Information: fanlexicon.com or (904) 880-4281
Tickets: fanlexicon.com, $10-$80
When: August 20 and 21, 2016
Where: Lexington Hotel and Conference Center Jacksonville Riverwalk – 1515 Prudential Drive
Acceptance, relaxation and socialization make conventions sound like a trip to the beach. Honestly, to a degree they are, minus all of the sand. There is a joy to collecting and a natural glow from admiring fans that is just as bright as sunlight. It is in this area of appreciation that Fan Lexicon shines best. Fan Lexicon is a multi-genre convention that celebrates all aspects of fandom including toys, anime, cult classic films, comics, and more.
Fan Lexicon sprang from the Retrorama Collectibles show in 2012. In the beginning the festivities filled one small room in the Ramada Convention Center on San Jose, but in the intervening years it has grown exponentially. Our region has been supporting Fan Lexicon’s development to the point that the convention now hosts biannual shows and draws significantly bigger crowds. Their new show, for example, will have 35,000 square feet of stunning entertainment. One small room, it is not.
But what really moves Fan Lexicon forward is that it is a little different than other conventions. Fan Lexicon is the heartbeat of childhood and a magic lamp of memories. Uncommon items that are extremely hard to find can be spotted there. A Garfield phone, a Smurfette collectible plate and maybe even an elusive issue of Deadpool could make their appearance among the dealer’s tables. The statement “content is king” still holds true, especially here. Fan Lexicon bring a high amount of celebrity interaction, retro toys, a cosplay contest, rallying with real life characters and the chance to meet animators that crafted family favorites. It provides a large selection of merchandise and a solid mix of dealers too, however, the focus of the jubilee is to produce a quality event. It is run by the “fans” for “fans” to meet the needs of “fans.” There is a lot of “fandom” in that sentence and even more at the convention.
Each “Con” in Jacksonville has its own distinct vision for visitors. Fan Lexicon’s vision is rooted in the public being entertained and enjoying themselves for the duration of the show. This means that the directory for activities is chocked full of amusement for all ages. Fan Lexicon’s vibrant blend of guests don’t usually make an appearance in the Jacksonville area which makes them a rare treat. In previous shows the guests have included: Don Barton director of ZAAT; Ricou Browning, who portrayed the ominous creature from the movie The Creature from the Black Lagoon; Don Coscarellie, director of the Phantasm horror film series, Bubba-Ho-tep, Beastmaster, and John Dies at the End; Veronica Carlson and Suzanna Leigh, actresses from the famed England’s Hammer Films studio; Lew Temple (Axel from “The Walking Dead”); and Cindy Morgan from Caddyshack and Tron.
For this upcoming convention there is a list of fantastic guests: Samantha Newark, musician, singer and the voice of Jem/Jerrica Benton from “Jem and the Holograms”; George Lowe, the voice of Space Ghost from Adult Swim’s “Space Ghost Coast to Coast” and also various voices on “Aqua Teen Hunger Force” and “Robot Chicken”; Tom Cook, animator of “Scooby Doo,” “ Thundarr the Barbarian,” “Challenge of the SuperFriends,” and so many others including various Disney animated pictures; and Mike Toth, animator of “He-Man,” “She-Ra Princess of Power,” “Shazam,” “Ghostbusters,” and many Disney classics.
Cosplayers will also be in full effect throughout the event including: The Sailor Moon Scouts of Jacksonville; Siren Croft Cosplay; HellGirl Cosplay; Pikabellachu and the PikaCar; The Jacksonville Ghostbusters; The 501st Legion Squad 7. Joining in the cosplay action yourself is highly encouraged!
Other notable guests are: Bill Rebane, director of The Giant Spider Invasion and Twist Craze; The Toymaker, creator of Germ Spider Designs and horror artist; David Lee Redding, musician/music director; Professor Andrew Beall, UNF Professor who developed the class offering called “Science of Star Trek”; Sean Taylor, writer for Gene Simmon’s “House of Horrors” and Shooting Star Comics; Bill Grefe, the esteemed Florida movie director of the films They Came From The Swamp and Stanley; The JaxNerds, purveyors of Jacksonville’s cooler side; and artist/creator Astral Ticket. Local artists are also featured.
Fan Lexicon isn’t just for collectors; it’s for the entire family to enjoy, right down to the admission prices. According to Craig Young of Fan Lexicon: “Fan Lexicon from the start has been designed more around the content. We want you to spend a few hours here enjoying yourself for both days. The show is built with stuff to do in mind.” There is a lot planned content to be enjoyed. This includes a gallery for great artists and two days of Pathfinder-type gaming. Comic book vendors will be in abundance. There will be rooms dedicated to the experience of Anime, a Video Game room hosted by Arcade Jax, Role Playing Games and a section just for dealers too. There will be two different panel rooms for discussion and fan questions. This is where a we get to find out all the secrets that make the magic so magical from the stars themselves.
As for the future for Fan Lexicon, it is in its expansion. They plan to bring their distinct brand experience of local delights to a larger audience. By further perfecting their efforts they’re able to display gratitude to North Florida for its valiant support. Fan Lexicon is centered here in Jacksonville, and that’s part of its evolving charm, part of the reason why it is so important.
They way I see it, collectables are trophies of time and they bestow the reward of nostalgia to their bearers. Wanting to hold on to the good times and happy days is human. I personally like seeing the words “retro” and “vintage.” These words temporarily halt the march of time just long enough for us to understand the value of what we love, what brings us joy and makes us joyful. Our hobbies are like the yellow brick road to our dreams, with Fan Lexicon pointing out the way. I have to thank the organizers of Fan Lexicon: Ed Tucker of Jacksoville’s Retrorama Collectibles Show, Social Media Manager for Fan Lexicon Craig Young and Dustin Brunell from the Rogue’s gallery for sharing so much information with me. See you August 20th and 21st!