The Crescent City began 2019 with heroes and superstars. From the weekend of Friday, January 4th to Sunday, January 6th, the ninth-annual New Orleans Comic Con was held at the Morial Convention Center. The annual convention of all things pop-culture has become something of an annual tradition; and as one of the most colorful events in one of America’s liveliest cities, this year’s event was certainly entertaining.
Some of the biggest draws of Comic-Con are the celebrity guests, and every year the convention gets a unique lineup of A-listers (in 2018, New Orleans had the honor of welcoming Marvel legend Stan Lee—one of his last fan appearances before his unfortunate passing in November). For 2019, NOCC brought a range of big names from across blockbusters, television, books, and more. The most titanic personality was probably Jason Momoa, who starred in the Warner Bros’s DC Cinematic Universe films such as 2017’s Justice League and his recent solo film, the international hit Aquaman which has eclipsed one billion dollars in its global box office take. Momoa was at the con on Friday and Saturday to greet fans and sign autographs along with other personalities such as Mads Mikkelsen (of Disney’s Rogue One and Doctor Strange blockbusters) and Jon Bernthal (of Netflix’s Marvel series Daredevil and The Punisher).
In addition to just meeting big names, the con was host to a variety of panels and Q&As for talents to share their experiences with fans. Saturday’s panel guests included the cast of CW’s The Vampire Diaries as well as Outlander’s Sophie Skelton, Richard Rankin, Lotte Verbeek, and source novel author Diana Gabaldon. In addition to on-screen actors, Comic-Con hosted a fascinating panel on voice acting for animation and video games, headed by Scott Innes of the Scooby-Doo franchise (who has also made a name for himself locally on Baton Rouge’s radio circuit) and Patricia Summersett of Nintendo’s Legend of Zelda games.
Amidst all of the talent around the convention center, Comic-Con upheld its namesake. The convention floor was lined with multiple local comic shops selling comics ranging from the Silver Age to the present day. Another interesting panel was on Ghost Empire, an upcoming documentary film detailing the history of Harvey Comics, a children’s comic book publisher that saw a great deal of success in the mid-twentieth century. Ghost Empire, in addition, is being directed by 2017 Tulane grad Jonny Harvey, who fostered his voice at the Freeman Business School and the Hullabaloo.
Despite its countless panels, industry guests, and comic issues on display, New Orleans Comic Con is an event centered around the fans. New Orleans is one of Wizard World’s most successful locations, with crowds regularly reaching the 10,000 visitor mark. Countless pop culture fans from New Orleans, Louisiana, and beyond are happy to come to the convention, many of them wearing cosplays that can take days or weeks to construct and perfect. The Morial Convention Center might normally be known for business meetings, trade conferences, and the odd Mardi Gras ball; however, once a year it becomes a must-see center for geeks everywhere. Comic-con might be a unique New Years’ tradition, but it’s one I think New Orleans should be happy to have.
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