Shortly before this year's Dragon*Con event, convention entertainment group Wasabi Anime/Green Mustard Entertainment announced that InvaderCON II: DOOMCON would take place “near” Los Angeles. Today, the team behind the only convention dedicated to Jhonen Vasquez's short-lived Nickelodeon series, Invader ZIM, stated that the convention will take place at the Marriott South Bay in Torrance on July 28 and 29, 2012.
Over Labor Day weekend at Dragon*Con, Wasabi Anime's Tom Croom, who led the convention's Invader ZIM panel, likened the show to Star Trek. Like the original Star Trek series, he says, Invader ZIM was a science fiction story that was canceled too soon, yet it went on to develop a massive following.
Invader ZIM, the story of an alien invader and the schoolboy who tries to thwart him, originally ran on Nickelodeon between 2001 and 2002, but it's popularity now spans generations. There are fans in their 20s and 30s, many of whom may have already been a fan of Vasquez's 1990s cult comic Johnny the Homicidal Maniac before Invader ZIM hit the air. There are the teens and young adults who caught the show as children. Even now, there's a new group of youngsters who have come into the fold after catching repeats of the series on Nicktoons. At the Dragon*Con panel, which we attended, the legacy of Invader ZIM was evident inside a packed hotel meeting room that boasted a lengthy line into the hallway. The size of the crowd was even more impressive in consideration of the fact that the panel didn't boast any guests from the series.
InvaderCON began as ” a joke over dinner with a group of friends,” says Croom. In a recent phone interview, he told us that, several years ago, at a dinner following their final JACON event in Florida, Richard Horvitz, who played ZIM on the series, suggested it in jest.
“We were all at dinner and Richard would start making a joke “When are we doing ZIMcon, we have to do ZIMcon?” he recalls.
It turned out that the domain for ZIMcon was taken, but InvaderCon wasn't. Croom scooped up the URL invadercon.com to “see if anyone notices.”
“Before we knew it, we were getting a response from fans,” he says.
The original InvaderCON was held in Atlanta earlier this year and was intended to be a one-time only event celebrating the show's tenth anniversary. The entertainment group experimented with the standard convention model by being “transparent” with audience, stating that the more tickets they sold, the more guests they could bring to the event. In the end, they scored appearances from series stars Horvitz, Andy Berman (Dib), Rikki Simons (Gir), Melissa Fahn (Gaz) and writer Eric Trueheart. About 1000 people attended the convention, Croom says.
“I've done over 30 conventions,” says Croom. “Never in my entire life had I come out of a convention where parents and kids were coming up to myself and my staff, taking a moment to come to us– and they paid us money– and saying, 'I just want to say thank you because this is the greatest moment of my entire life.'”
Word of the event quickly spread after the fact. InvaderCON gained more followers on Facebook and the team received many more requests to do another event. They're bringing it back one more time and making it bigger than before. Next year, in addition to members of the cast, creator Jhonen Vasquez has signed on to attend.
Tickets for DOOMCON go on sale on September 17 at 11:55 p.m. Eastern Standard Time through the InvaderCON website. Weekend passes are $50, but there will be discounted rates offered in limited numbers for those who make their purchases early.
DOOMCON will also offer a “Jhonen Package,” once tickets go on sale. This will be a very limited convention package that will include an exclusive print signed by Vasquez as well as preferred seating for one of the artist's two panels. Guests who purchase this package will also be given the chance to have one other item signed by the Invader ZIM creator.
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