Writer Dominic Riggio, of Birmingham, displays the work he does through his business, Mess Bucket Comics, at Motor City Comic Con last October. One of his comics series is based on his time playing junior hockey, and one of the comics features a story based on his experiences with former Detroit Red Wing Darren McCarty.

Writer Dominic Riggio, of Birmingham, displays the work he does through his business, Mess Bucket Comics, at Motor City Comic Con last October. One of his comics series is based on his time playing junior hockey, and one of the comics features a story based on his experiences with former Detroit Red Wing Darren McCarty.

File photo by Patricia O’Blenes

Motor City Comic Con to appeal to multiple fandoms

By: Charity Meier | Metro | Published May 8, 2023

 Breanne and Brian Cremean, of Canton, portray Laudna and Chetney from “Critical Role” at last fall’s Motor City Comic Con.

Breanne and Brian Cremean, of Canton, portray Laudna and Chetney from “Critical Role” at last fall’s Motor City Comic Con.

File photo by Patricia O’Blenes


NOVI — The 2023 spring Motor City Comic Con, scheduled to take place May 19-21 at the Suburban Collection Showplace, 46100 Grand River Ave. in Novi, will have its largest array of celebrity guests and exhibitors to date, according to MC3 team member Samantha Yankee.

Motor City Comic Con is a biannual event, with conventions in the spring and fall, that is marketed as “Michigan’s largest and longest running comic book and pop culture convention,” having been established in 1989. It is known for having a variety of celebrity and comic book guests, and numerous exhibitors.

According to MC3 team member Beth Burland, whose brother founded MC3, fans are very excited for this con, as the guest list — which features actors from television, movies and streaming platforms, along with comic book creators — has something for everybody.

Among the nearly 40 celebrity guests this year is Christopher Lloyd, who is best known for his role as Dr. Emmett “Doc” Brown in “Back to the Future.” Event attendees will be able to have a photo taken alongside Lloyd and a DeLorean replica for $199.

This will also be the first con where they give attention to the “Harry Potter” fandom, with the presence of Jason Isaacs, who portrayed Lucius Malfoy in the “Harry Potter” films. Other guests include Tony Danza, who is known for his roles on the TV sitcoms “Taxi” and “Who’s the Boss?”, and native Detroiters David Ramsay, who is known for his role in “Arrow,” and Richard Karn, who played Al on “Home Improvement.”

For Trekkies, Commander William T. Riker and Lt. Commander Data, aka Jonathan Frakes and Brent Spiner, will be at the convention. “Doctor Who” fans can look forward to autographs and photos with Donna Noble, aka Catherine Tate. And for fans of “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers,” Red Ranger Steve Cardenas will be on hand.

This year’s show will include many voice actors such as Chris Martinet, who voiced Mario and Luigi in the “Super Mario” game series; and Tara Platt and Yuri Lowenthal, of “Naruto” fame.

Thirty-three comic guests will be making appearances, including Bob Camp, who is known for “The Ren and Stimpy Show.” Other comic guests include Donny Cates, Ryan Stegman, Darryl “DMC” McDaniels, Amy Chu and Peter J. Tomasi.

“We’ll often get comments from previous shows about (a fandom) feeling left out, but I feel like we covered all of our bases here with big names in all of the different fandoms,” said Yankee. “This year, our guest list is probably the best that we’ve had, at least in a very long time.”

She said that when selecting guests, they look at not only who is available, but also try to make sure that they have guests from different fandoms. Yankee said they always make sure they have someone from “Star Trek” and “Star Wars.”

“We try to think of all the different fandoms and try to choose people that would fit into all of those,” said Burland.  “Honestly, there are so many fandoms, I definitely couldn’t name all of them. But the big ones that we are hitting for this one is we’ve got three people from ‘Arrow,’ and we’ve got ‘Psych,’ we’ve got ‘Doctor Who,’ ‘Supernatural,’ and anime has really had a resurgence, so we have a lot more voice actors than we usually have. And the great thing about voice actors is they will cover by themselves so many different fandoms, because they’re voicing characters.”

Celebrity and comic guests will be signing autographs and taking photographs with attendees for additional fees. Photos must be purchased in advance through the MC3 website, but autographs can be purchased on-site. Attendees will also be able to participate in various discussion panels, view anime screenings in the anime room all weekend, and see and purchase merchandise from a vast array of artists, crafters, comic book stores and other vendors. One vendor, HoverMatters, makes custom hoverboards, which Yankee said is something attendees could purchase to have autographed by Lloyd.

New to MC3 this year is HADO AR, which combines sports and gaming to form the “world’s first techno sport and physical e-sport,” according to a press release. The game is played in two teams of three, and according to Yankee and Burland, it goes relatively fast. Each game costs $6 per person, but attendees can also purchase a $15 weekend pass for the game. Players must be at least 10 years old to participate.

“It’s essentially like a dodgeball game, but instead of dodgeballs, you are using virtual powerballs,” said Yankee. “The cool thing about the augmented reality versus virtual reality is you still get to see everything around you, and because most of our attendees will dress up in cosplay, you are going to be battling against Darth Vader or some other character.”

On Saturday, May 20, guests who register in advance will compete in the annual cosplay contest for prizes such as MC3 fall passes, autographed photos, cash and other prizes. Sunday, May 21, is Kids Day, where all children under 12 will receive free admission to the con. There will also be a kids cosplay contest on that day.

The Kids Den area will be located in the Legacy Room on the second floor of the convention center during the entire Con. The Kids Den will offer activities and crafts geared toward children, such as making slime with Ghostbusters, storytime, drawing classes, balloon animals and more. This year, MC3 will be handing out not only an adult guide to the events and happenings, but a kids guide as well, which will feature an activity book and a scavenger hunt for the kids.

“It’s a place where they can go, and it’s specifically geared towards the kids and a quiet area for parents to take them to give them the chance to unwind,” said Burland. “We try to get something for everybody, from the littlest ones to the oldest ones.”

Several trivia games will be offered throughout the weekend, geared toward some of the celebrity guests. This includes a “Back to the Future” trivia game, and a “Doctor Who” trivia game.

According to Yankee, the number of guests varies annually. She said it often depends on how much space they will be able to utilize at the convention center. She said they don’t always have the entire center. This year, they will be utilizing all 371,000 square feet of the Suburban Collection Showplace. She said that attendance is generally somewhere between 20,000 and 40, 000 fans.

“I started out as an exhibitor, and this was one of my favorite shows to go to, because somehow no matter how big it was — no matter how big the guests are — it always has that small-town feel. And I think that’s because it’s a family business. You have the same people that are running the show that were running it when it first started in 1989. So people recognize you. They know you by name,” said Yankee. 

She said it might be an overwhelming experience for first-time attendees, but there are a lot of people at the con who make it “a very friendly, loving and welcoming environment to be in.”

“Before I went to my first Con convention, I was worried that I wasn’t nerdy enough to go to it, that I’m not a fan of all the nerdy things so I might not fit in. But the people that come to these shows, they’re just so passionate, friendly and open that I highly recommend that everyone try it,” Yankee said.

MC3 attendees can expect to see people in costumes, but attendees are not expected to have costumes.

“It’s just a fun place to be, and (people) feel comfortable putting on their costume and coming in. There’s so many people that do it,” said Burland.

When people come they can expect to spend an entire day, said Burland. She said you can come for just a few hours, but most people enjoy spending the day. Yankee said that if you only spend a few hours, you will not see everything.

The event is so popular that the show’s exhibitor list is currently waitlisted. Yankee said they have doubled and almost tripled some of their categories. She said they are getting twice as many applicants as they have in previous years. According to Yankee, for Artist Alley alone, the waitlist is 200 to 300 artists long.

“So if people want to be part of our convention, they need to apply early,” Burland advised.

For more information or to purchase tickets, autographs, and photos, visit www.MotorCityComicCon.com.