Whether the members of the teen and tween community in Santa Clarita are fans of Star Wars, anime, video games or Harry Potter, the city of Santa Clarita Public Library made sure everyone for every fandom was welcome to the FanFest on Friday.
“I thought it was actually really cool because I’ve come to the other stuff with the community centers and I was like I was telling her (gesturing to her friend) because we love comics and stuff, I wish they had more stuff like this, because it’s not really, there’s not accessible out here for us,” said attendee Victoria Harrison.
Attendees were invited to enjoy fandom themed crafts (such as DIY Pokémon terrariums, painting mushroom pots, DIY cosplay bags, etc.), a Super Smash Brothers tournament, shop at comic book vendors and listen to live local music.
“I haven’t been to one of these before, but I’m quite surprised by the turnout and like the different age groups that it seems to be geared towards which is pretty cool,” said attendee Hillary Burton.
For one of the musical performances, this was their second time ever performing.
Local band, their name being an inside joke, “Can someone tell Mocha I’m gonna be late,” is fully composed of Valencia High School choir students.
Newhall librarian Liza Purdy heard the band play at their choir show and invited them to play at the FanFest.
“It’s really exciting and surprising the fact that we’ve only played like legitimately once,” said band member Nemo Kalaw.
The band is composed of Nathan Egami, Kalaw, Joel Priesz, James Stockman and another member who was out of town for the event.
The two primary points of interest for the event were the Super Smash Brothers tournament, in which 17 competed, and a Funko speaker.
“The speaker from Funko is going to be here so we’re actually interested in that,” said Harrison.
Jeff Victor, a designer and artist for Funko, has been a part of Funko since October 2022.
Victor shared that the time it takes to fully complete a Funko Pop! figurine typically ranges from a year to 18 months.
Funko Pop! figures have become a big name in the world of collecting over the last couple years for their specific style in recreating various points of interest in pop culture, including movies, television, music, video games, etc.
Due to his short time at Funko, Victor said that unfortunately he was not able to speak about what he has worked on with the company quite yet, but rather offer advice from the perspective of an artist who has made his dream come true.
“I’ve worked in animation, video games, done some comic books, but yeah, I’ve had a very busy career,” said Victor.
Victor’s art is stylized as Chibi art, exaggerating certain features while the legs and arms typically remain short.
He had many approach him saying that he should work for Funko. He agreed, as it was his dream.
Little did he know that one day Funko would approach him directly, offering him a job.
“I mean it was very flattering,” said Victor.
Victor’s goal for his speech was to inspire the younger audience of artists and encourage them to stick with their passion, even if the road is unclear.
“I’m here just to encourage the kids because when I was their age people would tell me, ‘don’t bother going into art,’” said Victor. “’Get a practical career, be a doctor, be a lawyer. You’ll never make any money, it’s just a hobby.’ All these things to kind of discourage me, and I really want to come here to tell the kids like, there is a path forward if you want to be an artist or want to be creative in any capacity … You can make a career for yourself as a creative, and I’m living proof.”
Having a speaker from Funko spoke to the growth that FanFest can achieve, and as residents want.
“I’m mostly excited for the growth because I would really like this to be to become a bigger thing,” said Egami. “It’d be great. It would be so cool to have a Santa Clarita Comic Con.”