Nerd For A Living’s Adron Buske Recounts His Experience at Kansas City’s Planet Comicon 2018
Another year, another amazing time in Kansas City! I made my 4th appearance at KC’s Planet Comicon this past February 16-18, 2018. Planet is one of my favorite shows, jam-packed with great guests, awesome programming, and an absolutely massive exhibition floor. It always draws some of the most fun, most engaged convention audiences — the Kansas City fans are so warm and enthusiastic.
Taking the stage at #PCKC is a guaranteed delight, because the crowd energy amplifies the fun for the speakers and guests. Off- and behind the stage, Planet is a well-oiled machine, with a high quality team of staffers and volunteers working hard to create the best event possible. And the main stage experience is absolutely pro, rivaling any major convention in the US.
I was super busy at the 2018 PCKC, with seven programming features over two days. Those included four main stage celebrity interview sessions, two seminars, and my 4th annual participation in the fan-favorite “Making of Archer” panel.
Let’s Get Dangerous with Jim Cummings
There are few better ways to start off a convention than a conversation with Jim Cummings. An astonishingly versatile voice actor, Jim is the iconic voice of Darkwing Duck, Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, and (literally) around 397 more animated characters. We talked about the longevity and depth of his career, evoking deliveries of many beloved character voices, to the delight of the audience. Jim is hilarious, but the final minutes of the panel had the crowd dripping in happy tears, as he sang happy birthday — in character as Pooh — to an audience member.
Water Tower Talk with the Animaniacs & The Podcast Peptalk
In the Instagram post above, photos 2 & 3 are from the Animaniacs panel. Image 4 is me with Jim Cummings.
Immediately following that, I had the incomparable thrill of sharing the stage with the voice cast of Animaniacs — Rob Paulsen (Yakko, Pinky), Jess Harnell (Wakko), and Maurice LaMarche (The Brain). Animaniacs is one of my all-time favorite animated series, having had a huge impact on me in my teen years. And the PCKC audience clearly shared that love. What followed was a side-splittingly funny hour filled with behind-the-scenes stories, character voices, and comedic riffs, along with playful audience interactions. I will forever treasure sitting on stage next to Rob Paulsen as he floored the audience by singing “Yakko’s World”, and the big post-panel hug I received from Maurice.
I capped my Friday at PCKC by delivering a brand-new seminar, “The Podcast Peptalk”. Drawing on 5+ years experience in the podcasting world, I mapped out paths for the hobbyist and would-be professional through a 62-slide presentation. I had a great, interactive audience, and several awesome podcast-related conversations immediately after the panel.
The World of Remnant Q&A With the Cast of RWBY
Saturday at Planet began with a reunion of sorts, as the cast of internet sensation RWBY returned to the Kansas City stage. I met voice actors Kara Eberle (Weiss), Arryn Zech (Blake), and Elizabeth Maxwell (Winter) on stage last year, a big highlight of my 2017 show. This time we needed several more seats, as the line-up expanded to include Lindsay Jones (Ruby), Michael Jones (Sun), and Barbara Dunkelman (Yang). An entertainingly chaotic conversation followed in PCKC’s Grand Ballroom, filled with playful audience interaction and on-stage shenanigans.
The Steven Universe Hour with Zach Callison & The Real Life Power-Up Seminar
After that, I rushed to the Great Hall stage for a conversation with Zach Callison, the voice of Steven Universe. Zach, a St. Louis native like myself, returned to the midwest to find an excited audience of SU fanatics (and a contingent of family members). The audience Q&A involved questions from delighted fans, impressive cosplayers, and even young kids stoked to speak with the voice of Steven Universe’s titular character. Zach also talked about his burgeoning musical career, and wrapped the panel with a call-and-response performance of the crowd-favorite “Cookie Cat” song from Steven Universe episode one.
With my main stage duties complete for 2018, I headed off to deliver my “Real Life Power-Up” seminar. Now in its third iteration, the Power-Up is a goal-setting session using an RPG-like system for evaluating your abilities and skills, and mapping a course for self-improvement. The Planet crowd again proved to be attentive and engaged through the 112 slide presentation, furiously filling in their Power-Up booklet. I received great feedback from attendees, at the show and by email afterward, and enjoyed discussion with them after the panel was over.
Something Something Danger Zone! Behind the scenes of Archer
I finished my panel moderation duties late Saturday afternoon with the “Something Something Danger Zone!” panel, which covers the making of FXX hit animated series, Archer. This was my fourth time sharing this discussion with Archer storyboard artist Kevin Mellon. We were joined for this session by staff from Kansas City’s Trinity Animation, who have produced many of the 3D backgrounds for the show. A standing-room-only crowd came to get weird with us once again, seeing the behind-the-scenes secrets and hearing the fascinatingly odd ways each episode comes together.
I was too busy Friday and Saturday with panels to really visit the exhibit floor. But with a Sunday completely free, I finally had time to roam around and check out all the merch, art, and books on display. The exhibitors and vendors at PCKC improve their presentations and wares every year. It’s an impressive array of product and booths, manned by friendly geeks excited to share the nerd love and chat about their offerings. I picked up a few novels and made the rounds to visit friends before departing for home.
I’m always sad to leave KC after a successful Planet Comicon. But I know that I share a tremendous number of amazing experiences at the show with the other attendees. Can’t wait for PCKC in 2019!