If there's one convention in the Midwest that I have always wanted to attend, it has to be G-Fest. It is THE convention in the Midwest when it comes to all things of the kaiju genre: Godzilla, Gamera, King Kong, Ultraman, Power Rangers, and Pacific Rim. You name the kaiju franchise, it's represented here. Yet, even though I'm a HUGE fan of this genre I've never had the chance to visit this con. I've always wanted to, but things keep distracting me (work, life, or just not having the funds). So, after making sure I had none of these excuses this time, I was finally able to go to the con for at least a day.
I chose Friday to be the day I'd payG-Fest a visit, because the choice of cinema for the night was my favorite kaiju film, Godzilla vs. DESTROYAH (1995). Though it took me awhile (getting to the theater was a small challenge, given there was also a Taste of Park Ridge, whatever that is, running at the same time), but after purchasing my movie tickets I was on my way to G-Fest
I was not disappointed when I got there. Vendor's tables were FILLED with DVDs/Blu-Rays, CDs, figures, statues, shirts, and other kaiju goodness. IDW had a small booth there covered with their Godzilla product. Although the movie stars weren't there (they all were arriving Saturday), I was in heaven. I was even more excited, meeting the various creators behind Godzilla: Rulers of the Earth (Chris Mowry, Matt Frank, and Jeff Zornow). These creators have a passion for this genre and it shows through their work, and they are very fan friendly. It just adds to my love for the book they work on even more (and if you haven't read it, SHAME ON YOU!! READ THIS BOOK at your local comic shop or Comixology).
If there were any problems with the dealer room, it was that the venue was kind of small. There was a huge line for the first two hours just to get in the doors! I can only imagine what it was like on Saturday, with the cast members there. Still, the variety of vendors there was amazing and I spent a lot of money because temptation calls my very soul.
Then there was artist's alley, filled to the brim with various artists with a wide variety of love for the genre, not just Godzilla. Of course, in this place above all else, I felt like a kid in a candy shop and spent way more than I should. I think I have a problem and need to go to a print clinic.
There were other features as well. Fans showed off their love through discussion panels, fan-made movies, a kid-friendly room for them to have fun, and even fan-made video games. It goes without saying that I had to devote some extra time to the game room, where almost every Godzilla game was being played (save for Godzilla: Destroy All Monsters Melee, though its sequels Godzilla: Save the Earth and Godzilla: Unleashed were.). It amazed me to see so many fans enjoying G-Fest and having a good time.
If anything my, favorite moment of the con wasn't the vendors, movies, panels, guests, or anything. It was seeing several young children play with kaiju and have a ball. It brought a dopey grin to my face knowing that there were future fans being forged here.
Then it was time for the main event: seeing Godzilla vs Destroyah at the Pickwick theater. Despite reading numerous positive reviews of the theater, I admit to being a bit skeptical. That was dispelled quickly when the owner (or manager) warmly came out to allow members who already paid for their tickets to get concessions early and without the hassle of a long line. Then, even after the long line afterward of late-arrivers, the movie still started behind scheduled. Why? Because G-Fest brought over the Director of Special Effects Koichi Kawakita, who began talking to the audience about the movie. Then the movie began and seeing this film with its fan-base was amazing.
Overall, G-Fest XXI was AMAZING for the single day I visited. Though there was had a tiny issue venue size, everything else was perfect. The atmosphere oozed fan appreciation for what the people behind this genre have done. Given that this is me, I'm all for appreciation and giving these people, and this genre, it's due. So yes, G-Fest XXII, Zechs SHALL RETURN!
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About the Author - Zechs
Zechs is the lord and master of The Toy Shed, Character Spotlight, and Cartoon Reviews. He's also an aspiring comic book writer trying to get some of his works published on the Outhouse. If there's any greater quality to Zechs, it's that he's an avid fan of comic book characters and would defend them to the bitter end against the companies that use them wrongly. Zechs walks the lonely path in Chicagoland area.
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