Attendance is expected to triple at the SWFL SpaceCon 2018 event this weekend, the area’s second annual convention focused on all things comic books, superheroes and sci-fi.
“It’s like a big costume contest,” said Michelle Wassall, event organizer at the company Nexus9. “There’s a bunch of vendors, pop culture stuff, toys, collectibles. All different kinds of geeky-related stuff to do. Magic Tournaments and Pokémon gaming events.”
At the first event last year, the Fort Myers hotel venue was packed with fans dressed in cosplay. About 3,000 adults and children showed up that weekend.
This year, SpaceCon has upgraded its space, and Ms. Wassall expects more than 10,000 fans to pack the Lee Civic Center over the course of the two-day event, Saturday and Sunday, June 16 and 17.
“We haven’t had a comic book convention in Fort Myers for many years,” Ms. Wassall said. “St. Pete and Tampa have their own. Most of our guests are from the Southwest Florida area.”
That’s why Nexus9 decided to fill the void last year. The inaugural event featured mostly sci-fi writers, but this year promises even bigger names, including Marina Sirtis, who played Counselor Deanna Troi on “Star Trek: The Next Generation”; Robin Shelby, actress and producer best known for the 2016 reboot of “Ghostbusters”; and George Lowe, voice of “Space Ghost Coast to Coast,” of Cartoon Network.
With ticket prices set at just $10 for adults and $5 for kids, Ms. Wassall said the goal is to offer an affordable local event to cater to fans of the genre in this area.
Nexus9 will also be putting on a second SWFL SteamCon event in October with a focus on another sci-fi subset: steampunk, addressing a popular sci-fi question of what if at the same time Victorians developed steam-powered machinery, they also had advanced technology?
Q&A with George Lowe
George Lowe is the voice behind “Space Ghost Coast to Coast,” the 1990s reincarnation of a 1960s character, wherein a cartoon host interviewed actual celebrities on a fictional late-night talk show. The show aired on Cartoon Network and Adult Swim. Mr. Lowe went on to voice characters on “Aqua Teen Hunger Force” and “Robot Chicken.”
Q: The humor on “Space Ghost” was weird enough to appeal to kids, but really there were a lot of jokes aimed at a much older audience. I bet that made it fun to do.
A: The humor, it carries. When I was little, it was Rocky and Bullwinkle, the same thing. You know you were watching Natasha and Boris as a kid and not really think about it, and they’d slip in all these things for the grownups and it was like, thank you, Rocky and Bullwinkle. It was great.
Q: Space Ghost was packed with that kind of off-the-wall humor and non-sequiters. How did you guys make it work?
A: We were like that period in art called Dada. We would just decide, no we didn’t want to do that. Then if we got bored we would do something formula. And we would use the guests, too. We would start rolling tape as soon as they sat down. And we had just brilliant writers. We were just eight or nine crazy people put together and everybody had a different sensibility, and everyone’s sensibility was welcomed, including one of our editors, Tom Roche, who used to put his name upside down in the credits.
Q: Would you ever consider another reboot of the show in some kind of an online format?
A: I just wish somebody would say, we’ve got some money and we’ve got some small backing and we’d like to do six of them with you sitting in the chair and just have on great guests. And I’m convinced it would be so anti-television that people would see it. It would be a blast. ¦
SWFL SpaceCon 2018
>> When: 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on June 16-17
>> Where: Lee Civic Center, 11831 Bayshore Road, North Fort Myers
>> Info: www.swflspacecon.com
>> Tickets: $10 adults, $5 kids
>> Parking: $5 parking fee
>> Get $2 off if you’re wearing a SWFL SpaceCon shirt.