Every year that we go to Retro World Expo it just seems to get better. In years past (and going all the way back to our first year) it felt like we embraced fewer aspects of it. This year, 2022, it truly felt like we did a little bit of everything and likely somehow still managed not to see it all.
One of the misconceptions of the idea of "Retro World Expo" is that it is *just* about retro video games. While they are prominently featured, you can also find comic books, VHS tapes, action figures and other toys, trading card games and art there. To some extent it does have an old school vibe. For example: the WWE action figures I saw there were Hasbro, which is from the 1980's/early 1990's. I didn't see a lot of WWE Mattel figures, which would be the modern brand.
The first and perhaps biggest purchase I engaged in this year came on Sunday but it was linked to Saturday as well. One of the first booths we saw when we were walking around on Saturday had an Alf plush for sale. I saw him, picked him up and said "If he's here on Sunday still, I'm going to buy him". Well, he was and so I did.
The funny thing about buying this Alf plush and carrying him around is that people would see him and compliment him. He became a conversation piece at the convention itself. Quentin, age 10, did not know who Alf was before this but he seems to like him now, which is good. And ever since I was younger I only wanted two toys that I set out to find in my adulthood: this Alf and a Pee Wee Herman doll (which I picked up maybe five years ago) So in some weird childhood linked into adulthood way, I also feel complete with this toy now being in my home.
But Retro World 2022 wasn't just about toys and childhood memories. Wait. Yes, it was about childhood memories in a lot of ways because the first purchase we technically made was a signed 8x10 by Steve Lavigne. The short description of Steve Lavigne is that he's a comic book artist who has specialized in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, but to put it as simple as that would be like saying "Michael Jordan was a guy who played basketball". There are few names (you can count them on one hand) out there doing more for TMNT than Steve Lavigne did, so it was both an honor and pleasure to meet him and obtain this TMNT-Minions crossover piece.
Sometimes, who we saw wasn't just a celebrity type behind a table. One of the best aspects of Retro World Expo is seeing so many different characters walking around. During the Blitzkrieg! Pro event on Sunday, as Dante Drago wrestled 50 Cal, there was a T Rex in front of the television display fighting with Darth Vader. Truly one of those "It only happens here" type moments.
One of my favorite types of people to see at Retro World Expo though are the local artists who come in and create for you. In years past, we always saw people making that bead art and I've even purchased comic books and stickers which were made by the people selling them. As of last year though, our favorite creator who comes to these shows is Tayamation. Last year, Quentin got this great Vaporeon art piece that he still talks about. His love of Eevee and Eevee's evolutions is crazy good. This year he got a keychain and gashapon while I was fond of this particular piece.
Blitzkrieg! Pro returned for their second year of wrestling and while that will get its own review (linked here when ready!) the fun fact that connects all of this in some way is Jack Purcell, who is a comic book artist for Marvel and DC but has spent quite some time creating posters specifically for Blitzkrieg! Pro. They are all really so good and I should know because I have nearly all of them. So when Jack Purcell announced he was creating this special poster for Bryce Donovan as part of Retro World Expo 2022 I knew we had to have it. It also helps that Bryce Donovan is one of Quentin's favorite wrestlers.
On the theme of being retro but also not video game related, it was quite the experience this year to meet K.I.T.T. who is from the show "Knight Rider". This is just another one of those examples of things you will likely only see at Retro World Expo, at least to the extent that it feels like if you're going to see all of these cool things at once this is the place to see it.
I would be remised if I went to Retro World Expo (or really anywhere with comic books) and didn't come home with some comic books. It's funny how RWX happens once a year but I kind of stock up on things to hold me over until the next time and that includes playing video games and reading comic books. I picked up this series of six issues of "The Bekkoning" from Deft Beck and will likely spend some time writing about them when I'm done reading them.
Of course it wouldn't really feel like Retro World Expo without getting some video games. There are a lot of free play games set up on tables throughout the convention center and there are also a large number of arcade and pinball style games as well- all free play! If you're looking for a Nintendo 64 complete in box or a specific version of Animal Crossing (shout out Phil Cardigan) then this is the best place to find it.
While looking for the perfect game for Quentin, he decided upon this Nintendo 3DS Megaman game which is six games in one. This came inside of a plastic sleeve type deal so we didn't open it until we got home and then realized that it still had the sticker pack inside- which was also sealed up but we opened them up. That was a nice little surprise there for sure.
From comic books to video games, toys to art, professional wrestling to talking cars, there really isn't anywhere else you can go that is quite like Retro World Expo. I definitely feel like we made the most of it this year, experiencing it more fully than we ever have before. It just makes me that much more excited for next year. And I just want people who might think it's about one thing to know how many different genres are represented so that maybe you see something that makes you want to go next year if you feel like you missed out this year.