As the cosplay club walked into the darkened art gallery at a little before dawn for the inaugural “KatziCon” the feeling of dread couldn’t be contained. Autumn, the owner greeted them at the door. She had contacted the team weeks beforehand asking them to be the cosplay guests at her show. Her short dark hair and face were all that could be seen in the doorway as the streetlights in historic downtown Morganton, NC flickered on and off as the sun was slowly rising behind the mountains. “I’ll bring you all to your changing areas.”
Holly entered the sponge painted purple bathroom to change. Autumn then led Jenna and Tabby to an upstairs room. Meghan came to Deadpoolicorn and told him she forgot her bodysuit at home and asked if they could they run to the local Wal-Mart. Way was setting up the booths in more or less the dark as the lights in the convention area had not yet come on. “They’re on timers” he was told and handed a flashlight. “You can go flip the breakers manually if you need to in the basement.”
As she walked into the room at the top of the stairs Jenna held the oil lantern she had been given. “What is up with this place?” she nervously asked Tabby. “I have no idea” Tabby said in her monotone Padme Amidala voice. “Hey where do you think that ladder goes?” The ladder in the corner of the room led up through a hole in the ceiling. “Uhhh I wouldn’t… “was all Tabby could get out before Jenna was up the ladder and out of sight.
Way was making his way down the basement stairs which were carved out of stone and looked to be ancient. They curved in a spiral and almost never seemed to end. As he got further down he heard a grinding noise that seemed to get louder. The flashlight in his hand flickered a little. He stopped and smacked it against his hand and it stopped. As he got to the bottom of the stairs he flashed the light around the room looking for the fuse box. It was at the far corner and he went over to it and flipped the breakers. The lights flicked on and he saw what the grinding noise was. A large man wearing a ski-mask and a visor hat was sitting at a grinding wheel sharpening something. As the lights came on he jumped up and ran past Way to the base of the steps. Way tried to go around him but then saw what he was holding. As the crazed ravager attacked the last thing Way saw was his own face spitting up blood on the iphone as the sharpened selfie stick plunged deep into his chest.
“Jenna! Jenna!” Tabby called up the hole in the ceiling frantically. She pondered climbing the ladder for a second to find her friend and then put one foot on the bottom rung. “BOO!” Jenna’s head popped down through the hole. “HAHAHAHA you should see the look on your face!” Jenna started to say and then her face turned a ghastly pale. “Something’s got…” she started to say and her head went back up through the ceiling hole. “I’m not falling for that again you bitch!” Tabby said. Jenna’s head popped back down through the hole and Tabby turned and started walking back to her suitcase. Then she heard the thud. It sounded like a wet bowling ball being dropped from the ceiling. As she spun around she saw Jenna’s head on the floor and blood pouring out of the hole in the ceiling. She screamed and ran back down the steps into the now lit gallery area.
Holly burst out of the bathroom and ran to Tabby. “What’s wrong??” she screamed as Tabby’s frantic behavior was contagious. “Jenna’s dead!!” she screamed. Just then the basement door burst open and Way stumbled out, selfie stick jammed in his chest and fell forward further impaling himself on it. He gasped his last breathe and died. The girls screamed and ran for the back door. They both tripped over something big and red and when they looked it was Deadpoolicorn’s leg sticking out from behind the wall. He was lying in a pool of blood and had giant novelty scissors sticking out of his back. They screamed and scrambled up back towards the front door where they saw Meghan hanging from a rafter by her neck her missing bodysuit tied tight around her neck in a noose. Holly grabbed Tabby’s hand “The window!!” she shouted. The girls dove through the old plate glass window and crashed into the alleyway. Deadpoolicorn’s truck was still running as they ran and jumped in. Holly threw it into drive and was about to step on the gas. “Wait!” Tabby said. “I will not stand by and watch my people die!!” They lodged a brick from the alleyway onto the gas and threw the truck into drive. The truck smashed through the back door of the building and burst into flames engulfing the entire building in an inferno that flared up to the heavens. The girls jumped into a dumpster just as the shockwave hit.
OK, so absolutely none of that happened except Meg forgetting her bodysuit. The Inaugural KatziCon was nice. It was located in historic downtown Morganton, a quaint little town about an hour outside of Asheville. Deadpoolicorn, Charlie Rocket, Jenna Say What? Ginger Snaps & Holly Berrie Cosplay along with PrideStark Entertainment made the three hour trek there and spent the day taking pictures, greeting people, making new friends and putting on one hell of a good panel. This show, the brainchild of Autumn Culver-Samen, owner of The Katz Art Collective, was a celebration of comics, art, pop culture, cosplay and all things in-between. The show not without its “first time out” growing pains was a great little venue and had a good amount of vendors and artists for being a first of kind in the area. Also in attendance were DingBat Cosplay, Ronald Rossman author of “The Crux”, RetroSky studios, Rolling Thunder Cosplay, The Kilted Creature, Indulge Images, and a few others.
While the turnout to the show was a little low the artists and vendors and cosplayers all got to meet and network. This was to be expected though as again, this was a first year con. The originally planned 4 panels were trimmed down into one super panel starring Jenna Say What?, Charlie Rocket Cosplay and Rolling
Thunder Cosplay which I moderated. I was not Deadpoolicorn though as I had actually tapped out (another first) about an hour before. The bodysuit and a lack of sleep and driving three hours had literally wiped me out. I was happy to moderate and we had a panel that was a mixture of our Cosplay: Secret Origins, Body Image and Conventions with Disabilities panels. The panel was also podcast by Citizen: Earth Media and mixing the panel teams up a little definitely worked out as we were able to have different questions and get different takes on some of the issues. We met some really cool local cosplayers and all in all had a good time. KatziCon while small definitely has potential to grow and if coordinated with the local Morganton town fair in the future will definitely thrive and become a nice yearly North Carolina mountain region convention.