I still remember attending my first comic book convention five years ago. Upon entering, my eyes darted back and forth, scanning between exhibitors, writers and artists, cosplayers, and media guests. It was all I could do not to burst with excitement. As incredible as the feeling was to step into a larger universe and be surrounded by things that I truly enjoyed, it was also a bit overwhelming. I wasn’t sure how to navigate the floor layout and was afraid of missing something in such a large crowd. But I quickly learned and I’m glad I did because Cons are an incredible ride. I encourage any readers who have the means to attend a convention to do so, even if it means stepping outside of your comfort zone. You never know who you might meet or what you may walk away with.
A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to attend Motor City Comic Con at the Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi, Michigan with my aunt. I highly recommend traveling with someone who can match your appreciation and hype because it makes the experience that much more memorable.
We knew going in that we had a lot of ground to cover trying to meet the stars of our favorite DC TV shows so we wasted no time. In awe, I stepped up to meet this season’s villain for Arrow, Kirk Acevedo. Acevedo plays drug lord and criminal mastermind Ricardo Diaz, who is based on the character Richard Dragon from the comics. For the first time, the villain was neither killed nor captured during the finale, as Diaz escaped and went into hiding with his new allies, the Longbow Hunters. Acevedo told us that he doesn’t know much about what the plan is for Season 7, but that he does know he’ll be back to stir up trouble and that they start filming again in five weeks. After mentioning that I was a fan of the episode “The Dragon” which shed light on his background, he agreed that it was one of his favorite episodes of the season too. “I like it when you get a villain where you can see where they’re coming from and see their side of things. My favorite part of that was when the logo changed to the dragon. That was awesome!” It was fun for me to get to talk to him because he was just so friendly and genuine that you forget he plays a mass murderer on a TV show. I even made the point of telling him that he plays crazy really well in his characters, to which he chuckled.
Shortly thereafter we were able to meet Cress Williams aka Jefferson Pierce aka the titular hero of CW’s newest hit Black Lightning. He even signed my copy of the first volume of JLA from 2006! I’ll admit I was a little starstruck meeting him, only able to tell him how awesome he was. In fact, I think I told him he was awesome six times. Of course, no lie was spoken but there was so much I wanted to say, like thank you for being part of such a socially conscious project, or thank you for bringing great depth to this character. I think he got the gist though from my smile.
Next, we attended the Black Lightning panel, which also featured Nafessa Williams and China Anne McClain who star as Anissa Pierce and Jennifer Pierce, respectively. In an unconventional manner, the panel started with the lights going out. The outage lasted only a minute and as the lights came back on, Williams didn’t miss a beat before jokingly apologizing for the lights. The panel was truly electric (pun most definitely intended) as the cast bounced off of one another. Something I enjoyed was seeing just how close these actors have become while filming the show. We may as well have been watching the Jefferson family themselves. The cast revealed that the upcoming season would see the Pierce’s working even closer together, continuing to develop the superpowered family dynamic. Other than that, the trio had little to offer about what to expect from Season 2. Instead, they offered their hopes for the season and/or future seasons. McClain believes that Jennifer will start to look on her powers with more acceptance and grow into them as the second season progresses. C. Williams admitted that producer Salim Akil has teased a possible appearance from Virgil Hawkins aka Static Shock and even the development of a “Lightningverse”.
When fans were given the chance to ask questions, I wasted no time getting to the mic. My question was something I’m sure they’ve been asked often, but I was curious nonetheless. I asked them, “Now that the world of Black Lightning is more established, would you want to see any crossovers with the rest of the Arrowverse shows and characters?” McClain smiled and noted that they had just been talking about it backstage. Cress was blunt, answering, “Respectfully, NO.” He went on to say, “I think that you kind of start to save the world by saving the neighborhood and spreading good and causing a chain reaction. That’s really what we’re about. We’re not at the save the planet level yet.” Nafessa agreed, adding, “Yeah I mean if they all want to come to Freeland and fight for the hood then maybe we can talk about it, but we have these complex issues that we need to keep addressing first.” The cast was adamant about maintaining the integrity and style of the show before China quipped, “We say this now but look out for a musical episode in Season 5.” As a fan, I really appreciated the weight they gave to my question as well as their honest answers.
After exiting the panel, something extraordinary happened. We were on our way back to the main showcase hall when suddenly, Tom Welling (Smallville, Lucifer) ripped open nearby curtains and asked if anyone knew where the restrooms were. All I could think was, Superman just asked me where the restroom is. Superman needs my help… But I had nothing. I stood there, stuck like glue, babbling nonsense. Then the curtains closed and he returned to his quest of finding the nearest restroom. So yeah, that was definitely a sting for which I only had myself to blame. Although I was beating myself up over the missed opportunity to be a hero to my hero, the regret quickly faded because I would soon have the chance to officially meet him.
I asked him if he was finally able to locate the restroom, to which he laughed and confirmed that he was. I was ecstatic to have him sign my copy of Action Comics #1000 and be able to briefly talk Smallville. The previous night he had stated in a panel with Michael Rosenbaum that he would be open to portraying Lex Luthor on the CW’s Supergirl, after getting some advice from Rosenbaum on how to shave his head first. While joking in his response, he later confirmed to several fans that he had serious interest. My aunt had some questions about the Lucifer series finale, such as, “Why did you kill Charlotte?” He sighed, responding, “No one ever thinks to thank me. She wanted to die!” He revealed to us that he’s hopeful that the show may be picked up by Netflix or another channel, as it was canceled by FOX. Before saying goodbye, I thanked him for his work in the Cheaper By the Dozen series, which I raved about in my childhood and personally believe deserves more recognition.
Welling would later get a shout out from Stephen Amell during his panel. “A lot of people give me the credit for starting all this, but it started with him. We have all this because of Smallville.” Amell is referring to the sprawling Arrowverse of course, which came about after the success of Smallville. Amell’s panel was packed to the edges of the room, with hundreds of fans anxious to hear from the actor currently holding the mantle of the Emerald Archer. After such an unpredictable season finale, there was much to discuss. He was excited for fans to see the finale now that Oliver is not only in prison but has revealed his identity to the world. He also said that while he’s thrilled to have Colton Haynes return next season, he will miss Paul Blackthorne on set along with the evolving dynamic their two characters shared over many seasons. Amell stated that he is very knowledgeable about where Season 7 is heading and that fans have a lot in store. He restated that Batwoman would feature in this fall’s crossover and that the heroes would be heading to Gotham. “We’re also debuting a new character, who, when I heard about it, I just got goosebumps,” Amell revealed. “I’m so excited.” Amell proceeded to confirm that the next season will be 22 episodes instead of 23, before breaking huge news. “Just because you’ve been polite, and just because everyone has been so nice to me today, I can break some news for you and let you know that in Season Seven I am going to debut the goatee.” This created a massive uproar, as fans have been clamoring for the classic look since the premiere of the show.
When I reached the mic to ask a question, I inquired about Amell’s thoughts as to the shifting dynamic of Oliver being a father to William this season and where he hopes that will go in the future. “Well it’s kind of hard for them to have a relationship now,” Amell joked, referencing Oliver’s arrest and imprisonment. He continued, “I know a lot about Season Seven, but I actually don’t know anything about William or where that’s heading. I’d like to see it play out more because it’s been really fun to see a lighter side of Oliver as he figures out parenting. It’s been interesting to see Felicity as a parent too and see them parent together.”
After getting a photo with Amell and Williams together and getting my Green Arrow: Year One copy signed by Amell, we took the time to explore the multitude of classic comic vendors and aspiring artists. Some of the things people have been able to collect and create are breathtaking, and truly illustrate all the excitement that awaits at a comic book convention!
Something else we noticed when meeting Stephen Amell was that his wife accompanied him, patiently waiting as he talked with fans. Many of these stars have families and give up their time to do cool things for the fans, some of whom are aggressive in nature. It’s important to thank them for being gracious and giving us a chance to meet our heroes. Thank you from myself and the rest of the team here as DC Films Hub to all the creators, writers, artists, actors/actresses, directors, producers, etc. who take the time to meet and engage with fans. We appreciate you!
Are you excited about the future of DC TV? Hoping to attend a local convention? Thankful for the people who bring our heroes to life? Let us know in the comments below!