Pop-Up Fan Event Launches Out of Failed Baltimore Convention

Wicomicon will take place Saturday, and feature 'Luke Cage' showrunner Cheo Hodari Coker, comic book writer Greg Pak and others.
Courtesy of Wicomicon

The last-minute collapse of Universal Fan Con last week left many unhappy.

Some fans had already made travel plans, booked hotels and paid for nonrefundable flights before the Baltimore event, created to celebrate diversity and inclusivity in fandom, was indefinitely postponed just seven days before it was scheduled to take place.

In response, some fans and creators came together to create their own replacement show.

The new event, Wicomicon, will take place April 28 and feature a number of guests originally intended to appear at Universal Fan Con, including Luke Cage showrunner Cheo Hodari Coker; comic book writer Greg Pak; and actors Hannah Levien (Siren), Sergio Osuna (The Magicians) and Tamsen McDonough (Killjoys).

The event takes its name from the location of the one-day event, in the 1100 Wicomico St. building in Baltimore. Admission is $10 at the door, or $5 for those who had tickets for Universal Fan Con. (Children under 12 get in free.)

Heat Vision spoke to comics writer Uraeus, creator of Black Heroes Matter, who helped organize the pop-up event.

Wicomicon has been pulled together remarkably quick. You announced it within two days of the news that Universal Fan Con wasn’t happening. How did you do it?

The genesis of this venture began minutes after the Fan Con postponement began leaking on social media. Once I caught wind of the bad news via Twitter, I immediately reached out to Andre Robinson (Carbon-Fibre Media) and Elijah Kelley (Be a Boss), who I had partnered with on several projects, including a Black Heroes Matter booth on the Fan Con convention floor, in addition to a Black Heroes Matter panel, highlighted by Cheo Hodari Coker, showrunner of Netflix's Luke Cage

The conversation was intended to chart our next course of actions in the wake of the cancellation, but turned into something completely different when Andre offhandedly posed the idea of throwing an alternate event in place of Fan Con. The wheels began spinning immediately. I dropped the idea on Twitter, and from the positive feedback I received, it was evident that the idea had legs.

We each went back to our respective corners and gathered as many resources from our personal networks as we could that might put us in position to pull off an event in the void created by Fan Con. 

You’re calling the show a “pop-up” event, but what does that actually mean? What is going to be available for those attending?

Wicomicon is the definitive pop-up event, not by design, but due to the fact that it is a temporary installation with a completely spontaneous origin. If you were to have told any of us a week ago that we would be pouring countless hours into building a convention in a week's time, we'd have laughed you out of town, but that's the most beautiful part of this story. None of us stopped to say, "This can't be done." We simply put our individual talents and resources on the table, and organized them with the singular goal of creating something wonderful for Baltimore, and the affected community. This has never been done before, to my knowledge; which made things that much more exciting. This was the ultimate creative challenge. ... What I'm most excited about is the opportunity to commune and celebrate with folks who just four days ago were at a tremendously low point due to the disappointment of the Fan Con cancellation, myself included.

It’s likely too early to tell, but is there the potential for this to go from a one-time event to stopgap the failed Universal Fan Con to something that could come together on a regular basis?

There is great potential for Wicomicon to be a regular reoccurring event. The extent to which the local community has embraced this effort, and the amount of support we have received from people all over the world, has been unimaginable. If we build a strong enough foundation this year, we may have inadvertently created something that could outlive us all.