Make us your home page
Instagram

Janet Varney, Dante Basco bask in fandom at Metrocon in Tampa

TAMPA — Janet Varney breezed into Room 4 of the Tampa Convention Center, iced Americano coffee in hand, ready to talk about Korra. The hit Nickelodeon cartoon The Legend of Korra, where Varney voices the eponymous teen heroine, opened a whole new world of fandom to the veteran actor.

"There are fans for all kinds of shows but we really hit the jackpot in terms of a show that's so quality that it inspires this love and this loyalty," she said.

Dante Basco, voice of Prince Zuko in Avatar: The Last Airbender series, explained how his decade-long relationship with Avatar creators has given him a whole new generation of fans, kids whose parents remember him as Rufio from Hook.

"I was on the set of (Antonio Banderas film) Take the Lead and I'm playing a teenager so there's all these younger guys. We were acting one day and I said 'I've got to go do this cartoon,' " he recalled. "The guy said, 'You're Prince Zuko?!?' I started realizing from hanging out with him that this show is that big and also a generational thing."

Both actors will spend Saturday signing autographs, meeting fans and answering questions about the shows that have endeared them to the big crowds expected at Metrocon, Florida's largest anime convention.

Neither has appeared at the festival before, but appreciated the intimacy of smaller conventions.

"As I started doing these cons around the world, this is going on everywhere. That's this magical thing. And it's cool to be unique and it's cool to like different things," Basco said. "It's the time of the geek. The geek inherited the earth.''

Varney saw the parallels between Metrocon and smaller film festivals.

"The smaller cons are more manageable. Because Comic Con in San Diego is crazy and it's very commercialized and it's corporate and it's all about money and selling, selling, selling. ... I think people want to go to smaller specialized cons. Cons like this feel more about the groundswell of fans."

Basco hasn't been to Tampa before, but the weather certainly felt familiar as he stepped off his plane Friday morning.

"It's like the Philippines. Just wet, the weather. Humid," he said. "I'm all about fraternizing with the locals, so you never know what might happen."

Varney has visited once before with friends and found out something surprising.

"We were out on a boat in the gulf and everyone was saying 'Just jump in the water,' " she said. "I thought, 'No way!' But it was surprising ... the water being warm like that."

Fans can talk 'toons with Basco and Varney at Metrcon panels Saturday. Autograph sessions start at 1 p.m. and Basco will hold a meet and greet at 5:30 p.m. Metrocon continues through Sunday at the Tampa Convention Center. Daily passes at the door are $30-$35. (813) 898-1310. metroconventions.com

Janet Varney, Dante Basco bask in fandom at Metrocon in Tampa 07/26/13 [Last modified: Friday, July 26, 2013 5:39pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. PHSC Performing Arts Series harkens back to times past

    Music & Concerts

    It's a blast from the past for the 2017-18 Performing Arts Series at Pasco-Hernando State College in New Port Richey. Season tickets go on sale Sept. 26, with single-show tickets on sale Oct. 10. The first performance is Dec. 1.

  2. Leaves, mountains, ice cream and cheese: What's not to like in Burlington, Vt.?

    Travel

    If I loved Burlington, Vt., during a visit with my daughter when the high was 37 degrees, I feel completely comfortable recommending the city as a great destination for fall, when it's considered one of the top leaf-watching spots in the world.

    Founded in 1791, the University of Vermont is the sixth-oldest college established in New England.
  3. Directors of Haunted Mansion doc talk bringing piece of Disney history to Orlando

    Blogs

    Filmmakers Ryan Grulich and James H. Carter II aren't just casual fans of The Haunted Mansion ride. They're obsessed.

    Publicity still from the Foolish Mortals documentary.
  4. Top things to do in Tampa Bay for Sept. 20

    Events

    Mumford and Sons: The enormously popular English rockers make their first stop in Tampa. 7:30 p.m., Amalie Arena, 401 Channelside Drive, Tampa. $41.25-$61.25. (813) 301-2500.

    MANCHESTER, TN - JUNE 13:  Marcus Mumford of Mumford & Sons performs on the "What" stage during the 2015 Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival on June 13, 2015 in Manchester, Tennessee.  (Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images)
  5. How to vamp out for Buffyfest in St. Petersburg

    Music & Concerts

    Who's your favorite superhero? I always answer Buffy.