(Crystal A. Proxmire, May 22, 2017)
Novi, MI – Motor City Comic Con is an epic event for all involved, including the vendors, the participants and the stars who come from all over the world to meet their fans.
Among the attendees was Henchman #21 from the Venture Brothers, who normally goes by the name of Joe Paris from Warren.
Paris did not don his costume for the first day of the celebration, but decided to be bold the second. He even enlisted the help of a friend to carry his backpack for the day. “I can’t wear it because of the wings,” he said.
“I go every year and usually just people-watch, but this time I did the extra effort and wanted to see what it was like to dress up,” Paris said. “I picked this character because I wanted to be someone no one ever thinks of. Everyone wants to be Batman or a Ghostbuster, but who ever thinks of the lowly henchmen?
“People who know, they get it right away, but a lot of people ask, ‘what are you, are you a butterfly or something?’”
When asked what the difference has been between dressing up and not, Paris said. “The first day I got to do a lot more and just enjoy it for myself. Today I get stopped all the time for pictures and it’s harder for me to get to see all I want. But it’s making other people happy and that’s kind of neat. That’s what Comic Con is all about, people having fun. I like it.”
For the stars of movies and comics, getting out and meeting fans is part of the job. Dozens of famous people had booths, charging between $20-$60 for autographed glossy pictures and the chance to pose with someone they admire. Among the stars this year were Barbara Eden, Anthony Michael Hall, Billie Piper, Dennis Rodman, John Frances Daley, LeVar Burton, Rob Schneider, Sean Astin, and Ron Perlman.
John Barrowman from Dr. Who was a gigantic hit, with a line unrivaled by any of the other stars. He also spoke at a panel about his work, even giving some bold advice for gender non-conforming kids after being asked by Marci Lempert. “I would say just be yourself, it’s the only thing you can do is be your self and live your truth and the life that’s true to you. It may be difficult for some, but my philosophy, and I’m saying this really bluntly, sorry for swearing. If someone in your life doesn’t like you, then fuck ‘em okay.”
The human desires for expressiveness, creativity and freedom from schools, offices, work uniforms and other social norms were vibrant through the three-day Comic Con event. Over 50,000 people attended.
Brian Jaye is a commercial litigation attorney by day, and the owner of “The Toy Closet” in his “free” time. Specializing in vintage toys and comics, the Rochester man enjoys “helping kids discover new heroes” and “seeing how adults remember their childhood. It’s nostalgia. It takes you back to simpler times, before mortgages and paying bills.”
In the few short minutes of his interview, Jaye stopped to help a young boy count the fistful of Micro Machine trucks that would set his parents back a couple dollars, and to talk with six year old Calvin Evans of Ypsilanti who looked from behind his Batman mask for anything with the Joker on it. Instead he picked a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle playset. “Batman is cool because he flies,” Evans said, adding that the turtles are cool “because they are all friends.”
For Jaye the fun also comes from the bigger finds and the unique items. Among his treasures is a $7,500 comic book that introduced the world to Spider Man, and Star Wars figurines from around the world. One that he really likes is the Turkish Darth Vader, whose name is Uza on the packaging.
In addition to the shows Jaye runs The Toy Closet at 145 S. Livernois #176 in Rochester, and he has some of his most unique Star Wars items on display at the Orion Township Library for Star Wars month.
“It just helps bring people together, like we are all part of the same stories,” he said.
Motor City Comic Con is an annual event. Learn more at http://motorcitycomiccon.com/.