This isn’t going to be your typical convention preview.
Amazing Comic Con Aloha, the third stop on the Con-athon 2018 circuit and the last 3-day geek con on Oahu for the year, is scheduled for this weekend at the Hawai’i Convention Center. It’s arguably the state’s largest comic marketplace, boasting a healthy lineup of local and national comic talent in the combined Artist Alley/Dealers Room.
The guest list has traditionally been stacked as well. This year’s pop culture roster includes actress Evangeline Lilly, fresh off her starring stint in Ant-Man and the Wasp; Charles Martinet, the voice of Mario in Nintendo’s long-running franchise; voice actress Tara Strong, the voice of Raven, Harley Quinn, Timmy Turner, Bubbles, Unikitty and Princess Twilight Sparkle, just to name a few of her roles; Justin Briner and Mike McFarland, repping the My Hero Academia dub; and Keith Silverstein, Chloe Hollings and Lucie Pohl, the voices of Overwatch’s Torbjorn, Widowmaker and Mercy, respectively. (Update 10:12 a.m., 8/23: Lucie Pohl has canceled.) Notable artists include Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles co-creator Kevin Eastman, legendary creators Neal Adams and Marv Wolfman, and a good selection of artists from the Hawaiian Comic Book Alliance. (They have a special print available this weekend, too.)
There’s a pretty big elephant in the room, though — an elephant that’s currently at Category 4 and projected to make an impact on the state over the next few days. That’s the Central Pacific Hurricane Center’s latest projected path of Hurricane Lane as of 5 a.m. today at the top of this post.
It’s sent 99 percent of the state into lockdown mode. City, state and federal offices are keeping non-essential workers at home and cutting off services. Schools are closing. Sporting events, the Greek Festival, Blaisdell shows, Honolulu Museum of Arts programming and movie screenings are being postponed or canceled. Heck, even Zippy’s is closing. (Here’s a complete list.)
That other 1 percent? Amazing Comic Con Aloha. Con organizers have repeatedly insisted on social media that #TheConIsON and that they’ve been in constant contact with the proper authorities to ensure the show goes off as scheduled. In fact, VIP members and those who bought premium ticket packages can pick up their passes on the second floor of the Ala Moana Hotel from 6 to 8 p.m., then make their way over to Nocturna Lounge at Waterfront Plaza/Restaurant Row for a pre-show mixer.
I have mixed feelings about all of this. I’m stopping short of urging that people not go, but it’s hard to ignore the fact that the rest of the state is effectively shutting down to prepare for Lane, and that other organizations and venues have deemed the risk too great to proceed with their scheduled events. Something is going to happen over these next few days. The questions are, to what extent? For how long? And how much are we willing to risk our safety for stuff that’s nice to have, but we don’t necessarily need to have?
Here’s where I stand: Con-athon community, I love you guys, but I’m just not willing to commit to attending this weekend. As a result, you might not see my usual flurry of con updates on my social media channels. I’m admittedly someone who looks at things in terms of worst-case scenarios, and Lane just looks too scary right now to leave my shelter-in-place for at least Friday, and probably for Saturday, too. We’ll see about the aftermath on Sunday. I’d love to be proven wrong, but we’ll just have to play the waiting game for that.
There will be other events like this down the line. I just urge you all to use your better discretion in deciding whether to attend.