CradleCon 2018 (Cradle of Aviation Museum, Long Island NY)

CradleCon is brand new non-profit comic, collectible, and pop culture convention at the Cradle of Aviation Museum (Long Island, NY). Sponsored by Best Comics International, all proceeds benefit the Cradle of Aviation Museum’s mission in supporting Education and Preservation Programs. And to kick off this first-ever con, CradleCon brought some amazing guests:

Harmontown’s Dan Harmon (Rick & Morty / Community), Jeff Davis (Whose Line Is It Anyway? / Improvaganza), and Rob Schrab were in attendance for a brief meet & greet, as well as a live podcast recording Saturday night! Voice actors Michael Bell (Transformers, GI Joe, Rugrats, Star Wars, etc.) & Larry Kenney (ThunderCats, Count Chocula, Sonny, etc.), as well as actor Michael Copon (Power Rangers Time Force, One Tree Hill) were also there… along with over 50 comic book artists, writers, and creators and dozens of vendors.

I believe this is the first time I’ve attended a con inside a museum, and I must say that it was pretty cool (and be sure to stick around for my video at the end of this post)! On top of the fact that I’ve never visited the Cradle of Aviation Museum, it was interesting to see how they incorporated the con booths into the museum floor plan. In fact, you could still see many of the exhibits on display while roaming around the show! Here’s the Grumman Lunar Module LM-13 donated to the museum by the National Air & Space Museum. This was also the autographing room for Mark Russell, Jennifer Hernandez, and the Harmontown crew:

I was fortunate enough to be able to attend the first panel of the whole convention, which was the “Voices of the 80’s” with Michael Bell and Larry Kenney. Walking in, I already had an idea of who they have voiced in the 80’s and beyond, but the panel was very informative and a lot of fun! There was plenty of time for fan Q&A’s and you can instantly tell that the attendees are true fans too.

What blew me away was that Michael & Larry had never met prior to this convention! You never would have believed it, based on their interactions and camaraderie. But I was glad I got to ask my question which was in response to Michael’s story of playing off of other voice actors’ reactions: “In the past couple decades, it’s become more and more common for voice actors to record solo and not be in the same session as the rest of the cast. The Incredibles 2 cast mentioned that they didn’t even meet until it was time for the press tour. What are your thoughts on that and do you find yourself in those situations recently?”

The stories they shared were truly golden and I absolutely had to meet them in person at their booths!

Michael Bell was such a delight. I’ve been meaning to meet him at other conventions but never got a chance to. But I loved that he took the time to get to know me and share even more experiences working as both an actor and voice actor.

Right next to his booth was Larry Kenney, the voice of the original Lion-O from the 1980’s ThunderCats. As an 80’s kid, I loved ThunderCats (ho!) so without a doubt I needed to meet Larry… But what should I get signed? For that, we need to venture upstairs to the Artist Alley!

CradleCon brought in a ton of talented artists. Many were selling prints or other art mediums, and a bunch were offering commissions on-site at the con too. I found long-time favorite CreeesArt at his booth and commissioned him to whip up a killer 11×17 bust of Lion-O (accenting his Sword of Omens and claw gauntlet):

Not only did this piece come out better than words can describe, Larry was thrilled to sign this one-of-a-kind sketch! Not only that, as I previously mentioned, there were plenty more artists around for you to find the right style! Maybe you’re into comic book sketch covers, or postcard prints, or maybe even stickers – they were all there!

But personally, I love collecting licensed sketch trading cards (particularly Topps Star Wars). Fortunately, that’s where Fat Guys Inc. comes in! I first met Brendan Shaw & Peat Vazquez at ToyCon earlier this year. This time, I was able to walk away with a really great Praetorian Guard from Star Wars: The Last Jedi!

For anyone else who collects trading cards, you know how hard it is to come across a sketch card randomly inserted in a booster pack… and you doubly know how impossible it is for it be a sketch that you want! Attending conventions like CradleCon is a sure way to find the artist whose style clicks the best with you and discovering all sorts of goodies that will be great additions to your collection.

It’s also a great place to find some of the best cosplay! There were even 3 cosplay contests with some sweet prizes like a MacBook Air & iPad! I saw some amazing cosplayers passing by – in fact, I finally saw my first Enfys Nest (Solo: A Star Wars Story) cosplayer at CradleCon! Check her out – I think she did a stellar job:

But what really helped CradleCon stand out was the Retro Video Game Lounge upstairs. Brought to you by the Long Island Retro Gaming Expo, there were over 50 classic titles on Nintendo, Sega Genesis, SNES, N64, PlayStation AND classic arcade cabinets. We’re talking about Pac-Man, Donkey Kong, Mortal Kombat, Tetris, Street Fighter, you name it! There were even Tetris and MKII tournaments which awarded tickets to the Long Island Retro Gaming Expo 2018!

It was so cool that the machines were either rigged to offer free play or a button was installed to act as credits. Play all you want, as long as you want! But as you make your way down the hall, you’ll notice something… perhaps music you grew up with? Because local band Time King was performing all afternoon with pop culture songs & popular television theme songs! And as they were performing, corresponding videos were playing on the screen behind them. Very cool!

As the day went on, there were great options for food. You could either dine at the museum’s built-in food court, “The Red Planet Cafe”, or try some of the food trucks that CradleCon was hosting outside! That’s where I noticed artist JP Draft live spray-painting Wonder Woman, Supergirl, and Batgirl:

Check out the work in progress by clicking here!

I saw a lot of people taking photos with it throughout the whole process, but believe me, that’s not where the photo ops end (be sure to watch my video to see more)!

There was a DeLorean, movie props like Thor’s hammer Mjölnir, the 501st Legion, some cool backdrops, and great displays like the Doctor Who TARDIS:

But watch out for the mad titan, Thanos!!!

But to wrap up, I just want to share about my experience with Harmontown. While the Harmontown (Harmon, Davis, Schrab) signing was pushed back a couple hours, it was handled very well and the line moved very smoothly. No one was being a jerk and the whole Harmontown crew was a blast. I got my Rick & Morty “Pickle Rick” comic book signed by Dan Harmon and Jeff Davis signed a headshot from Improvaganza that I brought – so all in all, it was a night to remember!

The live podcast was also a hit, and the hall was filled with passionate & enthusiastic fans – which pretty much summed up the demographic of the entire con!

Here are some of the items I got signed over the weekend, and be sure to check out the video at the end for more behind the scenes!

If I didn’t tell you that this was the first ever CradleCon, you wouldn’t have believed it! From the get-go, they boasted that it would be a show by fans for fans, and they got it right. Loads of vendors, tons of guests & artists, and roughly 50 panels over the course of the weekend!

If you’ve been following my site for a while, you already know that I’ve attended my share of comic cons and if this first CradleCon is any indication of its future iterations, sign me up for the next one! In fact, they’ve already announced that CradleCon 2019 will be June 1-2, 2019 so mark your calendars!

CradleCon is located at the Cradle of Aviation Museum (Charles Lindbergh Blvd. Garden City, NY 11530).

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