I didn’t mean to freak people out. Really.
The guest line up for Akron is always a good one, but this one was particularly exciting, bringing in yet another walking dead zombie as well as excellent talent such as Alan Grant and Alan Davis. I knew I would be is standing in line a lot so I decided to spend at least the first two hours of the con in street clothes – jeans and a sweater. It was hilarious, people didn’t recognize me! Those who did were a bit freaked out by the fact that I wasn’t in a costume…Bobbie Harleypool walked by and yelled at me “why aren’t you in costume???”. Once upon a time cosplay afforded me a certian degree of anonymity. Now it seems it’s gone the other way around….
Alan Grant was my first stop. He is charming and personable and he wrote some of the greatest Batman stories of the 90s. His run with Norman Breyfogal is nothing short of legendary. He was the writer on Detective when the Tim Drake Robin was being introduced. It’s one of my favourite eras because we get a lot of short, one issue, self-contained stories. It’s something he mentioned he enjoyed writing, stuff that was to the point, and had a beginning, middle, and end.
I made my way over to P. Craig Russell, who I’ve always really associated with his brilliant Sandman work. Still, I had discovered he did an issue of X–Men that is in one of my many collected editions. It was fun to chat about this one, he mentioned that JR JR was always really great to do finishes over and out while you could still see Romitia’s influence in a lot of the pages, he turned to one particular panel of a stunning building in skyscape and told me “but this panel right here, this is all me! “.
I was sad not to make it to Alan Davies, his line was just prohibitive and they kept cutting it off…but Tom Orzechowski was most definitely available. This man has lettered more current books then I have read… And that’s no small feat. The more I get into these Marvel essentials collections, the more often his name seems to pop up. I loaded a heavy stack of these huge paper backs over to him to be signed, but what’s great about Tom is that he is really a fan first. Going over each of these books, he had memories and things to say about it all of the runs and what it was like for him to read them originally.
Joe Staton was making a return appearance. I genuinely like Joe, Even though he’s really one of the most recognizable Green Lantern artists out there, I love that he is dedicated this part of his career to things like Scooby Doo and Dick Tracy – I particularly love that he’s doing things like the little orphan Annie crossover, the Dick Tracy meet gruesome story and the upcoming Spirit crossover. I brought him my greatest Batman stories ever told to sign his story “The Autobiography of Bruce Wayne”. It’s a charming piece set on earth 2 were Bruce ultimately marries Selena Kyle –Staton is in real form here emulating Dick Sprague and giving the story a dynamic look while still being bright and friendly. He gave me a copy of that Tracy needs gruesome which he signed for me on the way out – I love Joe.
I remember watching Jackson Bostwick on television when I was a kid, his Shazam series was one of the Saturday afternoon roundabouts, the sort of thing that plays after the cartoons. He is personable, but very much a convention pro. He’s also not at all happy about the way Captain Marvel is portrayed in the comics these days. He is proud of the fact that he was Captain Marvel (and not SHAZAM!), he hates the hood on the cape as well as the weird lightning that surrounds him now. It was an interesting conversation, and I get the impression that he is very protective of the character – there is a real connection there for him.
Addy Miller from the Walking Dead was a charming young woman as well. I wish i could say the same for her handler (who I assume is her mother). Somewhat intrusive. I mentioned that my WD photo has been through the mail five times and Mother replied in somewhat of a huff “We don’t sign through the mail. Maybe something like this, with all those other signatures, but we usually don’t.”
Um, you don’t sign anything Mom. Your daughter is the “talent”. And do you think that answer of yours endears me more to the two of you…or less?
Still, I’m actually a bit dismayed about the addition of media guests to Akron Comic Con (and I’m totally a hypocrite on this by the way, as I was patronizing them nevertheless!). One of the great things about this show has always been that it was a pure comic show. They dipped their toe in the water last year inviting Tim Procter – a bit player from the Walking Dead with a reasonable autograph charge, but who also was an artist. He very much fits here. Addy Miller at his table is somewhat an extension to that, but really on the line. Reb Brown and Jackson Bostwick however are very firmly on the other side of that line, being noting but media guests, and ones that are used to the convention circuit at that. It doesn’t help that Jackson’s pricing wasn’t clearly displayed, and a little higher than I would like. Reb did have a sign up, but I know there were con goers that were confused by his fees, and man, have they gone up! I though I paid too much for his autograph and that photo at Wasteland a few years ago, but he’s joined the $40 club now and I don’t think his scrawl is worth that. It’s also not the kind of fees we’re used to seeing at Akron. There’s been a real reluctance to add media guests to this show, and I completely understand it. You can even tell by exactly who Akron is inviting that it’s sort of a compromise, but still, it’s the direction they are heading in. I wonder what will happen next year when they combine it with Monsterfestmania?
Also a quick shout out to OOAKrafts. You’re rude. I’m sorry I was standing in the vicinity of your table talking with a friend I haven’t seen since Februrary. I assure you, no one was staring at us and deciding not to visit your booth because of us. That is the second time you’ve been rude to me in this manner, asking me to “move along”. While my daughter loves the hat she got from you at Lake Effect Comic Con, I assure you, you will never see another dollar of my money again.
Akron Comic Con has grown hugely, moving into a larger space. I think seeing it at the John S Knight Center – it’s like it finally arrived! It’s still my favorite of all the comic conventions I attend – I’ve been coming since year one and it’s been fun to watch it grow. All in all it feels like a much bigger convention – too big for one post… So today I’ll just leave you with the feel of the show, and we’ll get to cosplayers tomorrow!