Family Friendly Comic Convention Takes Flight with Debut of Kid-Kon

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Kid-Kon 2017

Maybe you've been attending comic conventions for a few years now. If so, you've established your expectations of what you'll see there, the good, the bad, the ugly, and enticing.

But maybe you've been going long enough that you've mutated -- it sneaks up on you -- into those creatures know as parents. If so, you may find yourself visiting your familiar convention environs one summer with a younger human being in tow for the first time, and find yourself suddenly thinking differently about some of the revealing cosplay, the nude superheroine prints, and the bloody special effects makeup and masks. If you've encountered this uncomfortable feeling already, or if you're just lookign for something that will better engage your young offspring (of which it is your duty to raise properly in the ways of the Force, the Prime Directive, truth justice and the American way, and with great responsibility).

If so, you need to know about Jose and Jessica Prendes -- the couple behind the establishment of the first intentionally family-friendly comic book convention: Kid-Kon.

"We're filmmakers by trade," Jose tells CRITICALBLAST. "So obviously, being filmmakers, we're both fans. We've always been geeks, and we love make-believe and imagination and genre fare, so we go to conventions all the time, just because that's a fun place to celebrate all that stuff."

"We take our kids to conventions. That's part of our life," says Prendes. "I've always wanted to put on a convention of my own. But I didn't want to do the same old horror convention or sci-fi convention or comic book convention. There are so many great ones out there, that I didn't want to do anything unless I felt it would benefit the fans or fandom in general. So I was watching YO GABBA GABBA LIVE with my youngest, and I saw the kids' faces. And I realized: Oh my God, this is what's missing--a kids' convention! So that's sort of what spawned it."

It's taken nearly a year in the planning and promoting, but Kid-Kon is preparing to launch this week, and it's shaping up to be an event to draw in all the geeks who grew up to become parents.

"We call it Kid-Kon, but it is a family con," says Prendes. "It's sort of the 'gateway convention' for them. It's something they can grow up remembering, Oh, I went to Kid-Kon, I want to take my kids to Kid-Kon. It's a safe environment where they can indulge in comic books and cartoons and all that fun stuff, and the parents don't have to worry about anything suggestive or inappropriate. That happens at other conventions, but those conventions cater to an older audience. Our convention is definitely more of a family friendly event.

Like any convention, there will be celebrity guests. But the lineup for Kid-Kon isn't quite the same as you would find at your Wizard World or SDCC.

"There's a ton of conventions in California," admits Prendes. "So when I pitched the idea, it was kind of tricky. They didn't get it, what I meant by Kid-Kon: What? Kid-Kon? Are you going to sell diapers and stuff? But most of my friends are parents, so they get it. They get that it's a family event."

"So for the guests, we didn't want to have the same people that you see at every convention, and that kids don't necessarily connect with," says Prendes. "The idea was to have specific guests that kids can say, Oh my God, I know that person! I want to meet him! So that was really our number one rule when it came to guests. And since YO GABBA GABBA sort of kicked things off, my guest of honor was always DJ Lance -- I wanted to get DJ Lance Rock. And we got him! I think that was so exciting! And he was the easiest one to sell. It was hard to get to him, but once we pitched the idea to him he loved it instantly. His name sort of helped us get everybody else.  We also have Lizzy Greene from NICKY RICKY DICKY & DAWN. We've got BEX TAYLOR-KLAUS from Netflix's VOLTRON show and MTV's SCREAM.  We've got GREG CIPES who does the voice of Michaelangelo and Beast Boy!"

For a complete list of guests, including some Kid Kosplayers (and future Critical Blast Bombshells, we hope!), check out the Kid-Kon guests page!

Kid-Kon is happening this weekend, June 10, 11 in Pasadena, CA, and will also feature appearances by Surly Squirrel from THE NUT JOB 2. With DESPICABLE ME 3 giveaways, vendor booths full of toys, comics, t-shirts, and artists, and family activities like panel discussions headed up by attending guests and even some yoga relaxation sessions, Kid-Kon is poised to be just the thing for the family that geeks together!