MegaCon Tampa has returned for its second year with bigger celebrities, more vendors and a packed three-day roster of panels, contests, autograph sessions and celebrity sightings. Trust us, mere mortals. You are not prepared.
But for the brave, the curious and the proud, geek-flag flying fanful, here's a rundown of 10 things that you can do this weekend.
Just FYI: Unless otherwise noted, the events described below are all taking place at the Tampa Convention Center.
1. Meet Stan Lee
Excelsior! The man behind some of Marvel Comics’ most iconic heroes and villains is appearing Friday night at 7:30 p.m. for a Q&A session with fans, but that’s not all. Lee will be on-hand all weekend, participating in various fan events, such as a breakfast and exclusive meet and greet for 100 lucky fans. If you’ve never seen Lee in person, this might be one of your last opportunities to do so. He’s about to turn 95 in December, and he can’t keep going to conventions forever.
2. Have a laugh with Jay and Silent Bob
Jay and Silent Bob, the lovable stoners first introduced in 1994’s Clerks, will be appearing by their given names, Jason Mewes and Kevin Smith, for a raucous get-together, Jay & Silent Bob Get Old, on Friday night at 9 p.m. in Ballroom C.
3. Go tell Ian Somerhalder never to admit he threw away his wife’s birth control.
Somerhalder, one half of the The Vampire Diaries’ Salvatore brothers, gets his own Q&A panel Saturday at 11 a.m. in Ballroom C. Somerhalder appeared for eight seasons on the popular CW Network show. He also was an original cast member on Lost and had a memorable role in The Rules of Attraction. But lately, he’s been getting heat for an interview he did with his wife Nikki Reed where he disclosed that he flushed Reed’s birth control pills after they talked about having children.
4. Watch a preview performance of The Addams Family: A New Musical.
Come watch a preview performance Saturday at 12 p.m. in Room 1 of The Addams Family — A New Musical, which reunites Gomez, Morticia and the rest of the Addams Family brood in an original production that focuses on daughter Wednesday’s new love interest, who is (gasp!) a normal guy.
5. Learn how to make a steampunk costume for cheap.
Aspiring steampunk cosplay fanatics can enjoy a full day of workshops Saturday to delight their anachronistic hearts. There are three Steampunk-specific events Saturday, and they will all be held in Room 4: 1 p.m., Steampunk Costuming on a Budget; 3 p.m., Steampunking a Nerf Gun Workshop; and, finally, 5 p.m., Writing Steampunk Fiction.
6. Have a beer with a bunch of crazy costumed people
Just because the convention floor has closed, that doesn’t mean your night is over. Convention attendees can head down the street from the convention center to the official MegaCon afterparty, which kicks off at 9 p.m. Saturday at Ferg’s Live, 490 Channelside Dr., Tampa. The featured event is live rock karaoke, which means you get to sing in front of a live band. Space is limited. Advance tickets are $10.
7. Get Strange
Admit it, you binged the entire first season of Stranger Things in a single afternoon. Well, on Sunday, you can go ask questions of two of the show’s young stars, Gaten Matarazzo and Caleb McLaughlin, who have their own Q&A panel at 3:30 p.m. in Ballroom C. Don’t forget to ask about Season Two, which debuts October 27 on Netflix.
8. Watch a Sketch Duel
Renowned comic book artists go head-to-head in a draw-off that you get to watch live and then enter to win the original art that they’ve created. No, seriously, this is a thing.
9. Pay tribute to Dr. Paul Bearer
The Halloween Horror Picture Show is hosting a tribute on Saturday at 2 p.m. in Room 12 to Dr. Paul Bearer, the host of Creature Feature, which aired Saturday afternoons from 1973 to 1995 on WTOG Channel 44 in St. Petersburg. The man behind the makeup, born Dick Bennick Sr., died in 1995, but his legacy has thankfully lived on.
10. Go get spooked at Howl-O-Scream
Tampa’s 17-year-strong Halloween attraction at Busch Gardens, Howl-O-Scream is accepting victims this weekend. Tickets range from $39.99 Friday to $44.99 Saturday. Busch Gardens is open until 1 a.m. both nights. For more information, click here.