After a year hiatus, I was back at MondoCon! I could not have been more thrilled. I can’t tell you how much I missed all the great art, the films, the artists, the nerds and of course my friends last year.
My return did not disappoint.
As always, my partner in crime in Austin was Aaron Rainbolt (but everyone calls him Rainbolt, or so he says).
This year we were treated with a new venue, both for the event (Austin American-Statesman) and the screenings (Alamo Drafthouse – South Lamar). Both proved to be upgrades as all the booths and panels were conveniently contained in one building. This made walking amongst the artists much easier. My only knock against the convention space was the lack of air conditioning. It was unseasonably hot and humid, which made for some miserable moments of discomfort in large crowds.
I’ll be honest, I am too old to camp out overnight. But I appreciate that there are some seriously dedicated poster nerds who relish in the idea of braving the elements to have first crack at this year’s best limited edition prints. And by the time I arrived to check in on Saturday morning, the line was already ridiculously long. But the dilema, like year’s past, created a difficult choice. Wait in line for entry into the artist hall or wait in line for the Mondo store. Needless to say once those doors opened, attendees darted to their first stop as fast as can be. Top of the ISO (in search of) list for many were Martin Ansin’s Rogue One, Laurent Durieux’s Jaws 2, Ghostco’s 2001, from the Mondo Store as well as gems from the individual artists themselves like Matt Ryan Tobin’s Ernest Scared Stupid, Oliver Barrett’s The Green Room, Matt Taylor’s Guardians of the Galaxy, and of course anything from Mike Mitchell. Prints flew off the shelves, autographs were obtained, pins were exchanged, and of course friends old and new came together.
I only attended one screening over the weekend. To be honest, going into the convention I was disappointed with the screenings. This is not to say the movies aren’t good, but I felt like the 2015 line up of Goonies, Halloween, and Batman put it to shame. I decided Ex Machina was the way to go. I’m thrilled I did. I thoroughly enjoyed the movie as it was my second viewing and the print by Rory Kurtz turned to out to be a must have from the convention.
In total, I was in Austin Thursday – Monday. Over the course of those days I was fortune enough to eat at Alamo Drafthouse three times, Valentina’s twice, and Texas Chili Parlor. I’m sure there are a ton of joints I need to try, but I’m the kind of guy who finds something he likes and sticks with it. Obviously the Alamo Drafthouse offers really good food while enjoying a movie, which I took advantage of with the aforementioned Ex Machina, but also Thor: Ragnarok (must see in the theater) and Suburbicon (wait for home viewing if at all). Rainbolt introduced me to Valentina’s, at fantastic Tex Mex BBQ joint. As a huge movie buff, it would make zero sense to visit Austin without hitting up one of the famous movie locations. Luckily we could combine nostalgia with noshing at Texas Chili Parlor. Surprising the Death Proof locale also provides wonderful food, specifically, as the name of the joint would suggest, the chili. These weren’t the only eateries we patronized, but these are my top recommendations.
I’ve been to a ton of conventions across the country, including the big one in San Diego. They all have their highlights, but once again I found that MondoCon is my favorite. I love that some of the industries best talent get together in one place and allow fans to get up close and talk with the artists. Obviously artist row at SDCC is fantastic, but with the crowds it is hard to have conversations. And a lot of the smaller conventions aren’t able to attract a lot of the top talent. MondoCon is a great mix of both.
If you haven’t been to MondoCon yet, do what you can to save your pennies to attend next year. If you have been, I really hope to see you next.
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