This past Saturday my wife Nicki and I headed up to the Memphis Comics and Fantasy Con at the Hilton Memphis, or “Tin Can” as locals like myself call it. It has become the home for a few local conventions including the Anime Blues Con and MidSouthCon.


The convention is a blend of comics and fantasy, with some anime, Lego, cosplay, dealers, and other things thrown in. There was a good mix of things to do for kids of all ages.


The Lego areas were very popular with many attendees. There was a Lego city which had a Lego Hall of Justice  and working Lego train. There were also tables set up for attendees to build their own Lego creations.


One of the big attractions at the con was a replica 1960’s Batmobile which belonged to con guest Jerry “The King” Lawler.


Jerry, a Memphian and big comics fan, was there to take pics and sign autographs, as well as do con sketches. In addition to being a famous WWE wrestler/announcer he’s also an artist and has done work in comics. It was great to get to see his new ride in person.


The main guest of honor was voice actor Jess Harnell. Jess is best known as the voice of Wakko from “Animaniacs“, but has voiced countless other cartoon and video game characters, done commercial voice-over work, been the announcer on “America’s Funniest Videos”, and is the lead singer for Rock Sugar– an amazing band that does some hilarious pop/rock mash-ups.


Nicki and I got to catch most of Jess’ Q&A panel that afternoon where Jess answered questions about the various characters he’s voiced (many times in one of those voices), how he got into voice acting, actors he’s worked with, and the status of Rock Sugar’s legal “Journey”. He also gave advice on getting into show business and even did some personalized video greetings for fans.


I got to ask Jess the last question of the panel, which was, “You’re known for doing so many characters and fantastic celebrity impressions, have you ever had a voice or impression that no matter how hard you tried you just couldn’t nail- and how do you handle those situations?” Jess said, “Yes- and you’ll never hear them!” He said if he doesn’t feel comfortable with a certain impression he will politely pass on it and suggest another voice actor, and only do ones that he feels are good enough.


After the Q&A panel Jess moved outside the ballroom to sign autographs, pose for pics, and talk more with fans. He thanked me for my question and we talked briefly about “Comic Book: The Movie“, Rob Paulsen‘s “Talkin Toons” podcast, Drake and Zeke, and Memphis in May Music Fest. Unfortunately I’ve been out of town when Rock Sugar played Memphis, and since Nicki and I had plans to go to the Orpheum Theatre’s Annual Auction  we missed out on Jess’ live concert at the con on Saturday night with the Memphis School of Rock.


I finally got a hold of a copy of Rock Sugar’s CD “Reimaginator“- it ROCKS! I’ve wanted one for a few years now and have enjoyed playing it in the car and at work a lot. They are a bit hard to come by these days. Hoping they come out with a new one soon!


Across the hall from Jess was writer/director and fellow Memphian Craig Brewer. Picked up a signed copy of his first movie “The Poor & The Hungry“, some signed mini-movie posters, and talked a bit about mutual friends and his movies “Hustle & Flow” and “Black Snake Moan“. Really nice guy.


We hit the dealers room a few times while we were there that afternoon, and saw some friends and familiar faces like cartoonists Lonnie Easterling and Charles Ettinger (above). They are both members of The MidSouth Cartoonists Association in town.


The dealer room was bigger than other cons I’ve attended at this hotel, but it still felt a bit cramped at times. Not sure if they could really expand too much more in that space. There was a decent mix of artists, authors, comics, books, toys, tees, buttons, prints, and posters. Nicki and I made our way around and bought some Dr. Who and Batman merch, talked to friends, and took a few shots of some cosplayers.



There wasn’t a ton of cosplyers at the con, but a decent amount of folks dressed up. We did see our friends Kimberly Dunaway (Teela above) and Kelldar (Batgirl above) and several Dr. Who fans around the hotel. Nicki was sporting her 4th Doctor hat, scarf, and sonic screwdriver, plus her 10th Doctor TARDIS jersey (from  Geeky Jerseys).


We had a gOOD time at the con, and after a few hours of checking it out we slid by Swanky’s for some lunch before heading downtown for the Orpheum auction. Thanks to Joe, Allan, and the MCFC staff and volunteers for putting on a great show and bringing in great guests. Hope to make it back next year.