Power-Con 2019: Celebrating ‘Masters of the Universe’ and ‘Princess of Power’

According to the Power-Con program, “Our goal is to maximize fan exposure to the creative background and history of He-Man and She-Ra while helping to spread awareness for what is new and upcoming for both brands.  Organized and run by fans, Power-Con strives to give those in attendance some powerful memories to cherish forever.”  Since 2011, fans have been converging on Southern California each year to celebrate the Masters of the Universe (MOTU) and Princess of Power (POP) IPs.  This year, the eighth annual Power-Con was held at the Hilton Anaheim and run by a group of dedicated volunteers led by Event Director Val Staples.  This was my second year attending, and, once again, for a person not well versed in either IP, I had an enjoyable time for several reasons.

The weekend two-day event, August 17 and 18, gathered almost 80 exhibitors, over 30 writers and artists, and a handful of cosplay artists into one of the hotel’s ballrooms located upstairs.  A separate ballroom was designated for panel programming and another room for attendees to pick up the exclusives they pre-ordered prior to the event.  Exclusives included Slamurai and Snake Troopers 3-pack inspired by an unreleased vintage concept from 1988, Horde Zombie He-Man with weapons and shield accessories, and an articulated Starburst She-Ra 12” figurine.  Limited edition Earl Norem MOTU giftwrap, limited edition “Wave Four” Trash Can variant M.O.T.U.S.C.L.E slime from Super7, and souvenir t-shirts designed by Nate Baertsch featuring Scout, War Cat, Stinger, and Water Noggin were available for purchase at the registration desk.  Prices ranged from $20 to $165. For limited incomes, the Retro Rags booth had some Power-Con pins, and there were free Power-Con pins – another pin to add to my collection of flair!

I was immediately attracted to the booth of Zachary Benson Friedberg, visual artist and creator of Speczacular.  Zach’s creations featured Tiki-pop culture mash-ups and mid-century modern architecture.  Especially for Power-Con, he had brightly colored Tiki-esque She-Ra and He-Man prints, in a variety of sizes.  All of his offerings were playful, fun, and entertaining.  Warlords of Wor owner/artist Brandon Michael Barker was an affable creator who explained his packets showcasing an original character and several accessory pieces – weapons, additional heads, and hands.  The figures stand approximately 3” tall and the intricacy of each piece was well done.  Special mention goes to Kindnuggets, featuring figurines of characters from MOTU and a number of one-of-a-kind statues.  The artist was hand-painting his casts at his table while chatting about his craft.  He-Mike Custom Creations had an impressive display of figures, such as Iguantus, Amphibian Horde Troop, and numerous others that were available for purchase.  Although I didn’t recognize the characters, I could appreciate the detailing of He-Mike’s statues.

The room was not laid out like the typical cons.  The organizers placed the cosplay artists and the vendors with foreign MOTU toys and collectibles at the front aisle (of four long rows) facing the entrance of the room.  The second row included writers and artists.  The remaining rows featured vendors and exhibitors.  Although not a typical con layout, it works here: cosplayers brought people in and the vendors drew fans towards the back of the room, so the crowds moved around the entire con floor.  I believe the cosplayers helped set a tone of inclusion and immediate connection with MOTU and POP franchises.  

While I’m not versed in the featured IPs, I still found things of interest.  As an Egyptology enthusiast with a special interest in mummy representation in popular culture, I found several product examples.   For example, one vendor had figures from the 1990s animated show Mummies Alive!  I settled on the Fighting Armon statue.  At another vendor, I located the Tales from the Cryptkeeper The Mummy.  The figurine’s arms are articulated so they can be positioned to reach forward, and the eyes are supposed to glow in the dark.  I love the bio on the back of the packaging that states, “When disturbed, he rises, dripping with withered wrappings, to seek vengeance on greedy archaeologists.”  And, GameStop exclusive League of Legends’ Amumu, a cute, green mummy with a single teardrop, was the third item that went home with me, allowing me to add to my growing collection of Funko mummies.  Although I did not buy them, I did see a handful of ThunderCats’ Mumm-Ra character statues and an original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Mutant Mummy Leo – so cool!

What’s coming up for Power-Con 2020?  In Staples’ Thank You message, they are planning to showcase the 35th anniversary of She-Ra: Princess of Power.  This will be a continuation of this year’s featured panel and signing event with the writers of the Netflix She-Ra and the Princesses of Power show.   Of course, there will be more He-Man, including a follow-up to Kevin Smith’s announcement of an upcoming MOTU cartoon.  And Staples promises there is more to come.  “Our goal is to give you a great fan experience” says Staples, and I can resoundingly say that I agree!

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All photos by author.

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