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Geek Out!

Port City Pop Con
May 10th-11th
Wilmington Convention Center • 515 Nutt St.
Passes: $25/day, $50/weekend, $150/VIP Kids 11 & under free w/adult.

“It’s about time!”

Those were the first words out of my mouth when I found that the Port City was finally getting a Pop Con. For the uninitiated, Pop Con is a pop-culture convention that brings the best of film, television, gaming, and comic books to one location for a funfilled weekend. For years I’d been traveling out of town for events like this—most notably to San Diego for the granddaddy Comic-Con. Now, Wilmington finally has a convention of their own, thanks to the creative force behind Port City Pop Con, Mike Roberts, a one time resident who still very much calls the Cape Fear home.

I spoke with Roberts about the upcoming convention.

encore: If you were describing the event to someone who had never attended a comic-book/pop-culture convention of this caliber, how would you do so?
Mike Roberts: Being in a room full of all the celebrities who helped shape and mold your childhood can never be described. It just has to be felt. For the common convention-goer, the atmosphere will be a big part of everything. Seeing people dressed in costumes, wearing popular character T-shirts, and a chance to really let out your inner nerd without being ridiculed.

e: What was the first “con” you attended?
MR: Horrorfind Weekend in Baltimore, Maryland. It was a horror convention, more so than a pop-culture type deal, but I was attracted to the amount of people that turned out. Specifically the lengths some of them went through, dressing up in costume. Overall, just seeing everyone having a great time.

e: Tell me a little about your connections to Wilmington and why you wanted to bring a pop con here.
MR: I was born and raised here. I moved to Dallas, Texas, about a year ago, but all my life I have lived right here. I wanted to bring the convention to town because I know it can be successful. The new convention center is a great place for starter conventions. No matter what I have going on in my professional career, I try to bring it back home one way or another. I want this to be something people want to be a part of and look forward to each year—much like the Azalea Festival.

e: What are some of the events at Port City Pop Con you’re looking most forward to attending or you think people will enjoy?
MR: I think people will enjoy celebrity panels and hearing about the experiences these celebrities have had while working on various projects. It’s no surprise that “The Walking Dead” is one of the hottest shows on television right now, so I am sure people are going to love meeting and talking to those guys.

Port City Pop-Con includes an impressive list of well-known actors and creative voices behind some of the best-known movies and TV shows of the last 50 years. Actors like Michael Biehn (“Terminator,” “Aliens”) and Ernie Hudson (“Ghostbusters,” “The Crow”) will be making appearances.

One of the staples of any good convention are the panels, and this year has a number of exciting opportunities for fans take part. The two standout panels feature a discussion with cast members from “The Walking Dead,” and a “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle” panel featuring actors from the movie and voices from the animated TV series. There’s also a bevy of recognizable faces from some of the best cult classics of our time. Actors you may have seen in movies like “The Neverending Story,” “Night of the Living Dead,” “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” and one of my personal favorites, “The Last Dragon.”

It wouldn’t be pop con without a costume contest featuring fans dressed up as their favorite characters from television, film and comics. The contest is one of several competitions going on during Port City Pop Con, which includes a Super Smash Brothers Tournament for all Nintendo aficionados looking to bring their A-game. Pop con will feature some local talent, including the crew from Hank & Jed Productions, who will promote their two hit web series, “BFF: Battlefield Friends” and “Doraleus and Associates.” There will also be a performance from the area’s favorite video-game-inspired musical duo D+D Sluggers.

There is something for the fan in all of us at the first Port City Pop Con. What will hopefully be the first of many annual events celebrating pop culture in our area, which has been a home to geek-friendly properties like “Iron Man 3,” “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,” “The Muppets” and “The Crow” since the film business first set roots in our area over 30 years ago.

For a full celebrity lineup or further details, visit the website online at

Festival Schedule:
Day 1: Friday, May 10
VIP Early Entry: 4:30 – 11 p.m.
Must have VIP pass to enter early
* No one will be allowed in the doors before 5 p.m. without a VIP pass unless you are a registered vendor.
General Admission Entry: 5 – 11 p.m.

9 – 11 p.m. “Black Dahlia Haunting” screening

Day 2: SATURDAY, May 11
VIP Admission: 10:30 a.m. – 8 p.m.
* Only those with VIP armbands will be allowed in at 10:30
General Admission: 11 a.m. – 8 p.m.

1 – 2 p.m. Video Game Voice-Over panel, feat. video voice-over celebrities from games such as Red Dead Redemption, World of Warcraft and more!
2 – 3 p.m. “The Walking Dead” panel with cast members
3 – 4 p.m. “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle” panel, feat. actors who voiced or portayed roles over last 25 years.
4 – 5 p.m. Costume contest, prizes!
10 – 11:55 p.m. VIP Party (disclosed to VIP ticket holders only; must have a VIP pass to attend). Celebrity guests,musical performances.
12:30 – 2:30 p.m. Short film; session 1
2:30 – 4 p.m. Conference panels

Session 2
5 – 6:15 p.m. 1Hour/1Take screenings
7:30 – 8 p.m. Passholder’s Lounge and Video Buffet
8-10 p.m. Short film session 2
10 p.m.-2 a.m. Red Eye after-party, Soapbox Laundro-Lounge

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Encore Magazine regularly covers topics pertaining to news, arts, entertainment, food, and city life in Wilmington. It also maintains schedules and listings of local events like concerts, festivals, live performance art and think-tank events. Encore Magazine is an entity of H&P Media, which also powers Wilmington’s local ticketing platform, Print and online editions are updated every Wednesday.

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