WAS MEGACON ORLANDO MEGA? OR A CON?

A few short weeks ago, I was fortunate to attend Orlando's biggest four-day convention extravaganza, Megacon! I've been going to Megacon for almost a decade now. While I could easily say that it was the best yet, I could also argue that some aspects of it were the worst I've ever experienced. As an extension of my thoughts and experiences, I've compiled a list of the pros and cons of Megacon 2022.

PRO: Cosplay And Costumes

Cosplayers were in full force from the streets to the south concourse red carpet runway this weekend. The Justice League was seen hanging out with Deadpool, Jedi and Sith dueled in the concourse with lightsabers in all colors, and every Spider-Man under the sun gathered together to take part in an amazing Spider-Verse photo shoot. It's always a delight to see people dress up as their favorite video game/film/anime characters and bring them to life in a captivating way. They work year-round on their cosplays, and it brings me great joy to see them being stopped to get their picture taken by fans who are amazed by all the effort they have put into their outfits.

Living my best life cosplaying as a Cog Soldier from my favorite game series Gears Of War.

CON: Parking

This year I am so glad that I booked a hotel that was within walking distance of the convention because parking was an absolute nightmare. On Saturday, Megacons official social media accounts were flooded with negative comments and refund requests due to a lack of parking spaces. Several fans were stuck in traffic for up to four hours only to get turned around due to no available parking. If the organizers want to do better next year, they either need to provide more parking spaces or cap off ticket sales after a certain number has been reached.

PRO: Guest LineUp

The all-star lineup of celebrities and voice actors at Megacon was, without a doubt, its defining feature. Fans traveled from around the world to meet their favorite stars and take pictures with them. There were several celebrities in attendance, including Brendan Fraser (The Mummy), Nathan Fillion (Con-Man, Firefly), William Zabka (Karate Kid, Cobra Kai), and even WWE Legend The Undertaker. Several amazing voice actors were also present at the event, including the Dragon Ball Z heroes Sean Schemmel (Goku) and Christopher Sabat (Vegeta), as well as the legend that is Kevin Conroy (Batman), and the Master Chief himself, Steve Downes. Lastly, all four Hobbits from The Lord Of The Rings also made a special appearance. I was able to relive my childhood dream of meeting the heroes I had grown up reading about in books and watching in films. It was a rather magical experience for me, I'd say.

You could tell my child wanted to be on the other side.

CON: Hobbit Lines

So I was one of many that purchased a ticket bundle where I was granted a photo op and signature from all four Hobbits; it doesn't sound too difficult to obtain, right? WRONG! When you bought the bundle, you would think all four autographs could be obtained at once, but that was not the case. There was a line for each of their tables, and you had to wait hours just to reach the front of the line. Several people failed to get the autographs they pre-purchased by the end of the two days that the Hobbits appeared due to the long and unorganized lines. If I hadn't been extremely lucky with how I planned my trip, I would have been one of those poor unfortunate souls. Of the four lines I waited in, the longest one lasted four hours, while the shortest was an hour and a half. It was even more difficult because the talent was either breaking for lunch or had to do a panel or photo op every 45 minutes. The situation wasn't made any better by the fact that a majority of the staff working there didn't know when or if the signings would resume. It got to the point where some crew members were asking those in line when the celebrities would return. My disappointment has nothing to do with the talent, but with how the bundles and lines were organized. If you paid for a special package, they should have at least grouped those with it together in its own line and allowed a time slot for them.

PRO: Artist Alley 

It's always a treat to see all the incredible artwork talented artists display at conventions. Every year at Megacon, I never seem to be disappointed. I find a few shops that stand out among the rest and amaze me with their creativity. As I was walking through the exhibit hall on the first day of the con, I discovered a shop named Ali Wagner Sculpts. My wife Taylor and I bought quite a few of their gorgeous handcrafted figurines on custom-painted canvases. We look forward to purchasing more as soon as we can to add to our growing collection! With an impressive array of beautiful artwork available for a great price, Rossome Designs is sure to leave you speechless with an abundant amount of designs from Marvel, Disney, and countless other brands. The one booth Taylor looks forward to seeing every year is Studio Hadley. Artist Mark Hadley has some of the most fascinating artwork out there. His pieces are both beautiful and spooky at the same time, and it works! All three of these artists are unbelievably talented at what they do and deserve some serious love, so please do me a solid and support them by giving them a follow on their socials.

Magnificent artwork from Ali Wagner Sculpts (Top left), Rossome Designs (Top Right), and Studio Hadley (Bottom).

CON: Overbooked On Saturday 

To put it simply, Saturday was a disaster. There should have been a cap on how many attendees were allowed on that day. Guests were constantly arriving on the show floor, elbow to elbow, as crowds piled in by the minute. There were still hundreds awaiting parking outside, trying to get in. On top of that, the website was still selling tickets for the event on that day. Although I am aware that Saturdays are usually the busiest and most crowded days of the convention, I have never encountered a situation this horrible in all my previous experiences at this convention or any other.

Taking everything into consideration, Megacon Orlando 2022 had its ups and downs. Yes, parking was difficult, crowds were excessive, and how they handled celebrity lines was less than pleasant. In no way do I intend to discourage you from experiencing all that it has to offer. In my opinion, there is nothing quite like the feeling you get walking into the con for the first time on opening day and being exposed to all the crazy, fun-filled adventures that await. With a variety of artwork to browse through and the creativity of cosplayers to marvel at, you are sure to have a wonderful time taking part in the convention. Despite its shortcomings, no con is without flaws, so don't let it stop you from unleashing your inner nerd!

Enjoy some photos from my experiences at Megacon, including a few of my cosplays and some awesome artwork.

Did you attend Megacon Orlando this year? Will you be attending any other cons in the near future? Share your thoughts down below in the comments.

What's Next for Spider-Man After No Way Home?

“My name is Peter Parker. And I… would like a coffee. Please.”

This quote is possibly part of one of the most heartbreaking scenes among the sea of contenders for this title in the movie. If you still haven’t seen No Way Home and have managed to avoid all spoilers until now (in which case I will need to know your secret), then this is where I’ll tell you to skip this article as it will contain MAJOR spoilers. 

The megahit movie united three generations of web slingers as Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield returned to reprise their roles and fight alongside Tom Holland. I don’t know about your experience at the cinema, but when I watched it, the cheers were UNBELIEVABLE. The last time I experienced something similar, people we love were walking through portals to help defeat Thanos and his army. Marvel, at this point, has been unbeatable when it comes to connecting the dots and pleasing their fans. 

As impressive as No Way Home was, it left open so many possibilities (even in their usual end credits scene). After saving/curing all the notorious villains from Maguire and Garfield’s Worlds and sending them back, our current Peter (Tom Holland) makes the difficult decision in the final battle, asking Doctor Strange to cast the spell that makes everyone forget about him. It’s the only spell that can stop even more Spider-Man villains from coming through from other Universes. It’s the biggest sacrifice that Tom Holland’s Spidey has ever made. The spell is cast after the incredibly emotional goodbye from his best friend Ned (Jacob Batalon) and his love MJ (Zendaya). The world forgets who Peter Parker is. 

On top of that, they show our beloved Eddie Brock (Tom Hardy). He spent the entire runtime of the movie getting drunk and listening to the history of the Avengers, up until he is transported back to his own Universe. The only thing he leaves behind is a tiny piece from his symbiote friend Venom. 

Now, let’s jump to those questions we all have. 

Tom Holland, Andrew Garfield and Tobey Maguire recreating the famous pointing meme
  1. What happens in Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield’s Universes now that all their enemies have been turned back and changed for the better?

All the reappearing villains, aka Doc Ock (Alfred Molina), Green Goblin (Willem Dafoe), Electro (Jamie Foxx), Sandman (Thomas Haden Church), and Lizard (Rhys Ifans), have been fixed. Thanks to the technology that enabled the three Peter Parkers to cure what caused these people’s villainous turn, they’re no longer evil. When Doctor Strange casts the spell, they are all transported back into their Universes along with their Peter… but they had all died in their original timeline. Will we ever see what happens after they all get back home? It all must have caused a bit of mayhem. 

Going by the logic and the memories that the Peters have, we can safely assume that they were transported after the events of their final movies. In Tobey Maguire’s Universe, Norman Osborn’s son, Harry Osborn (James Franco), is dead. He sacrificed himself to save his best friend. I can’t help but wonder that even with Dafoe’s character being free from the Green Goblin, he probably wouldn’t react well to the death of his son. Could it possibly bring a new conflict into Spider-Man’s life? And although Otto Octavius didn’t have the famous beef with Norman Osborn in Spider-Man 2, there were implications of it in No Way Home? Could it return in a possible Spider-Man 4 movie? 

If we look at the Andrew Garfield movies, the resurrection of Dr. Curtis Connors and Max Dillon should not cause too much mayhem. Possibly.

BUT!

What if bringing them back changes everything in both Universes, resulting in more returning characters? For Tobey, it might mean that Uncle Ben (Cliff Robertson) and Harry Osborn could very possibly return along with Otto’s wife, Rosalie Octavius (Donna Murphy). With the change of their characters in mind and how Doctor Strange emphasized that we know frighteningly little about the Multiverse, I think it would be possible that resurrecting their foes could rewrite their timelines. This could also mean the most significant return of all: Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone).

This is actually something many have brought up. Although Andrew Garfield is once again denying all the rumors, in the event of a ‘The Amazing Spider-Man 3’ movie, Gwen Stacy could return as Spider-Gwen/Spider-Woman. It would definitely be something interesting to see. 

Tom Holland in No Way Home
  1. What happens to Tom Holland’s Peter Parker now that everyone has forgotten who he once was?

Although not yet confirmed, there are indications of another Tom Holland-led trilogy that would be sorely needed in light of all that happened in No Way Home

With Marvel being dead set on destroying my soul last year with WandaVision, Loki, The Falcon and The Winter Soldier, What If…?, and Hawkeye, in particular. I think out of all the titles, Spider-Man hit the hardest. 

I thought that Aunt May’s death would be the worst, but nope…it’s the scene where Peter goes into MJ’s workplace while practicing what he will say to her beforehand. After seeing his best friend and love excited about University, he decides that they are better off without him. Tears… instantly. And then he goes to Aunt May’s grave, and once I realized that it doesn’t say loving aunt… I felt my heart break a little bit. But that wasn’t enough for Marvel. No! They had to make sure we understood that EVERYONE forgot about Peter. Happy (Jon Favreau) then shows up next to him and asks him how he knew Aunt May. 

Peter at Aunt May’s grave

Peter is then seen in a new suit he created, and it’s clear that he no longer has access to Stark tech. He becomes our friendly neighborhood Spider-Man once more. 

A new trilogy may not be confirmed yet.  Still, we know that Holland’s Spider-Man is bound to have another appearance in a Marvel property. Many are guessing that it will be in the Multiverse of Madness, and of course, it would make sense to have him team up with Strange again. However, there’s no sign of that in Marvel’s trailers so far. I guess it’s better in a way, as I would rather be surprised.

However, as many eagle-eyed fans pointed out, some clues are already hidden in the Multiverse of Madness trailers. After the events of Westview, it certainly seems like Wanda used the witch runes to live in her own bubble away from the world that already caused her so much pain. If that turns out to be true, it means that she is the only one in the world who wasn’t affected by the spell Doctor Strange cast in No Way Home. This would, therefore, also mean that she is the only one who remembers that Peter is Spider-Man. Her famous line from the trailers that got picked up by fans also seems to be pointing towards this theory:

“You break the rules and become a hero. I do it, and I become the enemy. It doesn’t seem fair.”

And let’s not forget; People forgot that Peter Parker is Spider-Man, but they didn’t forget about Spider-Man himself. 

Peter’s new suit at the end of No Way Home

One of Spider-Man’s biggest enemies made his big-screen debut in April: Morbius is played by Jared Leto in the adaptation. Its first trailer sparked debates as a familiar face showed up: Adrian Toomes, The Vulture (Michael Keaton). We first met Adrian in Spider-Man: Homecoming, and he hasn’t been seen since. His storyline in Morbius is no longer a secret; thanks to Doctor Strange’s spell, he gets transported into the living vampire’s universe. In the film’s post-credit scene, he shares with Morbius that he believes that Spider-Man is responsible for his new home. It is very interesting to note that a lot of Adrian’s scenes we’ve seen in the Morbius trailer weren't even in the final movie. It certainly seems like they changed his whole involvement according to the events of No Way Home. Let’s not forget that Morbius was originally supposed to come out BEFORE No Way Home.

Could this mean that Tom Holland’s Spider-Man will have to fight one of these famous enemies? 

Why else is it likely that another three Tom Holland-led films will arrive? 

Venom (Tom Hardy) first sees Spider-Man at the end of Let There Be Carnage

Venom. 

Here’s what I think Marvel is doing. I believe there is more to why they didn’t let this new version of Venom have a larger role in No Way Home. The obvious one is that all the villains are connected to either Garfield or Maguire, while Tom Hardy’s Venom doesn’t have his own counterpart. But I think it’s also because of the nature of this Venom/Eddie Brock combo. With Tom Hardy’s take on this character, they seem to be building up more of an antihero instead of the famous enemy of Spider-Man. I believe that leaving the tiny piece of Venom behind in the post-credit scene will be  significant in the following movie, and we will get a completely new version of Venom in Holland’s Universe. A Venom who can be the villain we all know. They can have Tom Hardy reprise the role again or get someone new to play a different version of Eddie. Many would love to see Andrew Garfield’s Spider-Man have a go at Tom Hardy’s Venom, and to be fair… I would too.

  1. Will we see this team-up of Spider-men again? 

Holland, Maguire, and Garfield had such fantastic chemistry that one can’t help but wonder if we will ever see them again on the big screen? Once again, with Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness in mind, Marvel is only just getting started introducing us to their vast Multiverse. I don’t think anyone would be against seeing them team up together. Maybe… just maybe… it doesn’t even have to be live-action? Tom Holland previously mentioned that he would have loved to be a part of Into the Spider-Verse. Even the title itself holds a possibility for these three versions of Peter Parker appearing. Who knows? It would be fun, and it might be closer to happening than we think. 

The famous hug. Will we see them team up again?

So far, no announcements have been made about anything like that happening. I personally hope it will happen again. It was such an indescribable joy seeing them together on the big screen that I felt like a kid again. At the end of the day, that’s what cinema and storytelling are all about. We connect to these characters, love them, look at them as our friends, and we are happy whenever we get to see them again. No Way Home achieved more than we initially thought it could, so I will say this as a closing thought: whatever they decide to do with Spider-Man next, we are fortunate with what we already have. 

What are your predictions for our friendly neighborhood Spider-Man? Let me know in the comments!

Spider-Man: A Hero In All Of Us

"With great power, there must also come great responsibility." This is perhaps the most iconic and recognizable comic book phrase (next to "I'm Batman," of course), and it belongs to none other than the world's greatest superhero, The Amazing Spider-Man! Dating all the way back to his first appearance in 1962, the webhead has swung himself into the lives of millions of children and adults alike, inspiring so many to view him as a role model and to dream of becoming a hero in some shape or form, including myself. So the question I want to answer here is, "What makes him a hero and a role model in my eyes?"

Growing up, something that I found very relatable about Spider-Man was that behind the mask he was just your average guy that always went unnoticed. I was never the popular kid throughout school over the years, nor did I really seem to fit in. I was picked on, I was very shy and I spent most of my time keeping to myself, only having a select few people to call friends. Looking at Spider-Man's alter ego Peter Parker, it was unbelievable to see this guy who nobody really took a second glance at and yet is able to go on to juggle fighting crime and helping others while somehow always choosing to do the right thing. Spider-Man made me confident that anyone, no matter how big or small, can make a difference in this world.

Jake Brown as your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man!

As a hero, Spider-Man has also taught me time and time again to never give up. On so many different occasions, we have seen him outnumbered and outmatched, where all hope looks to be lost. But he always finds a way to rise above any obstacle in his path. When the odds are stacked against him, he has hope and a never-say-die attitude. This was something that has helped me in life, whether it's struggles I've had in my personal life or pushing to do one more set in the gym after I've given it my all. I've adopted the mindset to never surrender to doubt. Instead, I push myself to newer and higher limits so that I can achieve a better version of myself.

As a role model, Spider-Man's attitude and morals have had a big influence on the person I am today. I'm not sure how many times that I've seen Spider-Man put others' needs above himself. He always seems to do the right thing, even though he knows he will get the short end of the stick in the end. Following that example, I do my best to always be kind and respectful to others and to also lend a hand to anyone that may need my help, no matter what the issue may be. Yes, there have been multiple times where my generosity has been taken advantage of and times where I'm the one who is left hurt in the end. Fortunately for me, I always am left with a feeling of accomplishment knowing that I have made a difference in somebody's life for the better and that I'm able to put some good into this world.

"He's a menace!" - J. Jonah Jameson

One of the wall-crawler's traits that stands out to me most is how humble he is. He puts his life on the line for others time after time and will go to the ends of the earth to fight for what he believes in. And not once does he ever ask for anything in return. After everything he does to protect New York and all those that inhabit it, there are still people who despise him and will never respect him. He could easily turn a blind eye the next time someone like J. Jonah Jameson's life may be in danger. But his sense of responsibility keeps him in check, driving him to save all those in need of help, even if it includes his enemies.

When it comes down to it, Spider-Man gives me hope. I believe that the reason the character has stayed so popular and relevant throughout the years is that we all can find something in him to relate to. We all struggle from time to time. Some of us have relationship issues, some struggle financially, and there are some who even struggle to fit in among others. But it's how we choose to handle those struggles that make us who we are. We must choose to be greater than what we suffer. For me, I know that without Spider-Man, I would not have grown to be the man I am today. Yes, he may be a make-believe superhero, but you cannot deny that if we all shared his morals and sense of responsibility the world would be a much better place.

As long as Spider-Man continues to be represented in the form of comics, TV, movies, video games, and so on, there will always be children and adults around the world that will look up to him and feel encouraged to be a hero of their own. I hope that one day I can pass on my knowledge and love for Spider-Man to my daughter (named Parker, wink wink) so that she may find something to take away from the character and carry with her throughout life, inspiring and motivating her in all that she does.

Jake Brown as Spider-Cop

Everything that Spider-Man brings to the table—the responsibility, the humbleness, the never-say-die attitude, doing the right thing—are all qualities that each one of us can (or already do) possess. So I believe that any one of us can be a hero. I've come to the conclusion that Aunt May said it best in Sam Raimi's Spider-Man 2:

"I believe there's a hero in all of us that keeps us honest, gives us strength, makes us noble, and finally allows us to die with pride, even though sometimes we have to be steady and give up the thing we want the most. Even our dreams."

Who have been your role models throughout life? Was it a superhero like Spider-Man, Captain America, Wonder Woman? Or was it a parental figure such as Mom or Dad? Swing on down to the comments below and let me hear your stories!

 

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