On Saturday 12th July the NG staff made the trek from Belfast to Dublin for Arcadecon 2014. The con was a nerd’s delight; packed with anime, cosplay and comics alike, thus sating even the most niche of nerd’s palette. As well as an abundance of con-goers, a wide variety of guests were also on hand to delight. Famous cosplayer ‘Missyeru’ was there to show and discuss her skills, with those who aspire to follow in her footsteps. Robert Picardo was there to send an abundance of Trekies into hysterics and, oddly enough, to dazzle his audience with this operatic abilities. However, probably the most anticipated of all was the creator of ‘Adventure Time’ and ‘Bravest Warriors’, Pendleton Ward.
Needless to say all of us at NG wanted to sit in at this talk but with so much going on in one day, it was a case of divide and conquer and luck of the draw as to who would end up where. As time drew nearer we thought we should probably make our merry way to Ballroom 1, discussing our plan of action along the way. However, it soon became clear that we weren’t the only ones aiming for a prized front row seat as, no sooner than you could holler ‘gas powered stick’, a line had appeared that spanned, what seemed the length and entirety of the whole con. After a brief scan of the queue, a mental calculation of seats versus queue versus health and safety, we quickly came to the conclusion that there was more chance of a ‘Green Lantern’ sequel than us getting a seat if we joined the line.
At this point, readers, I’m ashamed to say I played the only card I had left, I played the press pass. I grabbed my fellow photographer Tim by the arm, strode to the front of the queue and descended on the first unfortunate crew member I could find. After a brief discussion and much pointing at Tim, myself and our press passes, we were kindly ushered in given seats that enabled the awesome photos you can see below.However, no sooner had we sat down and set up did we realise I had just committed one of the cardinal sins of reporting… I had left both reporters for the day outside and, along with them, all pens paper and manner of recording equipment. At this point the doors were closing, all seats had been taken and a hush was descending so there was no time to play a switch-a-roo and correct this fundamental error. So with images of our reporters table-flipping and cursing my name to the seven hells, Pendleton Ward took to the stage and I prayed that my goldfish memory would, for once, serve me well.
Thankfully, Pendleton Ward proved to be as memorable and quirky as his creations themselves. He ascended the stage in one of his prolific check shirts, shorts and a pair of hamburger shorts (yes you read that right). Now I’ve been to a number of cons and various talks where a large crowd and thus reaction is expected but, in all my days I have never heard a reaction quite like the one Pendleton Ward received when he took that stage. If I closed my eyes I could almost believe that I was amongst a crowd of hysterical girls at a One-D con cert but, thankfully, I was back in the room and only witnessing first hand a reaction of true appreciation and admiration for this man’s talent’s and creations.
Pendleton proved to be just as witty and charming as I imagined him to be. Although I can’t remember everything that was said (curse you memory) a number of things have stuck with me. For one, he plays ‘Dungeons and Dragons’. Not many people have the courage to admit this hobby to another human being, let alone a room full of them, so needless to say my admiration for the man, and my own willingness to play went up by ten points. Secondly he likes Father Ted which, needless to say went down a treat with the predominately Irish audience. Something that really stuck with me was his ability to demonstrate humility and confidence in equal measures. On one hand he admitted that he firmly believes that his early portfolios were terrible whilst, on the other hand admits that part of his psysche doesn’t believe he can fail. He went onto say that it is this self confidence that will enable future animators to be discovered as well as a willingness to put yourself and your work out there as often as possible (and remember we at NG are always willing to help in that respect).
Probably the most memorable aspect of the talk was the moment Pendleton pulled out an original story board from an episode of ‘Adventure Time’. The room went into hysteria which escalated tenfold when he agreed for it to be passed round the room. It has to be said that this was passed about the room with a reverence befitting a holy relic or the Holy Grail itself (and a photo of this can be seen below).
Finally, it has to be pointed out that a majority of the talk involved questions (from the audience) and answers. I’ve been to a number of talks and have noticed that the audience usually needs a little coaxing to formulate a question or two for the guest. In this case however, two lines formed before the host could even fully invite them to do so. Despite the vast number and variety of questions, Pendleton answered each one with a sense of individuality and even fulfilled the oddest of requests (including a number of selfies and even a ‘Lumpy Space Princess’ rendition of ‘Lady Lumps’).
So despite my lack of pen and paper, it’s apparent that this talk was, without a doubt, one of the memorable I’ve been to. In all, with his quirks, his appreciation of his fans and his own resolve to ‘never make one character more interesting than another’ (a direct quote at last), Pendleton Ward, without a doubt puts the ’Adventure’ into ‘Adventure Time’.