The morning of Saturday, August 25, 2018, in SoCal started out rather overcast, but that did not deter fans of He-Man and She-Ra from descending upon the Torrance Marriott Redondo Beach hotel last weekend for Power-Con. Established in 2011, the Saturday/Sunday convention celebrated the Master of the Universe and Princess of Power franchises.
Although a smaller scale specialty con, the program stated that it is the organizers mission 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.” One way the organizers achieved this goal was by selecting exhibitors and vendors that were identifiably associated with the two franchises, rather than padding the exhibitor hall with extraneous or non-industry vendors. Hence, attendees were either devoted fans of the franchises or genuinely interested in learning more about them by attending this event.
The organizers were thinking of their fans’ experience when designing the programming. For instance, instead of running concurrent panels that competed for audience attention, there was a dedicated ballroom and the hour-long panels were held one at a time. Fans did not have to forego seeing one event over another. Each panel attracted more attendees and, as a result, the energy of the ballroom was more positive and engaging with the panelists and the material being discussed. The panelists were directly involved in the franchises, so they provided insight into their experiences working as writers, artists, directors, and such.
Toys were well represented at Power-Con. Many of the vendors had toys and collectibles, and there were some toy manufacturers on the floor, such as Mattel and Super7. There was also a surprising number of foreign vendors with toys manufactured in Central and South America. After chatting with author Brian C. Baer who wrote How He-Man Mastered the Universe: Toy to Television to the Big Screen (2018, McFarland), this attendee learned of the influence of He-Man and She-Ra in countries located south of the U.S. The take-away parable of the He-Man and She-Ra stories resonated here and globally.
In addition to the panels and the exhibition hall, Power-Con hosted after-hours events on Friday and Saturday evenings that included panel discussions centering on the fan film, Fall of Grayskull, and a 10-year retrospective with Pixel Dan. There was a cosplay contest late Saturday afternoon, and the con had souvenir t-shirts and exclusives. Even the badge designs, nine in all, were good quality (They got an “A+” for spelling my name right.) and came with lanyards. The commemorative program had fun with the badge types, such as describing Kid Pass holders as “the next generation of awesome fans” (quite true, by the way!).
While there were many positives, there are a couple of aspects that could improve Power-Con in the future. First, for attendees who may not be as familiar with Masters of the Universe and Princess of Power, having a He-Man/She-Ra 101 panel that provides a historical retrospective would be helpful to minimize the learning curve for newbies. While this attendee’s enjoyment of the con was not diminished, having the panel would have resulted in a fuller engagement with the event and the vendors. Secondly, there did seem to be a lack of representation of what was new and upcoming for both franchises which, understandably, could have been impacted by the unavailability of guests to participate at the con. Otherwise, this was an entertaining and thoroughly enjoyable con and one worth attending next year.
A photo gallery of the event has been uploaded to the Fanbase Press Facebook page.