Gamer Comic Con Review by Jarett Rutsky ~
Miami has been home to several comic style cons throughout the years. From November 9-12, 2018, the inaugural Gamer Comic Expo took over the Miami Airport Convention Center (MACC). This brand-new con was slightly different than your typical convention. Over half of the main convention floor was dedicated to gaming. They even had professional gamers brought in to meet their fans and join in the fun. While gaming is fun, I was there for the rest of the convention. Actors from all walks of the Disney universe were supposed to be there, and I intended to soak in as much Disney as I could.
The original line-up of guests was jammed packed with Disney talent. Unfortunately, a few cancelled just days before, and some after the convention started, so none of the panels I had originally planned to attend happened. I did have the pleasure of meeting, Charles Fleisher (The voice of Roger Rabbit) and was able to speak to him for a few minutes. He’s a great guy and loved portraying that wacky rabbit we all fell in love with. For those of you that have never been to Disneyland, did you know there is a Roger Rabbit ride? Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin is a whimsical ride following Roger Rabbit on his adventure. Before I left for the day, I went to see the cosplay guests. This was the highlight of my day as I met the Estrada sisters. Aileen, Samantha, and Carmen Estrada live in Canada, and this was their first American convention. They were dressed as characters from Coco and they were fantastic! They were by far, my favorites of the entire convention. Carmen was Miguel. Samantha was Hector. Aileen was Mama Imelda. They love cosplaying Disney groups, and would later be seen as characters from the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, and Disney princesses. I’d love to see them featured at more cons across the country.
The next day proved to be much busier. Fans packed the MACC, as electricity buzzed amongst vendors, celebrities, and guests. A bulk of celebs showed up including William Shatner and Danny Trejo. Did you know that Danny Trejo has done voices on Elena of Avalor, Tangled the Series, and the new Mickey Mouse cartoons?
Once I was done exploring the convention floor, I went to check out the panels and was ecstatic to find out that one of the people I wanted to meet had finally arrived. Have you ever watched Star Wars Rebels? If so you know his voice well. Taylor Gray was the voice of Ezra Bridger for all 4 seasons of Star Wars Rebels. He also had a part in Walt before Mickey portraying Friz Freleng. We sat down to talk about his time on the show and what the future may bring. When Taylor first got the part he had never seen any of the animated Star Wars shows. To prepare for the roll he watched all of the Star Wars Clone Wars series. This was the first time he was able to study a Jedi’s path that wasn’t Luke Skywalker. When the show started, Taylor was around the same age as Ezra, so together they grew. He said it was a great experience of figuring out life the same way Ezra would deal with the light and dark side of the Force. With Galaxy’s Edge coming to Hollywood Studios and Disneyland, he is hoping that the Rebels characters will have some influence. He could not say anything specific, but his smile spoke volumes. With Disney+ set to launch in 2019, original Star Wars shows will be bringing new adventures to fans around the world. (Spoiler alert) Since Ezra lived on in the Star Wars Rebels finale, it is very possible he will resurface. Several characters from Rebels were shown in, Solo: A Star Wars Story, so Taylor is very hopeful that he can one day play a live action version of his popular character.
On the last day of the convention, there was another strong turn out by fans, and a few more celebs showed up. Today the two professional gamers arrived, Myth and Hamlinz. The lines to meet the two of them would stretch to lengths 10 times any of the celebrities, even William Shatner. The expo was hosting a Fortnite tournament with over $10,000 in prizes. This made the convention floor busier at the beginning of the day but thinned out as the tournament started.
From the second I saw he was announced as a guest, I knew I’d have to see Brett Dalton’s Marvel’s: Agents of Shield panel. For those of you that don’t know, Brett played the role of good agent turned Hydra operative, Grant Ward. He may have played a tough as nails character, but he was a very friendly with a great sense of humor. On screen the Shield agents looked like one big happy family for the first two seasons. This may have looked so genuine because Brett says they were one big happy family. It was a great work environment and they loved each other. He could not have asked for a better cast to have around him. When his character was revealed to be a spy, he had only gotten the script days in advance. This came as shock to him and was the biggest turning point he had experience. He quickly morphed into his new persona and really took Grant Ward to a new level. His most memorable scene was his last when he was finally killed off. He grew up loving Marvel comics and if given the chance would love to play Loki someday. Loki has always been his favorite, but playing Grant Ward, he would also love to see more on his character. It was a pleasure sitting in on his panel and getting some great information.
Overall, Gamer Comic Expo was pretty good. As with any first-time convention, there were bumps in the road, but they were quickly smoothed out. I would highly recommend going to the expo next year if you are in the Miami area. It was very affordable and great for all ages. If the way the staff adapted as the weekend progressed is any sign of how next year will be, then it should be fantastic!
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