Birmingham, AL
March 15, 2008
Story and Photos by Anthony Pagano (gorkoracing)

 

INTRODUCTION
This was OmegaCon’s first year and it was a blast. The convention was held over the course of 3 days at the Sheraton Hotel across the street from the Birmingham Jefferson Convention Complex in downtown Birmingham, AL. This Con was not just for Star Wars fans but for anyone who enjoys Sci-Fi and Fantasy. They had it all from Star Wars, Star Trek, Babylon 5 and Harry Potter to Celtic, Literature, Art, Music, and even the paranormal. While I was only there for Saturday’s events I had a great time and look forward to attending another OmegaCon in 2009.

As you walked into the huge Sheraton Hotel its very overwhelming as to where you were supposed to go and what all was going on and where as I believe the Con was spread over 4 floors. I actually had to call a fellow trooper, Snowtrooper Monk, for some guidance when I walked in. He met me up front and showed me around a bit. We saw Peter Mayhew going into an auditorium so after standing in the line to get my $15 day pass, which moved pretty quickly, we were off. We went into the auditorium to hear a bit from Chewbacca and a Scout/Stormtrooper (Mayhew and Lightning Bear) about what it was like filming the Star Wars movies in a Q & A panel. Hearing things that went on behind the scenes of making some of the best movies ever is always a good time. From hearing about a snow and ice covered Wookiee in Empire Strikes Back melting and being soaked and making giant puddles wherever he stood when they’d go back indoors from shooting to hearing about working with green screens and interacting with CGI characters that aren’t really there when filming ROTS we got to hear a lot of great stories.

After the panel Snowtrooper Monk and I were off again. We went down to the main show area where the organization booths were. I got to meet some of the Alabama Garrison 501st members and checked out their booth for a little bit. After that we made our way into the dealer’s room where there was everything you could possibly imagine sci-fi and fantasy related available. We looked at a good bit of modern stuff which seemed to have the usual convention markup but there were what seemed like some pretty decent deals on vintage carded figures from one seller. His prices seemed pretty good actually which makes me wish I would have brought more money with me.

After spending some time browsing the dealer room we headed over to the celebrity room so I could get all my goodies autographed. First stop was Lightning Bear. He was a nice guy and surprised me by having quite a few different pens to autograph with. His assistant suggested he used the silver for one of my figures but he said “no that won’t look good on that particular figure”. None of the other autograph signers have ever seemed to care how the piece would look after it was signed and out of their hands in my past experience. Monk snapped a quick picture of me and Mr. Bear and we traveled onwards. Next stop was Admiral Motti, Richard LeParmentier, who is definitely now one of the coolest cast members I’ve met. He talked with Monk and I for a while telling us about the watch he was wearing being his favorite and how he purchased it on the streets of New York for $10 if I remember correctly. So after a bit of watch talk and him complaining that Hasbro needed to get on the ball and make a new figure of him he signed my figure for me. Then, I asked if he’d mind posing for a picture with a prototype of his action figure. I showed him the figure and his face lit up as he held it. “What is this, a sex toy?” he said when he saw it. He looked it over and said “Wow that’s cool. How and where did you get this?” I told him that I knew a guy and he posed with the prototype and my figure he just signed. Afterwards he said how he thought the proto was too cool and he had to at least get a picture of it for himself. He tried a couple of times to take a picture with his phone using different things on his table as backgrounds to get a good shot but couldn’t get one to take. I told him I’d take a picture of it for him and email it to him along with some others of it. So we put it on one of his Motti photographs and took a pic. We said so long to him and that we’d see him at the costume contest then moved on. Next, we stopped by Peter Mayhew’s table. He was just as polite as ever and signed my figure for me then gave me a great picture posing with two of his prototypes that I’d brought. We shook hands and kept walking. Then I spotted someone whom I wasn’t expecting to see. “Hey It’s Jaws” I said to Monk. It was Richard Kiel who played the role of Jaws in several James Bond movies. I grew up watching James Bond movies with my dad and have seen most of them 100 times or more so I was just as happy to see him as I was to see the Star Wars guys. I asked him how much for an autographed photo and told him that my dad and I were big fans. I got a picture signed for my dad, which he loved, and one signed for myself. Then, Monk took a picture of Richard and I with Richard doing his famous in my eyes pose with him grabbing my head and neck as if he were about to bite Roger Moore. We walked around the rest of the room and saw Chase Masterson who played on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Kane Hodder who played Jason in some of the Friday the 13th movies along with many other actors as well as novelists.

After we ducked out of the celebrity room we still had a little time to kill before the costume contest so we walked around and checked out some of the booths in the main entrance room. We ran across a booth for our new friends at www.FandomComics.com, Keith Kappel who is the creator of Fandom comics and also a writer and the lovely Dawn Gallagher who does PR work for FC. Dawn showed us some of their comics that they had available to download for free off their site. Keith came over and talked to us about their site and told us a little bit about the sourcebooks available on their site for characters throughout the Starwars galaxy during the Clone Wars. I never knew there was that much information out there about some of the characters and weapons of Star Wars until I got home and checked out their site for myself. After taking a look at Keith’s work with the comics and sourcebooks its very obvious that they know their stuff over at Fandom and I look forward to seeing them again at future events and hopefully hearing from them from time to time as no doubt their site will continue to grow. If you like comics or Star Wars role playing then definitely stop on by and check out what they’ve got to offer. You won’t be disappointed. I snapped a couple pictures of Keith and Dawn along with their booth and artwork then we had to tell our new friends we would see them later because it was time for the costume contest!

We made our way through the huge hotel again and after a little confusion figured out that the contest was to be held in the Cantina. We made our way up the stairs to the cantina stopping to take some pictures of some of the costumes along the way. We got some good seats for the show and were treated to a short Q&A session with Richard LeParmentier while they got everyone ready. Richard told us about his role as Admiral Motti and about a project he had thought up a while back but was now inspired to complete after having seen the Family Guy Blue Harvest episode. His project was to be an animated tale of Admiral Motti after he made his triumphant escape from the Deathstar before it was destroyed. The contest started by bringing out all the younger children who participated and giving them each an award then bringing introducing everyone else and having them judged. There were several Vaders, various troopers, Jedi, Sith, and of course snow bunny Padmes. There was also a great Admiral Ackbar homemade costume with Ackbar’s face sculpted entirely from paper mache. The trophys for the costume contest were made using galactic heroes and unleashed figures that had been gold plated and professionally attached to trophy stands. The winner for best in show was a pretty hilarious take on Darth Vader called King Vader. It was a guy in a really well put together Vader costume holding a Vader mask on a stick up to his face. When he was introduced he lowered his mask to reveal none other than the King from Burger King mask hidden underneath.

After the costume contest Monk and I decided it was time to get some food. We headed out from the con in search of Birmingham’s Mellow Mushroom but were disappointed to find it closed for renovations. We grabbed some food elsewhere and headed back to the show. It was getting a little late so I decided to pack it in for the day and head back home. I dropped Monk off and started my trip back. All in all I thought it was a pretty good show and was glad I made it down to attend and look forward to going to it again next year.

PHOTO GALLERY
To see the photo gallery containing 41 photos click here.