I know, the name is woefully overused, but it’s not a bok I’m working on. Here’s the character designe for the Victorian Roses enemy! Lady Shiva formerly known as Red Rival. One she work with Casino The Swami and helped send The Meddler back to kill baby Jesus but we all know how that worked out. She despise The Victorian Roses
The focus on this con was comic creators, especially young and indy creators. Fred Van Lente was great to meet. I’ve been a real fan of Valiant both past and present, but the modern relaunched Valiant really has been knocking my socks off. Fred’s a veteran of Marvel, and I’ve got a number of things he’s written (which he happily signed) but what I’ve really been digging lately is his Archer and Armstrong. Seriously, this stuff is honestly better than the original run back in the 90’s and I told him so, which he considered high praise. I bought a stack of his Timewalker comics before moving on and really can wait to dig into these. Indeed, all around Valiant was well represented, but a lot of the creators at the show were ones I’ve already seen several times this year. Daryl Banks, Sean Forney, heck, just last week I saw them at NEO Con. Focusing on creators is a great idea, but it doesn’t take a lot of research to discover you have the same guests as everyone else in Ohio. Bringing in some different writers and artists would have helped. Still Daryl Banks is always a delight and was happy to sign a couple of Green Lanterns for me.
It’s odd, I didn’t even know about this show until about five days before it occurred. That’s a much bigger problem. I realize this is the first year, but it was the first year for NEOcon as well, and yet those guys got the word out, creating a huge buzz online and in person which resulted in HUGE crowds, and a packed house in Strongsville. In fact, NEO had been on my calendar since February. Cleveland Comic Con has been on my calendar since April and I’ve run into that promoter out and schmoozing at least three times this year. Look, not to sound boastful, but I’m plugged into the scene (See? no boasting. Seriously, who would brag about that???). I know what’s going on and I still almost missed this one. I can’t imagine how many other people simply didn’t know this show was going on, but I’ll tell you this; at 11, 12, 1 O’Clock on Saturday that big convention center was a ghost town.
Speaking of that huge venue, the Ohio Convention center was absolutely the wrong space for this show. It’s just so much bigger than they needed (I could have sworn their website said tables were sold out, yet I saw several empty tables), but not only is it too much space, it’s also hard to get into. Not only for guests, but vendors as well. I spoke with one who tried several diffrent entrances and got attitude from the venue workers. There was some expectation that locals at least might be familiar from attending the Ohio State Fair. I, standing in my Voltron outfit exclaimed “Do I LOOK like the kind of person who attends the Ohio State Fair???”. After a number of complaints, they parked a car with a sign out at the proper entrance, backing it into place around the time I was making my thrid pass trying to find the entrance (only the second pass for the guy in front of me – I know. I saw him miss it the first time). The $5 parking fee that the lot charges stacked on top of the $10 admission is a big problem as well. The cost is definitely too high for this kind of show, and part of that is reflective of the high cost of the venue. A hotel (with free parking) would have been better.
Cosplayers were in short supply, but the ones that were there were excellent. I was deligted to actually see a Daredevil and the Samus costume was spot on, complete with a light up laser. We discussed foam techniques for a while and I must say, the folks in Columbus are quite observant. Several noticed the coffee cans on my shoulders and the soda bottles on my wrists. Most of the time that escapes the people who admire Voltron. I’m glad I chose this one for this week, it was a big hit and I like think that if I hadn’t had to leave early I would have placed in the costume contest. In fact the person signing people up joked “If you have to go, can you just leave the costume here?”
As the day passed they did begin to trickle in a bit more and then…hmmm. This guy (the dragon rider – He usually wears Frankinberry)showed up again, pulling his old tricks of arriving just before the contest. This is beginning to bother me. Just as well I had to leave early.
There were some good looking panels going on. I say good looking because I didn’t make it to any of them. The website had no schedule of events or list of panels so I didn’t knwo if there would be any or when they would be. I complained about this with NEO con and I’m complaing about it here too. Programming is the lifeblood of a con. Without it, the show is just a bazaar (I’m looking at YOU Jeff Harper). If you advertise the programming in advance I will plan around it. I will figure out when is best to break out the costume (what’s optimal, bit for me and the convention), when to shop and when to hang out. I’m WAY more likely to stay longer, and in the long run, staying long means shopping more. It benefits both the convention and the attendees, not to mention the vendors.
By the way, vendors? I have to give serious complements to Tricon for assembling one of the best groups of vendors at any convention I’ve been to this year. Great deals, exciting finds, just great dealers. Over at the Hyve of Villainy I found these Buck Rogers ships that blew my mind. They had no idea where they came from (a little research turned up this : http://reflectionsonfilmandtelevision.blogspot.com/2012/09/buck-rogers-day-galactic-playset-hg.html), but knew that at $5 each, I’d regret it if I walked away without them. This booth is also the first and only place I’ve ever seen that cardboard ZorCom space ship/station (Take a good look at that photo above. The ship is up there in the upper left hand corner) outside of a comic book ad. It took me aback for a moment, but I immediately recognized it. Just astonishingly cool. Seriously, check these guys out on thier website.
Hyve wasn’t the only great vendor there though. Almost as soon as I came in I found a worn, played-with Catra for $2! Even in costume I snatched that up and slipped it in the hidden pocket of the Voltron suit. After I got out of costume I decimated the 5 for $1 bin, not to mention the great deals over at Gem City (i saw them at Indiana Comicon too – these guys have a nice set up and great prices)I found myseld picking up dent and scratch discounted editions of the Walking Dead Omnibus vol 1 and 2 for $15 (normally $60 each). I got Lydia a Barbie book for $1 and Maddie recieved the Graphic Novel adaption of Treasure Island by Roy Thomas (Picked up for $2). Shopping just as good as Lake Effect ComicCon. Maybe better. Makes me feel all the worse that the turnout was so light (that’s according to one of the vendors themself, and they’d really being the position to know), but I spent twice as much as I budgeted for this con so I did my part to try and make up for it.
One of the reviews on TriCon’s facebook page calls it “The convention Columbus deserves”. With Mid-Ohio con being taken over by Wizard world and not a whole lot of smaller shows in the area, the reviewer has a point. Columbus needs a nice mid-size comic focused con. They deserve one, and TriCon could be it. They really could be, but they’re not. At least, not yet. Great vendors and a really good focus on creators ( the dealers room was evenly divided between the two and I really respect that), TriCon has the right idea, but they are in dire need of a better venue and MUCH better advertisement. Unless I see some big changes for next year (if there IS a next year – vendors springing for $500 tables with little foot traffic can absolutely kill a show) both in planning and on the website I can’t see myself going back. The thing is, I WANT them to succeed. I can see what this could be, and I really hope it grows into just that – the convention Columbus deserves.
John Carpenter’s “Vampires” was a breath of fresh air in an era dominated by the Anne Rice kind of “tragic immortal” vampire. His vampires weren’t quite the animals of “From Dusk Till Dawn” or “30 days of Night” but they were monsters. Devolved humans. Predatory and evil, not people anymore.
It was enough to make me really want to spend some more time in this world, great premises with the Vatican strike forces and the rules and basically this underground world they created. That’s exactly what you get here. It’s more of the same. Perhaps some diminishing returns -Jon Bon Jovi isn’t James Woods, but then again who is? Bon Jovi gets a lot of flack for this and I think a lot of people go into the movie intending to dislike him, and when he doesn’t do anything special they feel justified. To be clear, he’s adequate in this film. He’s perfectly fine. Actually that really defines the movie as a whole. It’s very average. Nothing special, just nice vampire and action. If you hated John Carpenter’s Vampires, I’m going to give you a pass on this one. It’s just more of the same. But if you like your vampires the way Carpenter envisioned them, then give this a try. It may not stand up to repeated viewings but is worth at least one more watch!
I’d really love to tell you all about NEO Comicon. The problem is, I wasn’t paying attention. I spent much of the con with friends and didn’t snap a single picture – so some of the details are more background….but let’s rewind a bit.
I got there late, and was shocked to find the place was packed. I mean, PACKED – they got over 1700 visitors, nearly twice the amount they were expecting and even halfway into the show the joint was jumping. I found this surprising because as I was driving in, I saw just as many cars leaving the con as I saw coming into it.
Perhaps I shouldn’t be surprised. The promoters did an amazing job of getting online buzz and word-of-mouth going. Even that first year at Akron Comicon (a bigger show than this mind you) I don’t think I saw this same level of awareness. It sure did seem like everyone I knew was going to this.
I was coming directly from Church, so there was no way I’d be doing a long, involved makeup like the Thing (which I feel a little bad about considering my Thing costume was actually featured in Scene Magazine’s promo for the show….) but I still wanted something a little more interesting than my standard go-to of the Shadow. I decided to pull out my old Doctor Octopus costume – an outfit I haven’t worn in over four years – not since my first time out at Lake Effect Comicon. I made a couple of upgrades this time around as well, extending the upper arms and adding claws to them – claws that really snap and grab. Nothing was more fun that noticing someone looking at the arms then suddenly snapping the claws at them and watching people jump.
As soon as I entered the dealers room I found my friends in the nearest corner and ended up hanging out with them for most of the rest of the show (and then swiping a bunch of thier photos for the blog). They immediately put me to use using me as a battering ram through the throngs of people – you remember that scene in Spider-Man 2 with Doc Ock parting the crowd in the train? Yeah, that was the idea.
As we passed through the con I noticed that there actually was a panel going on. This was something unexpected. No schedule was posted and I had no idea that there was going to be ANY programming. I did know there was no costume contest, but the con did let cosplayers in free which shows they really do value us and the walking, talking atmosphere we provide far more than the extra $3.00 they might make from thier admission fee. I would have liked to see more programming (I spend two weekends a year at this hotel for Cinema Wasteland. There’s another room on the ground floor that wasn’t being used and could easily have been turned into a screening room of some sort) and for the existing programming to be better advertised, but the fact that they had anything at all really does show that they want a quality con.
It was bigger than I expected, with every inch of the dealer’s room packed. Very good vendors, not to mention fun tables as well – the cast of from “TRACE : A Doctor Who Fan Film” along with the Tardis and 2 Weeping Angels were there in the center of it all, providing the best photo op anywhere in the show. Prop makers, not to mention a full size RC R2D2 in one booth, Jango Fett in carbonite, and some great Comic creators. I stuffed a bag full of back issues, grabbing more of that Gambit series I’ve always meant to get to, as well as more Guides to the Marvel universe (I’ve got a thing for reference books). Look in the background – you’ll see me digging through long boxes with all four arms…..
Crowded aisles, and some logistical errors, but all in all a very strong first year. A great deal that the promoters can learn from this first turn out. I wouldn’t be surprised if they found a different venue next year (they’ve mentioned either this or expanding to more areas of the Holiday inn) and add some more events. They’ve already mentioned adding a costume contest . There’s certainly big ambitions here and with such an impressive beginning I can see them improving on the model for next year.