“When you’re stuck in one spot in life, and you’re given an opportunity, you have options: You can stay in the same place and become stagnant, or you can go for it and take the shot – I call it stagnate or skate.”
When the headliner of ACBC’s inaugural event, Stan Lee (You may know him as the creator of The Amazing Spider-Man) canceled his planned appearance earlier in the week, the convention had options – Stagnate or skate. When it started as scheduled on a mid-May Thursday afternoon, it went off without a hitch.
ACBC kicked off with a reunion party with the original cast of the 1979 cult classic The Warriors, and “The Boys from Coney” didn’t disappoint. In fact, they were such a hit, that the majority of them stayed out to play for the remaining three days of the con, signing autographs and taking pictures with their fans at an exhibitor booth.
With panels that spanned the weekend and covered topics across every facet of the pop culture spectrum, attendees were provided an experience that didn’t limit them to the exhibition floor. Special cosplay guests like Miss Chrissy Lynn and Kit Quinn provided insight into the world of creating and costuming, while Patrick J. Reilly (MTV’s Guy Code) spearheaded a panel speaking solely about 90’s Disney Channel cartoons. Not enough to satisfy your need for stars? How about Michael Rooker and Sean Gunn headlining a talk about the Marvel blockbuster Guardians of the Galaxy, or William Shatner (Star Trek) telling tales of his failed Atlantic City poker experiences. The most crowded panel of the weekend, of course belonged to Smith who was later joined by his Mallrats co-stars Rooker and Jason Mewes.
Smith held an open forum, and openly gushed about his opportunity to work with Johnny Depp in 2014’s Tusk. He raved about his daughter, his comic book store (Jay and Silent Bob’s Secret Stash), and what went into making his hit AMC series Comic Book Men. He gave thoughtful, long-winded answers, and kept the ears of his audience from start to finish.
Some of the most talked about attractions weren’t guests or panels, though. The absent Lee was still represented in fine fashion by the Stan Lee Museum, which featured jaw-dropping displays and props, namely five marks of Iron Man’s armor and the original helmet worn by Chris Hemsworth’s Thor. The Wonder Woman Museum gave fans insight into the history of the Warrior Princess of the Amazons with a wall that presented her story via timeline. The garage was prime positioning for photo ops, as it proudly displayed every version of the Batmobile, Doc Brown’s infamous DeLorean and the Jeeps that successfully survived Jurassic Park.
As the doors to the Atlantic City Convention Center closed late Sunday evening, there wasn’t a hint of doubt left in regards to the success of ACBC. This first-year con did more than just skate. In the words of Smith; It “did a f*cking pirouette.”