New York Comic Con 'Voltron' Panel brings Nostalgia
I have a love/hate relationship with the 1980s ‘Voltron’/’Robotech’ series. While I love the creative teams and support both the originary and continuing projects, I’m hesitant regarding how they started. At this year's New York Comic Con, World Events Production held two different panels on Friday and Sunday celebrating ‘Robotech’ and ‘Voltron’'s upcoming cross-over/monumental anniversaries with 'Voltron' creative director Jeremy Corray; Tommy Yune, Robotech Creative Director; Bob Koplar, WEP VP; Kevin McKeever, Robotech Marketing VP; and Joseph Rybandt, Dynamite Comics' Senior Editor, as panelists. While briefly interviewing Jeremy Corray before the Sunday panel, I remembered my original love/subsequent hesitance of ‘Voltron’ and ‘Robotech’’s American mecha beginnings.
My love/hate relationship with 'Voltron' and 'Robotech' started as a child watching Saturday morning animations. I loved 'Voltron''s multi-layered storylines and delicate artistry reflected through amazing inking, hand-painted animation cells, and Hagar’s ethereal robo-beasts. Likewise, I loved season one ‘Robotech'’s underlying love story, animated mechanisms and Minmei’s blue braids. Although I refuse to believe I’m no longer a pre-adolescent playing with my brother’s ‘Voltron’ figure; I hated learning later that Ted Koplar (World Event Production’s ‘Voltron’) and Carl Macek (Harmony Gold’s ‘Robotech’) mashed differing animes together to form the beloved series' we know today. 'Voltron' encompassed ‘GoLion’ and ‘Armored Fleet Dairugger’ while 'Robotech' conflated 'The Super Dimension Fortress Macross,' 'Super Dimension Cavalry Southern Cross,' and 'Genesis Climber MOSPEADA.’ As a former English major who covered 18th century studies, I’m conflicted over what feels like colonized animation, even though both 'Voltron' and 'Robotech' made my childhood an utter joy while introducing an art form I still appreciate.
My love/hate relationship continues with the 2011 NickToons’ now-cancelled re-boot ‘Voltron Force.’ While I believe ‘Voltron Force’ lobotomizes the original, I’m an utter fan of WEP's current ‘Voltron’ creative director/'Voltron Force' writer/producer, Jeremy Corray, and his unabashed enthusiasm. Although Corray credits five hour energy drinks with artificially boosting his impressive bouyancy, I’ll ascribe it to his ability to externalize his enthusiasm. As a blogger, New York Comic Con is incredibly tiring with pressroom interviews back to back, 50 jillion people on the showroom floors, bathroom lines out of the wazoo and a crush of people moving between panels. If it’s difficult for fans attending, it’s twice as difficult for the celebrities/talent who must give their energy to the paying fans who believe in their projects and attend their panels. So, hats off to Corray and his staff for consistently giving a good show and amping up the audience. Corray manages to keep it fresh and not seem cynical. As an interviewer, it’s incredibly refreshing to see a producer maintain that investment and audience connection across multiple comic cons and multiple years. Think about it, if he recreates personal intimacy across a massive audience, consider the intense concentration of his energy on a one-on-one level. Corray looks at most people with an unblinking blazing sword intensity. When we first met last year while I was in the middle of a cold, Corray complimented my voice, suggesting I do radio. Considering he didn’t do so this year means he rocks a major phlegm fetish and his wife is probably the vocal doppelganger for ‘Venture Brother’’s Dr. Girlfriend (now, Mrs. The Monarch).
While I wasn't a fan of 'Voltron Force''s simplified scripts and don't believe 'Voltron' is purely a guy's show, Corray knows more 'Voltron' backstory than ANYONE. Hell, just call him Coltron (Corray+Voltron). No one has ever out-geeked me until Corray analogized our second interview with sensory memory and the Sim City diamond effect. While he probably doesn’t remember every single interviewer he meets, his incredibly earnest charm wins all and convinces you otherwise. He's the dude who states you're cool even when you aren't. Geeks, take note, this is how it’s done. I would rank Corray slightly below comic con staples such as Green Ranger Jason David Frank, The WhoVerse’s John Barrowman, and the always excellent B-movie king Bruce Campbell. People don’t visit their panels just for their sci fi projects, but their ability to charm and construct a personal connection with each member of their 500+ member audience.
So, while I’m conflicted over ‘Voltron’ and ‘Robotech’’s American beginnings, I’m not conflicted about their location in my childhood memory and annually support their New York Comic Con panels. If you're also a lover of 'Voltron' and 'Robotech,' greatly disparage their American beginnings, yet love them nonetheless, then check out the Dynamite Comics' ‘Robotech‘ / ‘Voltron‘ cross-over hitting stores December 2013. Ironically, my tech failed and I only have last year's interview on my digital voice recorder and last year's panel on my video camera.
For more information on World Event Productions, visit www.wep.com and http://www.voltron.com or follow Voltron on Twitter @Voltron or on Facebook.com/VoltronOfficial. For more information on Harmony Gold’s Robotech, visit www.robotech.com.