking myself for not meeting her and having her sign this beautiful book as well.
In addition to missing Raven, there were a few other big names that many attendees had the pleasure of meeting such as the legendary TMNT co creator Kevin Eastman. He and Pokevault were only available on Saturday. There was even a concert available for free to all badge holders on Saturday featuring Caleb Hiles and Jonathan Young! This con had so much that you would really need a few extra days to see everyone, but I was determined to make the best of the time I had and succeeded.
I was also able to pick up another Rocket Con exclusive, Immortal Era, from the Finish Line Comic’s booth. I had met Edward Davis at a signing at TC’s Rockets a few years ago. He’s a brilliant writer from a smaller publisher. Check it out. There were also additional exclusives available including Rick and Morty’s Big Dum Summer Vacation at David Roman’s booth and the Exiled at Morpheus’s booth.
Are you into horror movies? I was thrilled to meet Robert Mukes from House of 1,000 Corpses. Don’t let his menacing 6’10” stature fool you. He was very inviting and happy to talk about anything from the movie to the convention. I also happened to park next to him on Day 2 and enjoyed another pleasant conversation. I need to get this print framed.
Speaking of behemoths, wrestling great, Rikishi was making his fan’s dreams come true throughout the weekend. The happiness and joy were contagious.
Did I mention yet that Sam De La Rosa was at Rocket Con this weekend? Shame on me! The comic book legend, most known for his work on Venom: Lethal Protector was very busy signing books and creating remarques for his adoring fans throughout the event. It’s amazing how quickly he could create amazing remarques like these pictured. I might add that I also have the negative Venom print shown in the upper left-hand corner of Sam’s display, signed by him, and hanging on my wall.
Are you an aspiring artist or writer? Whatever you need for your craft, you likely could find it at Rocket Con. There were numerous vendors who sold art supplies or would give pointers. I was able to learn much about the comic book publishing process from stopping by Odyssey Comic’s booth for example.
Are you into cosplaying? How am I just now getting to talking about cosplay?! There were amazing costumes on display and a killer contest. You could also buy any number of costumes and accessories.
There were also professional cosplay groups and special interest groups available to check out such as Ghostbusters, SciFiCoalition, and Legacy Cosplay Society.
I can’t imagine TC’s Rockets ever putting on an event that didn’t involve playing games. Rocket Con did not disappoint in this arena either. They had a dedicated Dungeons and Dragons room (a game I still need to learn how to play), a space simulator flight game, and a Pokemon room that also had custom-built arcade games available to play. Dragon Ball Z built over Marvel vs Capcom was awesome! They also had vendors selling really cool looking die with die towers.
Rocket Con also had no shortage of vintage toys, unique artwork and supplies. There was so much fun to be had without worrying how you would be able to protect your precious books and artwork.
Finally, I cannot stress enough how enjoyable this show was. There was nothing but positive vibes all weekend. I had second thoughts about traveling all the way from Baltimore and leaving my family behind for the weekend (I tried to bring them!) However, this weekend was the self-care weekend I didn’t know just how badly I needed until I returned home all refreshed and renewed. Rocket Con has that kind of magic. I certainly intend on returning next year, and I hope to see you there!