Mainframe Comic Con 2020

Mainframe Comic Con was an online convention hosted by Chicago Comics boasting “the largest celebrity event of the season” with special guests from movies, television, and comic books! With the theme of “Stay Home & Nerd Out”, Mainframe Comic Con offered 20+ hours of streaming content and 50+ guests donating their time to charity, and all proceeds going towards Hero Initiative and the American Red Cross COVID-19 relief fund.

Streamed live on April 25 & 26, Mainframe Comic Con featured back-to-back 30-minute moderated segments, much like panels at in-person cons. And though fans were enjoying the con from the comfort of their own homes, it didn’t mean they weren’t seen! Live chat functions allowed attendees to converse with one another and even blast out questions to the celebrity guests.

During Clark Gregg’s panel, moderator Chuck Lindsey not only brought up Gregg’s vast career (on top of his involvement in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, especially with Agents of SHIELD premiering its seventh & final season on May 27) but also reeled in some fan Q&A’s. “Super Chats” were unlocked and allowed fans to donate in order to highlight their messages on-screen and appear on the “leaderboard”.

Other popular panels through the 2-day online con included “Designing the MCU” with Andy Park who has been at Marvel Studios for 11 years and is now the Director of Visual Development for the Marvel Cinematic Universe, “Flash” with Natalie Dreyfuss who brings the first on-screen portrayal of Sue Dearbon to life, and “26 Years of Clerks” with Brian O’Halloran & Marilyn Ghigliotti where the two discussed the history of Clerks and the upcoming Clerks 3:

If you’ve ever physically attended a comic con before, you’ll know that you often have to decide between attending a panel or checking out the show floor & artist alley. But during an online comic con like Mainframe Comic Con, you can leave the panels running while opening a new tab or window to check out some of the awesome artists that were brought in. And, indeed, there were awesome artists like Brent Peeples, Tim Seeley, and Ashley Witter. Every artist was linked on the Mainframe Comic Con website where you could browse their works, purchase some art, or even contact them for a commission! What’s a comic con without some comics, right?

And CGC was present, too! Unlike their booth at convention centers, CGC wasn’t grading books live on the stream but CGC’s Brittany McManus was excited to announce their upcoming in-house signings with living legends Clayton Crain, Frank Miller, George Perez, Scott Snyder, Tom King, Chris Claremont, Donny Cates & Ryan Stegman! With so many conventions being canceled, CGC hopes to provide more amazing opportunities to get comic enthusiasts’ books signed while utilizing social media as much as possible to make it an immersive experience for both the signers and customers.

Each day of Mainframe Comic Con also set aside time for local comic book shops around the country to be featured with auctions, sales, and giveaways. During the quarantine, many comic book shops are hurting and this was a way to pay it forward to the local stores that have always been there to help collectors stock up. If you have a local comic book shop near you, contact them to see how you can help them through these times too! Saturday evening’s guest Kevin Eastman (co-creator of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) also touched upon the importance of comic book shops.

He, of course, also talked all things Turtles and some developments to the storyline & character arcs in recent years. It was great to see that a lot of time was spent to answer fan questions because you got to see that he’s all about the fans and appreciating fellow Turtle enthusiasts!

Speaking of super passionate, Sunday’s first guest was Kevin Smith who tackled all kinds of topics: from the Mallrats sequel he just finished writing (which touches upon current events and how this COVID-19 pandemic will impact malls and future social interaction), to loving comic book movies but never wanting to make them because of the incredible responsibility of handling them… but he’d love to be in one! I mean, who wouldn’t?

And what better artist to bring fans’ dream casting choices to life than the legendary Bosslogic?

Moderator Chuck Lindsey asked how Bosslogic puts out his art so quickly – but it was revealed that it usually takes only an hour to create his iconic fan-made posters! Bosslogic hears the breaking news just like everyone else and gets to work to create the viral art we’ve come to know.

But as the second day began to wrap up, as with the con itself, I have to say that the David Harbour panel was an excellent talk. His new movie with Chris Hemsworth, Extraction, just hit Netflix a couple days ago and is already trending! Harbour also touched upon his time working on the set of 2016’s Suicide Squad film, and how it differed from the upcoming Marvel Black Widow movie. And there’s nothing more viral than one of the first hit Netflix shows, Stranger Things!

In the end, it was very encouraging to hear all the guests not only talk about projects of the past but things to look forward to as well! With so much up in the air these days, it’s good to be hopeful that new movies, new shows, and new comics are still on their way. And with Mainframe Comic Con raising money and awareness for such great causes, we can keep hoping that we’ll get there one day.

In the the meantime, be sure to check out Mainframe Comic Con for their convention replays, as well as the host Chicago Comics! And until next time, here’s a hilarious shot from the Robot Chicken panel. Have fun and stay safe, everyone!

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