Tampa Bay Comic Con
In its 13th year, Tampa Bay Comic Con is back with interactive elements, including Nerd Trivia and speed dating. While open to cosplaying, Comic Con prides itself on its family-friendly atmosphere while catering to various fan bases. This year's big event is a panel featuring AMC's The Walking Dead stars Lauren Cohan (see Page 44) and Emily Kinney. Cohan appears between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Sunday only, and Kinney appears Saturday and Sunday. Also appearing both days is Drake Bell of Drake & Josh. Autographs for each are $30. The convention opens at 10 a.m. Saturday and Sunday, along with a costume contest and more than 100 tables of comics, action figures, anime, Star Wars memorabilia, artwork and trading cards. It's at the Doubletree Hilton Hotel, 4500 W Cypress St., Tampa. Tickets are $15 for one day and $25 for two. Kids 12 and younger are free. See tampabaycomicon.com for more details.
Costume suggestion: The obvious choice is your best "walker" or zombie get-up. However, for style points, consider the Avengers left out of last summer's blockbuster, like Ms. Marvel or Quicksilver.
Anime, video game and sci-fi fans get together for three days of seemingly nonstop games and partying in this convention celebrating its second year. Most of the panels are pretty anime-focused, so n00bs may not fare well at one of several Hetalia panels. But keenly added to the complex explorations of characters and series are dance parties like a J-Pop karaoke party and a role-playing experience of a host club, where a group of attractive, attentive cosplayers will cater to guests' whims and put together events for their entertainment. This year's guests are voice talents from Full Metal Alchemist and Ouran High School Host Club. It's May 3-5 at the Sheraton East, 10221 Princess Palm Ave., Tampa. Weekend passes are $40 through April 27, $25 per day at the door, $10 per day for kids. See khaotickon.com for details.
Costume suggestion: Mix Victorian haute couture with anime sensibilities as Ciel Phantomhive from Black Butler.
The big Kahuna of Tampa's anime conventions returns to the Tampa Convention Center this summer, promising old favorites and new entertainment. Janet Varney, voice of Korra in Nickelodeon's The Legend of Korra, is one of 15 named guests of Metrocon. An anime human chess match, a scripted performance of wizard's chess featured in the Harry Potter series featuring anime characters, promises suspense and action. A formal masquerade ball, Anime Idol singing contest and Zombie Warz game are also in the lineup. It's July 26-28 at the Tampa Convention Center, 333 S Franklin St., Tampa. Weekend passes are $50. See metroconventions.com.
Costume suggestion: A classic gets new life with rumors of a Sailor Moon reboot hitting Japan's airwaves. Dust off that sailor skirt and jeweled tiara.
New to Tampa Bay, the FanBoy Expo is looking to break out in a big way by bringing TV's Batman and Robin, Adam West and Burt Ward, as its headlining guests. The two-day autograph convention also promises Sid Haig, best known as Captain Spaulding in House of 1000 Corpses, and the Ken Spivey Band, a group that makes Doctor Who-specific music. It's Aug. 3-4 at the Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay, 2900 Bayport Drive, Tampa. Weekend passes are $35; day tickets are $30 at the door. There are charges for autographs and photos. See fanboyexpo.com/tampa.
Costume suggestion: Wow West and Ward with your obscure villain knowledge and show up as Siren or the Clock King.
Coming into its fourth year, ShadoCon, an anime, video game and comics convention, brings familiar voice talents Dante Basco (Prince Zuko of Avatar: The Last Air Bender) and Kyle Hebert (teen Gohan of Dragon Ball Z). The convention has several live shows including the Break Dance Breakdown comedy dance show and Shado Tournament, a choreographed tournament-style fight show. It's Oct. 4-6 at the Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay, 2900 Bayport Drive, Tampa. Weekend passes are $35. See shadocon.com.
Costume suggestion: Can't go wrong with a well-executed Sephiroth from Final Fantasy VII. White hair can be so hot.
Wizards, kings and dragons will abound in the grandaddy of Tampa fantasy conventions this fall. Christopher Paolini, author of Eragon, will join the members of the Stone Hill Science Fiction Association as they host their 32nd annual Necronomicon. Annual events include a masquerade costume contest that includes stage presentations and an art show. It's Oct. 18-20 at the Embassy Suites, University of South Florida, 3705 Spectrum Blvd., Tampa. Weekend passes are $35. For more details, check stonehill.org/necro.
Costume suggestion: Got a spare blonde wig? How about going as Willie Scott from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom? Also acceptable: Daenerys or Vesirys Targaryen. Less acceptable: Peeta Mellark.