Vic Mignogna, center, a popular animé voice actor and star of 'Star Trek Continues,' will make an appearance at the Midwest Media Expo. (Far From Home LLC)
Metro Detroit is getting a bit geekier this year as two conventions new to the city will be held at the Renaissance Center.
First up is the inaugural Midwest Media Expo from the creators of the anime convention Youmacon. It will be held April 25-27 and will focus on a wide range of fan pursuits, from TV and films to gaming, comic books and Internet culture.
Organizer Morgan Kollin promises it will be more than a comic book convention.
“We’re looking to cover a significantly larger base than that,” he says. “We’re looking to put on an actual fan-based show. We’re also looking to cover sci-fi, fantasy, role playing and video gaming ... Internet culture. First and foremost, we’re an event specifically for fans.
“We’re looking to pull in a lot of people who are more Internet-based than comic-based. We’re putting a very large emphasis on tabletop gaming, as well.”
The guest list seems to bear that out. There are several announcements to come, but so far, the show has booked Vic Mignogna, a popular animé voice actor who is starring in a new web-based “Star Trek” fan series with professional credentials called “Star Trek Continues.” He plays Capt. Kirk. The series also features original Mr. Scott James Doohan’s son, Chris Doohan, in his father’s role. Other confirmed guests include Disney animator James Lopez (“Princess and the Frog”), comic book artist Adam Warren (“Empowered”), and cast and crew from the Web series “The World of Steam.”
The show will take place on the same weekend as Chicago’s C2E2, another more broadly based pop culture show, but one that has a heavy comic element.
“We’re not worried because we’re looking to offer a much different show,” Kollin says. “The event is 24 hours. ... We’re expecting to be running stuff nonstop for people.”
For sci-fi/fantasy fans, the North American Science Fiction Convention will be held July 17-20. It is a traveling convention held in years when the World Science Fiction Society’s international convention, Worldcon, is held outside North America. This year, Worldcon will be held in August in London, and Detroit was chosen for Detcon1 after a group of local fans lobbied the organization.
“At its core, it’s a literary convention,” says con chair Tammy Coxen, who’s also involved with the local January ConFusion show. “We’ll have a lot of authors talking about the craft of writing. In addition, we’ll also be having a science-fiction film festival.”
Guests include TV writer and novelist Steven Barnes (“The Outer Limits”), young adult fiction author Nnedi Okorafor (“Long Juju Man”), award-winning cover artist John Picacio, iRobot co-founder Helen Greiner and musicians Bill and Brenda Sutton.
The convention is accepting donations for its Fantastic Detroit Fund to cover attendance fees for fans having financial difficulties.
“We wanted to be accessible to everyone,” Coxen says. “This is an international convention. It will be attracting people from all over the United States and Canada, as well as overseas.”
Organizers also are accepting nominations through the end of the month for the 2014 Golden Duck young adult sci-fi writing award. Detcon1 also will be a 24-hour event with gaming and maker space for creative types.
Both shows will have a variety of vendors, panels, workshops and costume events.
Detroit Marriott at the Renaissance Center
400 Renaissance Center
Midwest Media Expo
$40-100 for a three-day pass (pre-registration online), $25-50 at the door ($10 youth pass for 12 and younger)
$25-65 (pre-registration online)
Read the Geek Watch blog at detroitnews.com/geekwatch.