Can't wait until the annual SavCon 2014 that will be taking place June 27-29? Enthusiasts can get a taste of the '80s nostalgia and anime convention Jan. 11 at the one-day dealer room.
We received a preview of what treasures attendees can expect to find from SavCon founder Sean Klabunde.
Why did you decide to have this one-day dealer room event?
Klabunde: I thought it would be a good idea to have a pre-convention event for everyone who is excited about our 2014 show. Dealer rooms at conventions are a huge draw with fans looking for that special item or items they cannot find anywhere else.
Even at the last SavCon, our dealer room was packed both days with people buying; at different times, I even saw people go in three or four times over the course of several hours. When it came to planning and ideas being tossed around, I looked back at the dealer room and how so many loved the variety the show had. It was apparent to make the dealer room event happen.
One thing about this dealer room event I am excited about is that all of the vendors appearing will be at our show in 2014, and a lot more, too, so this gives our attendees a chance to sample what our dealer room will look like in June.
What can people who attend expect?
Everyone that comes can expect a lot of toys - hard-to-find toys, at that! Transformer toys from 1984 to 2013 and maybe 2014. Transformers are very popular and have quite a huge fan base.
So are G.I. Joe, Masters Of The Universe, Star Wars, Ghostbusters, Barbie, Smurfs and any type of superhero figures will always be in demand, especially with the Marvel and DC movies being huge in the theaters and TV these days.
Also the Japanese anime end of it, like that comic manga books and the very detailed Japanese figurines and statues, too. I am planning to have a little bit of everything at this show just to give everyone a taste. There will also be plenty of costumes, too. Some will be inside the hotel hallway for the families that bring children and some out in the parking lot and on the side of Abercorn Street waving at those passing by.
Besides the toys and comics, we will have artwork, T-shirts and novelty items by local vendors, too.
What are some of the most in-demand items you expect to sell quickly?
This is really a hard question to answer. Usually it's what each individual is looking for; personally, I can see items like Transformers Masterpiece Soundwave, Bluestreak, Smokescreen and Prowl selling really fast because you cannot find them on shelves in Savannah at all!
Another item is Transformers Metroplex, which is a 2-foot tall transforming robot that is very hard to find on shelves. I would also expect a lot of the older classic figures to be in high demand, like any figure or vehicle from the 1980s GI Joe line, Star Wars, Thundercats, Power Rangers and older superhero items like Batman, Spider-Man, Avengers, Superman, as well.
What are some of your favorite '80s games, movies, etc. that you expect to be represented?
Growing up in the '80s, I used to watch "Transformers," "G.I. Joe," "Thundercats," "Silverhawks," "Masters of the Universe" and countless other animated shows. These items will all be at the one-day dealer room for others who love these lines.
One of my favorite movies from the '80s was "Ghostbusters." Loved the comedy, loved the story, just one of those movies you can always watch that just never feels out of date. Later in the '90s, I got into Japanese anime when I finally got to see my very first "DragonBall Z" cartoon and was automatically hooked! After that, I branched out and started watching more Japanese anime-related movies and series like "Akira," "Ghost in the Shell," "Lupin" and "Vampire Hunter," and the list goes on and on.
Watching shows like these, all in their own way, helped me form this type of show I hold here in Savannah.
How did Mario's Comics from Atlanta get involved?
I met Mario Russo on Facebook and loved what he was doing in North Georgia. He does a lot of shows a year; some he attends and some he hosts. He approached me not long after I announced the one-day dealer room about making a trip to Savannah for it. Of course, I was excited about it. I mean, to be honest, Savannah is not a hotbed of comic books anymore like in the '80s and '90s, so doing a show like this, you have to look outside the city limits to find those interested in doing a show or event.
Mario's a great guy and has a lot of fans. I am expecting him to leave Savannah with a very positive experience, while meeting a whole new group of fans to take home with him.
What's something from the '80s that every collector needs?
If you are a serious '80 s collector, I think having a Star Wars light saber, Ghostbusters proton pack, a K.I.T.T car from the TV series "Knight Rider" and a Scooby Doo Mystery Machine would be tops on my list! And an old style Pac-Man arcade machine in the den!
How did the idea to create SavCon come about?
I love the idea of conventions - the whole "meeting fans" and "nostalgia" of it all because I am a very social person and can be vocal and passionate about what my interests are.
It was strange when the SavCon idea came to me. I was hosting an event for the movie premiere of "Transformers: Dark of the Moon" on June 29, 2011, with a good friend and co-worker, Tillman Futch, which was just going to be a free meet-up with food and drinks before we went to the midnight premiere of the film.
I met a guy, Paul Cooke, who is a huge Transformers fan, and as the afternoon and evening went on, it became clear that Savannah needed a "SavCon" not for just local fans, but for surrounding state fans - fans who cannot spend thousands of dollars traveling all over the U.S. to various shows. As me, Tillman and Paul talked throughout the event, ideas began forming and by the end of the movie premiere, the first show had already been formally laid out, and Paul and Tillman became the co-founders of this show. It was pretty much that simple.
As we went along with the planning, we wanted to make this more than just a fan show. We wanted this to be a family-friendly event where we leave no one out, and most importantly, involve the family-friendly area businesses, as well, but still keeping it for fans and collectors, too. When I opened up the doors on the first show, to all of our surprise, we felt we achieved what we set out for. The goal from now on is to continue to make this show a premiere event for families and fans alike.
What do you credit for SavCon's success?
I have to say that no matter how much time you spend promoting, shaking hands or creating fliers and all of those marketing strategies, it all comes down to the passionate people who get behind you and push you and your dream. The secret to SavCon being successful is these types of people.
Whether it's people like David Oswald, Vanessa Johnson and John and Christi Wilcox, who come to the meetings with such a passion for what we are doing and constantly want to help out any way they can. Sbarro Pizza in Oglethorpe Mall, who love to cater our meetings, to Oz Muerte, who sends you text messages about what's going on in the area, finds places to go talk to and asks for fliers to pass out. There are people on Facebook who send messages about helping and giving me information on a variety of different things, sharing our information to reach as many people as we can, like Jared Boswell, Adam Messer and Daniel Pawloski.
Even those not in our city and state, like James and Mary Szewczyk, who run Pappy's Collectible Toys out of Virginia Beach, Va., happen to be huge SavCon supporters. James and Mary travel the country to all these conventions, big and small, and they promote our show to everyone they meet. It's a really great feeling to have so many people on board helping you be successful. Then, having someone who doesn't even live in the state out there going to bat for you makes it even more special because you are branching out beyond your wildest imagination.
SavCon will always be about the people; without the people behind you, you'll never be successful.
Anything new/extra special in store for SavCon 2014?
SavCon 2014 is going to be monumental. We have taken everything that's pop culture and crammed it into a two Â½-day event. We will have special guest Dan Gilvezan, who was the voice of Bumblebee in the 1984 "Transformers" TV series and was the voice of Spider-man/Peter Parker in "Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends." Also appearing is Richard Epcar, a god among the anime community, being credited in over 300 anime movies and series and even more video games. Best known for his work in "Ghost in the Shell" movies and TV series, where he was Batou! And he was the voice of the Joker in the hit video game "Injustice: Gods Among Us."
Savcon 2014 is kicking off with a one-time, pre-register-only performance on Friday, June 27 by Savannah's own geek comedian Phil Keeling. There will be autograph sessions; all types of discussion panels. There will be voice acting and voice directing panels, costume panel, anime outtake reel and a costume contest. We are even going to have a customizing class and panel discussing how to paint and sculpt action figures, too! Like I said, this show is going to be monumental. I can guarantee this will kick start anyone's inner child.