Comic books have been more than leisure reads for actor C. Thomas Howell, even as a child. “I collected for years,” says Howell, known for his roles in Red Dawn and The Outsiders. “My father taught me to read from comic books.”
Later in life, he returned to his parents’ home to retrieve his well-thumbed collection.
“Oh, honey, I threw those old things away years ago,” Howell’s mom told him.
“I’m still in therapy over this,” he reports.
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Howell sees the Coachella Valley as an ideal location for the brand-new PS Comic Xpo, June 22–24 at the Palm Springs Convention Center. “I’m coming to meet the awesome people of Palm Springs and kick Darren Dalton’s butt on the golf course,” he says of his Red Dawn and The Outsiders costar. “Oops, I mean play some golf with friends and family … I’m able to mix business with pleasure there, see friends, have a meeting or two, hit the Con and enjoy a round of golf and a spa. Who wouldn’t do that?”
The brainchild of 20-year Palm Springs resident and self-proclaimed “serial entrepreneur” Meachele Campbell, PS Comic Xpo has compiled an array of celebs for its inaugural year.
The convention kicks off Friday, June 22, with a concert that lets voice actors step out of the sound booth and into the limelight for the night. Jeremy Shada, the voice of Finn on Cartoon Network’s Adventure Time, will bring his band, Make Out Monday, to play the opening night; Jess Harnell, one of the top voice actors in the industry, will follow with his band, Rock Sugar. Friday night closes with voice actor Carlos Ferro (Gears of War), who is also a DJ, spinning from 10:30 p.m. to 1 a.m.
PHOTOGRAPH BY CORY ZIMMERMAN
C. Thomas Howell
Celebrity appearances include headliner Sean Astin (Lord of the Rings, Rudy, Goonies), Ray Stevenson (Thor: Ragnarok), Julia Vera (Agent X, American Gods), Ray Stevenson (Thor, Star Wars: Rebels), and Daniel Bernhardt (Altered Carbon, Atomic Blonde).
Howell’s golf partner, Dalton, is excited about a new project the duo is collaborating on. “Wait, Tommy is coming [to Palm Springs]? … I don’t know if I can make it,” Dalton jokes. “C.T. is my closest friend, and I love him dearly. We are always cooking stuff up. We have a new television project that I can’t talk about yet. It’s a great drama. I am writing, and Tommy will be producing and directing a few episodes. You can’t make me say more than that. Unless there is some sort of pie involved …”
Dalton’s relationship with comics also began early in life. “I was a huge Spiderman and Superman fan as a kid, especially Spidey,” Howell says. “Something about his alienation really hit home for me. I’m sure it did for a lot of young teens. I loved the comics. I especially loved the Spiderman and Batman novellas that used to come out. I’ve always had an active imagination, so the printed word really brought them to life. And The Fantastic Four — they were a great lead-in to the books that I read as I got older, especially Edgar Rice Burroughs. I was a big John Carter follower.”
PHOTOGRAPH BY CORY ZIMMERMAN
Other Xpo events will include a cosplay contest, an activity room for kids presented by the Palm Springs Art Museum, cosplay yoga, and an arcade room to get your gaming fix while at the convention.
“Comic conventions are a bizarre and wonderful place where you are completely accepted and not judged,” says Campbell, who is eager to see the production efforts come together. “Our goal for PS Comic Xpo is that everyone will walk away with great memories and experience more than they could have hoped for or imagined.”
For information and tickets, visit pscomicxpo.com.