True confession of a Godzilla fan: This is my first G-Fest. I was somewhat nervous flying into Chicago O’Hare for G-Fest. I’ve been to a lot of Comic Conventions and have had fun at all of them. I’ve met amazing people from all over the world. But I’d never been to G-Fest and…This is my fandom. I know it’s irrational but I was worried it wouldn’t live up to other Cons. I was worried I wouldn’t fit in (Did I mention irrational? I hate it when I’m irrational). I was worried that my minimalist, not professional, highly personalized, homemade cosplay wouldn’t live up to other cosplay. I pretty much had a 4 hour flight of insecurity with a side of self-doubt.
Then we landed in Chicago and met a lovely family from Connecticut who were also here for their first G-Fest. It only got better from there. I have never been at a more inclusive, non-judgmental con in my life and I’ve been to a lot of amazing cons with a lot of amazing people. I’ve never seen so many families together at a con either. So many diverse people together in one place sharing their love of all things Kaiju, if you like giant monsters, or any monsters, this is the convention for you.
One of the things I really enjoyed was meeting artists that I follow on Facebook. Starting with, Sean McGuinness aka That Godzilla Guy (http://scgodzillaguy.storenvy.com/ ). If you ask me, Sean McGuinness keeps to the spirit of Godzilla in his art and his activism. Godzilla was always political and continues to be so. If you know the history of Godzilla you will find Sean a fitting ambassador.
I also saw Matt Frank at G-Fest. Not just a talented artist but encouraging to other artists and, frankly, adorable. You can just tell that his passion is art and he’s found his niche and loves it. (http://kaijusamurai.deviantart.com/)
Bob Eggleton has been a favorite of mine since I first got into collectable cards back in the early 90’s. His space art and fantasy cards are some of the jewels of my collections (I’m one head injury away from being a horder—but I think all collectors are). He also has some pieces available at Novaspace (http://www.novaspaceart.com/Originals/Eggleton/Index.html) I like the trading cards because they’re affordable and fun to hunt out at conventions. (FYI I get my Christmas cards at Novaspace too).
It wasn’t just all about Godzilla either. There were fans of Ultraman, Gamera, Kaiman Riders and Super Sentai along with more than I can count or, tbh, identify. There were so many creative cosplay of all ages. This kid’s Megaguirus is just delightful:
Heres’ a father and son combo that took first prize in each of their categories as Ultraman and Baltan:
One of my personal favorites was this young guy’s Dr. Serizawa with the Oxygen Destroyer.
And, of course the Big G himself:
I also ran into Perry, whose name I won’t give you in full but let me tell you his brief, heartwarming story. Perry posted to one of the Godzilla fan pages on Facebook (of which there are many) that he had to go to G-Fest alone because he had no one to go with him. He asked that if people saw him they give him a hug to let him know he was welcome and not alone. When I ran into him he was a bit surprised at all the recognition and hugs he had received. He said he was going to do a little video about the experience. So shout out to Perry. May his con be fantastic and may we see him next year.
On to…The Dealer’s room: I found some of the most amazing collectables (toys). I found a figure of Iris I’d never seen before. And I periodically troll the internet searching for Kaiju collectables (action figures). I snapped that bad boy (girl?) up. A lot of the dealers/vendors bring stuff from Japan so you can find things that you can’t buy online. That was actually my strategy for the dealer’s room. I was on the prowl for things I couldn’t order easily online.
I avoid bootleg video. I want to support my fandom and that means paying for things properly so that artists and studios get the message that there is a market for these items. I did pick up a Japanese boxed set of Armor Mothra that I’d never seen before and it is gorgeous.
For some reason I cannot explain I was very into King Ghidorah this weekend. My major purchase was an enormous King Ghidorah model kit (snap together wings and tails). It is gorgeous. Something about those golden wings just captures my attention and the detail on this figure is amazing. It was surprisingly reasonably priced for its size and craftsmanship too. Still a significant percentage of my budget and I thought long and hard about it before I bought it. I’m glad I did. It’s going to look great in my collection.
My last purchase at the Fest was an 8” AquaMothra figure. I’ve not seen many AquaMothra figures at all, even on eBay. I saw two at G-Fest and just couldn’t bring myself to get the first one. Then I saw the second one and it was larger than the first but the price hadn’t scaled equivalently. Mind you this was after the King Ghidorah purchase, so any further spending could only be on something I really, really, really wanted.
To recap: G-Fest was tons of fun. Lots of amazing fans. Artist’s Alley was awesome. Dealer’s Room had a lot of rare and obscure stuff and the Crowne Plaza in Chicago, where G-Fest is held had the in-hotel channel running monster movies and related shows 24/7 for the duration of the Fest. I’m looking forward to next year.
Last, but not least: Our dining find of the trip has to be Rosemont Gibson’s Bar and Steakhouse. The food is delicious, they have friendly, knowledgeable staff and its right next door to the Crowne Plaza. We split a main course. It was gracious plenty food for the two of us and because we didn’t each order a main course it was quite affordable. Those crab cakes are 8oz each. It was plenty for two adults for dinner. And we skipped lunch to maximize our time at the Fest. (https://www.gibsonssteakhouse.com/rosemont-pages-5.php)