The Violent Blue blog***Comics, Horror and Pop Culture***Updates Tuesday through Friday (and occasionally at random)

Comic Book Convention

Hall of Fame City Comicon videos

One of my favorite things is discovering videos of events that I pop up in. You may remember that Maddie and I hit hall of Fame City Comic Con a couple weeks ago. Just this morning, these two vids popped up on my feed and I wanted to share them here!

 

 

 

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Bay Con 2022

Look, there’s worse things to do on a Sunday afternoon, and much like Cleveland Comic Book & Nostalgia Festival, it’s just a quick two exit hop down the highway after Church. I recall it being really small, but nice enough from the last time I went, so I packed up the kiddo and off we went. We wanted simple costumes so I brought Venom (With a Star Lord jacket because it’s starting to turn cold. Venom has spent time with the guardians. It works) and Maddie brought Todroki. My buddy Josh met us up there in his Cobra Commander costume and in we went.

I have to wonder if Bay-Con is a another casualty of the lockdowns. Last time I went it was WAY bigger (despite being a tiny library style show). The Ghostbusters were parked out front. Stuff was going out in the back, events and vendors. This time around it was limited to a single room, and music playing by the picnic benches out back. 

Still we were determined to have some fun. We took photos all over, doing pics and videos of Maddie with the gauntlet, and Josh with his RC Optimus Prime. I thumbed through the comics from Carol and John’s and Maddie found a new book she wanted. I drew some artwork in their artist alley and we grabbed cookies for Maddie’s sister and Mom back home. Maddie ran into friends from school which was especially cool, an the promoters kept trying to get us to sign up fro the costume contest. Sadly it was scheduled for three thirty, and even squeezing a full hour out of this show, we were still ready to go by two.

All in all, not a big day, but not a bad one either. I’m sad though, to see this show shrink rather than grow. Maybe a few years will help. I’m not sure I’ll be back any time soon though.

 

 


Cleveland Comic Book & Nostalgia Festival Fall 2022

“And now, it’s time for you to die!“ I heard the high-pitched voice exclaim from behind me. I creamed my head a little bit and noticed the katana blade at my neck! Two teenage Demon slayer girls had come to take down venom.

I have to say, it was actually the highlight of the Jeff Harper show on Sunday. This one’s not really a cosplay show, but I thought I’d throw on venom anyhow. He’s easy to see through and move around in as I go through long boxes in the large flea market going on at the Westlake double tree. Despite not being a costume show, I usually like to wear something anyhow, because parents bring their kids… And this time around, they were a bunch of middle school age teenagers running around, trying to get the most out of their anime costumes, and it gives the young people something to see. I’ve gotta say, the Harper show is pretty chill about it as well, there are times when it feels like vendors don’t want the cosplayers around, but these guys were all chipper greeting me with a “hey Eddie!“ And I never felt unwanted. Of course, I’m also there’s a shop. That’s really what the Harper shows are all about, and this one in particular you can usually find weird offbeat stuff, like the skyscrapers of Oz manga I scored, or the Star Trek manga that I didn’t even know existed! I found another book that plays with next generation concepts in the style of famous writers who never got to do Star Trek… People like and Rice or Stephen King. All of it proves to be an interesting read… And I finally capped it off buying a stack of buckaroo banzai. I’m still trying and failing to understand and appreciate the appeal of the character in the series. It just doesn’t vibe with me, but maybe the comics will help.

Seriously, I must be out of my mind to try and pack three conventions and one weekend. It’s not the same as hanging out at wasteland or concoction for three days… Different venues, different costumes, different style of conventions, it’s exhausting. But the Harper show is a nice way to ease my way out of the weekend, and I came home with a bunch of really interesting stuff. The Sunday show is literally 10 minutes away from my church, which makes it an easy hop over to the hotel, and definitely worth the extra hour or two spent digging.


Hall of Fame City Comic Con 2022

Besides the fact that it got canceled for a while because of the plague, I have missed a lot of Hall of Fame city comic cons simply because it’s settled into always being scheduled the week of cinema wasteland. However, lately, wasteland hasn’t really been a three day thing for me, and my daughter really wanted to squeeze in as many conventions this year as possible, considering that she had to sit out a year and a half of canceled conventions just as she had started getting into that sort of life. So, I carved up a Skeletor costume, and glued together a Batgirl suit for her and awfully went to Canton.

I will admit, I’ve kind of missed the show. It’s a genuinely good convention with a lot of heart. There’s some smart ideas here, bringing in a couple of big names… Usually one or two big name creators and one or two celebrities. It’s a formula that works both for them and for Youngstown Comicon. I was actually excited to see Rob Paulsen and Maurice LaMarche, but even more so… I was here for Al Snow. Now you may not know this about me, but I’m not a wrestling guy. I’m really not interested in wrestlers at all… But back in the early 2000s, MTV ran a wrestling show called “Tough Enough“ and like all MTV shows, they ran it constantly, and something about Al’s character on the show really spoke to me. I’ve always wanted to meet him, and was really happy when he started on the autograph circuit recently.
Much to my delight he instantly recognized the costume and was actually quite excited for it. “Somebody finally shows up cosplaying the Shadow!“. That’s actually a fun response, and it was enjoyable to chat with him for a little while. 

I’ve actually chosen the Shadow so that I could spend about half of the show in a lighter costume that I could move around in… something I could see well in and still have access to both hands. But I was genuinely surprised at how many people recognized the character. The Shadow was getting a lot of love at Hall of fame city, con, with people constantly coming up to me and declaring “who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men?“. I did have one young man come up to me and ask “Phantom Stranger?”. I explained to him who he was and described him as a character that Batman had been based largely on. He asked me an interesting question, “is he crazier than Batman? Because at this point, Batman is kind of gone insane…“ I had to think about this for a moment. I replied “I’m not sure, the thing is, with a shadow, there’s not much that human left in there anymore.“ That’s actually kind of cool thing not to just get to talk about your favorite character, but to explore it with somebody who’s new to the hero.

Right around the halfway point, we snuck back out to the car so I can change into my Skeletor costume. I’d been laser focused on this suit for about six weeks, carving the armor from scratch, spray painting the bodysuit to give it an airbrushed look, and installing lights in electronics specifically near the jeweled areas so they would sparkle more. I’d run out of time though, and was going to end up wearing a mask rather than doing a make up. This was a disappointment to me, but in the end, the mask looked just as striking… Perhaps even more so. Much to my surprise, I had noticed earlier that Acheww Cosplay, one of the costume contest judges, had actually shown up also in a Skeletor costume. I wasn’t sure if that was good luck or bad. My friend Micheal from far far away cosplay actually stopped me shortly after I got in, just wanting to take in the whole thing. “How did you know it was me?“ I asked. “The foamwork.“ He replied, nodding slowly. The foam shoes made it difficult to walk in, but I managed to

I’m not sure how long it was before I noticed my belt was slipping. The Velcro hadn’t separated yet, but it was certainly getting loose and causing me problems. I fidgeted and adjusted, while trying to keep my giant shoulder pads above the harness. The first time out in a new costume means that’s when you’re gonna find all the flaws. Still, I managed to shift and push the belt up enough to wedge it against my belly and keep it in place as I tried to chat with the people backstage. In her group, Maddie was having a fine time getting to know the other teenagers in the lineup. She was making friends and reassuring the ones who were nervous about going up for the first time. This is fun stuff that she’s been growing further and further into. She walks into the convention and just breathe it all in, “I am home!”.

I managed to get across the stage and through pre-judging without anything coming apart. I did however get lost on stage and I had to be turned around to hit the proper exit! That was embarrassing enough, but it got even worse when the belt gave way after I was back down in the hall. Dream, the Sandman came to my aid and help me get the thing re-fastened. It held long enough for me to get called back on the stage… And that’s when it popped for good. I took up a place right behind the green goblin, and posed in such a way where it looked like my head was resting on the belt buckle… What was really happening was my elbow was pulled in tight to keep the belt flat against my hip on one side while I angled my staff to press against it on the other side. With photos over, and us getting ready to leave, I finally gave up on trying to keep the suit together and let the ball belt come loose once I got outside. I think in the future I will be securing that thing with hooks rather than Velcro.

I may also need to rig up some sort of a spike or hook to help stabilize the shoulder pads,And remove the chain mail from around them. It’s not doing anything for the look and just getting in the way. Still, this is all the sort of thing that you go through and learn as you’re trying out a new suit. I’m very happy with the way that Skeletor was received at the convention. One person even stopped dead, pointed and said “That’s the movie Skeletor!”, taking in the jewels and the detail. It was a nice discussion about the Masters of the Universe film, and how Frank Langella steals every scenehes in. While the suit isn’t strictly meant to be the movie version, it’s certainly influenced by it. Likewise, Maddie was having a good day in her new Batgirl costume. We had settled on Stephanie Brown from the current Batgirls comic that I’ve been constantly raving about here. It ended up being a good look for her, and really well received. Like Steph, Maddie is also Distraction Incarnate!  It was a nice comfortable suit, something that’s important when you’re putting her in a costume! In fact, Maddie liked the jacket so much she wants a plain version for every day wear. I’m also really proud of that belt. I 3d printed a Batman ’66  Batgirl buckle for her, as well as little black bat accents that I pasted on my standard design foam pouches. We cinched that purple bet at the back with a hook (LIKE WE’RE GOING TO DO WITH SKELETOR DAGNABBIT!) and tossed an old Covid mask and a lovely purple cloak she got from her grandmother on her. It’s just perfect.

We walked away with stacks of comics, new Lego figures and the autograph I’ve been seeking as well as fun memories. Hall of Fame is a good show, and I’m eager to return to it. We’ll see what happens next year!



 

 


Cleveland Comic and Nostalgia Convention

Just a few photos from the Cleveland Comic Book and Nostalgia Convention over the weekend… The show with the name longer than this blog post! Harper show is basically the same thing every time, not much changes, and you may feel like you’ve seen some of these photos before. The room set up is exactly the same every time. But that’s OK, because this one still really close by in Westlake, and I know exactly where Hazel‘s Heroes stores the 50 Cent bins.

The pleasant surprise this time around I actually was seeing a lot of friends out there. Not just the usual suspects like Mark or Wolfchild, but also people like Crystal and Tanya from my wife’s preferred hair salon. I bumped into my friend Jennifer who I haven’t seen in years, certainly not since the goblin concert at the Beachland. Even John, from Carol and John’s comic shop was set up in a rare appearance on the con seen. Nice to float around and catch up as well as picking up a few oddities.

This is the sort of show where I go to fill up backpack and come home with a few dozen new comic books. But there’s always a hope then I’ll find something curious. Besides that near complete Peter Milligan human target run, I also scored a handful of Fright Night comics. These are fun, especially with the movie adaptions included. Now comics was just weird, licensing just about anything. It was such a mismatched company… Underground comics like Ralph Snart, sci-fi like the Terminator, horror like Fright Night, adventure with the Green Hornet and really strange choice and comedy with Married with Children. Still, I’ve always been more team lost boys and fright night, especially in my teens when these were being published so I didn’t grab them up when I had a chance, and I’m regretting that now. Trying to put that right.

I also found this weird  X liefields comic. It’s got a keen spot logo on it which means it must’ve started out life of the web comic, but I don’t know if I ever saw it. It’s fun, with a bunch of Leifield like characters going back in time to try and stop him from creating Deadpool. Or at least, a reasonable facsimile. At this point, I almost feel like making fun of Rob Leifield is a genre and a big self. I’m not a hater, I actually respect the dude a great deal, and yet I also have to admit every time I see one of these kind of books, I’m absolutely picking it up.
 
The last head scratcher for me was this Ninjack ShadowMan Rapture book. I have no idea what this thing is, and even after reading it, I’m still bewildered. Shadow Man in particular is one of those characters that valiant has always struggled with. He got up to a week start and it seems like Bob Hall was the only one who truly understood what made the character tick, and how to make him work. Since then he’s been rebooted far more often than any of the other valiant characters, and while I can tell which reboot were on, even this current incarnation has gone through several phases and changes. This is one of those books that you buy because you want to learn more about what’s going on. It alerts me to a series I didn’t even know what’s going on, and that I now have to go and explore further.

Nothing big, probably about 90 minutes wandering the floor, but still, a nice slow pace compared to the full on convention experience we had last week at Fantasticon. Good to connect with people. Nerdbox Comics definitely had the best sign there and this time around the various vendors were able to spell the word “Manga” correctly on the boxes. There’s worse ways to spend a Sunday afternoon.


 

 

 


Comic Creator Autographs spring 2022

Conman
Man, it’s been a while since we’ve done one of these hasn’t it? With cons starting back in earnest, some of this information may now be out of date, and I’ll just say I noticed a lot of those guys who were $5 pre-pandemic shoot up to $10. Keep that in mind, and I’ll update as I can.  Huge thanks to Lee Wilson for sending me some new pricing to go with my observations from last weekend’s Fantasticon!

As always, we’re not really going to discuss the pros and cons of comic professionals charging for autographs. There’s plenty of other forums for that. We’re just going to acknowledge the reality of modern convention economics. This is a little something to help you know what to expect when you go to a con so you don’t get blindsided. A lot of artists don’t have autograph charges clearly displayed and frequently con websites either don’t have this information or are asked not to display it. Here’s my current list – in sort-of alphabetical order. It’s not exhaustive by any means, things may change next month or next year. We’ll update and repost from time to time.

Amanda Conner – free for 5 books, $2 after, $5 for CGC.

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Me so excited to meet Gerry Conway I forgot to open my eyes!

Alex Saviuk – $5
Arvell Jones – $5
Al Milgrom – $10 per book
Adam Kubert – $5 per book
Brett Breeding -$5
Brian Azzarello – $5, except for graded items and Batman:Damned
Bob Camp – $30
Bob Wiacek – $2 (He might make you a deal for multiple issues)
Bob Hall – free for the first issue, or if you purchase a something from the table, otherwise $5
Bob Layton- $5 for CGC graded signings, otherwise free
Bob Mcloud – one for free, then $5

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Bob Budiansky – first six free, $2 each after
Bill Sienkiewicz – two for free, then $3, $10 for CGC
Chris Clarmont – first free, then $20
Charles Soule – $10 CGC grading signings
David Finch – 2 free, then $5
Dave Gibbons – $1 a book
Don McGregor – $5 per signature
Edgar Delgado – $5 CGC grading signings
Fabian Nicieza – $10 Deadpool/X-Force related
Fiona Staples – $20 CGC grading signings (otherwise free)
Graham Nolan recently started charging, but not sure how much.
Greg Capullo  – first 3 books free and $5 thereafter
Gerry Conway – $5
Gerhard $10
Greg Horn – $20 GameStop variants (otherwise free)
Humberto Ramos – $10-$20

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Nolan signs some bat-issues!

Howard Chaykin – $5 per book
Javier Saltares – Free if personalized or $5 if not
Joe Sinnott – $10 per book
Jim Starlin -$10 per book (goes to Heroes Initiative)
Joe Giella- $4 per book
J. O’Barr – $5
Jae Lee- $5
John Romita Jr – three for free, then $2. $10 for CGC grading.
Jose Delbo – $5
Joe Rubinstein – $20 ($50 for Wolverine)
Jimmy Palmiotti – free for 5 books, $2 after, $5 for CGC.
J Scott Campbell $10
John Cassandry $10
John Beatty – $3
Jim Sternako charges $20 per item last I checked – and that includes items and prints BOUGHT FROM HIS TABLE. Also, do not ask for a photo with him.
Keith Pollard – $5

Kevin Eastman – first is free, $20 after that (He also doodles on the items!)
Keith Giffen – 1st book free, $5 per book after
Klaus Janson– $10, $20

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Larry Hama wondering exactly what he’s gotten himself into…

CGC grading signings
Len Wein – $5, $20 CGC grading signings, $25 for Hulk 181, Giant Size X-Men #1 or House of Secrets #92.
Larry Hama will sign two items for free and charges after that.
Matteo Scalera – $20 CGC grading signings
Mike Zeck – $5
Marv Wolfman – one free (I’ve heard elsewhere it’s two for free, but in his last interview he said one), $5.00 after that
Mark Texeria- one personalized signature free, $10 per book after or unpersonalized
Mitch Gerads – 2 free, then $5
Michael Golden- $20 per book WTF! (at least he’s friendly and chatty)

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With the Legendary Denny O’Neil

Mike Grell – $10
Neal Adams – $30
Pat Brodrick – $3
Ron Frenz -$3
Ron Lim – 1st book free, $10 per book after
Rob Liefeld – $25-$50
Rags Morales – $5
Scott Snyder – first 3 books free and $5 thereafter
Simon Bisley – $10 per book
Tom DeFalco $5 each for three or less. After that $20 (“Dealer’s Pricing”)
Tony Isabella $10
William Messner-Lobes – $10
Whilce Portacio – He was free when I met him several years ago, but from what I understand there’s a few key books he charges $10 to sign
Victor Olazaba – $10

Tip Jar – pay what you want
Some of these are for causes like the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund or Heroes Initiative. Others are just personal. I urge you, respect the tip jar. (It’s so much better than autograph fees)

Billy Tucci
Ben Templesmith
Barry Kitson
Charlie Adlard
Gene Ha
Jan Duursema
Jim Calafiore
Larry Stroman
Peter David
Mike Barr

Free
14938305_1328900417154378_6902178794103765567_nAlan Davis
Ann Nocenti
Ande Parks
Angel Mediea
Art Thibert
Aaron Lopresti
Bill Anderson
Brandon Montclare
Brian Michael Bendis (Be prepared to wait a long time in line)
Bill Morrison
Bill Willingham
Brendan Fletcher
Bob Almond
Christos Gage
Chad Townsend
Carla Speed McNeil
Charles Soule
Clayton Crain
Cary Nord
Cameron Stewart14900529_1294021037284083_6486392154139767345_n
Chip Zdarsky
Casey Jones
Darryl Banks
Dan Brereton
Dirk Manning
Ed McGuinness
Emanuela Lupacchino
Erik Larsen
Evan Dorkin
Fred Van Lente (assuming you can catch him. He dosent do to many shows these days)
Frank Cho
Franco
Gail Simone
Greg Land
Greg Wright
Heather Antos
16998140_1452872038090548_8911164774404268434_nIvan Reis
Jason Latour
Jon Bogdanove
John Ostrander
Joe Staton
Joshua Williamson
Jim Zub
Judd Winick
Jim Shooter
Jerry Duggan
Jason Aaron
Jeff Schultz
Jacob Chabot
Jonathan Hickman
Jenny Frison
Jae Lee
Joe Kelly
Karl Story
Kelley Jones
Kevin Maguire
Kevin Nowland
Keron Grant
Koi Pham
Kyle Higgins
Lela Gwenn
Lee Weeks

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It’s just a shadow. James O’Barr didn’t actually give me a black eye…

Louise Siminson
Mike McKone
Michael Cho
Matt Miner
Matt Horak
Mike Mayhew
Mark McKenna
Mike Okamoto
Marc Sumerick
Mike Gustov
Mark Farmer
Mark Waid
Mark Schultz
Mike Norton
Matt Fraction
Marguerite Bennett
Mike Hawthorne
Stephen Blickenstaff
Nick Bradshaw
Nick Dragotta
P.Craig Russell
Jorge Lucas
Jim Pasco
Phil Hester12190817_1064801410230948_2617958790839857194_n
Phil Noto
Paul Pelletier
Rick Remender
Ron Fortier
Ramon Villalobos
Ricardo Lopez Ortiz
Rafer Roberts
Sergio Argones
Scott Hanna
Steve Leialoha
Steve Mannion
Stephen Sharar
Scott Snyder
Steve McNiven – Free if personalized
Stefano Gaudiano
Skottie Young
Stephen T. Seagle
Tim Seeley
Tom Mandrake (sometimes a tip jar for Hero Initiative, but not when he was at NEO in 2019)
67602223_2625952624115811_7500589555540557824_nTim Bradstreet
Todd DeZago
Tim Truman
Walt Simonson – donations for quick sketches
Will Rosado
Yanick Paquette


State of the Con 2022

I’ve been prepping for Toyhio this weekend, getting a want list ready and checking my comic database. Along with this, I have also been checking out the state of the comic con in general, trying to plan my schedule for the year.

It’s a new landscape on the convention circuit right now. It’s still ever shifting, but definitely not the same thing I am used to. Zipcon has canceled this year. Cleveland ConCoction has canceled for the third time, and I just heard from the show runner that Youngstown Comicon is also sitting things out again this year. There’s no word on Hall of Fame, Cleveland Comic Con  or the Lorain Comic and Toy Expo. But it’s possible those still might go on. There’s even some rumblings that dark Xmas might return, but all are iffy.

Lake Effect Comicon is gone. So are Dark X-fest, Geekfest and Woo-con. Retro Invasion looks like it might be dead as well. Akron Canton is changing both its name and it’s venue, and dropping the costume contest. That’s a shame, because it was the main thing keeping me driving out that far for a Harper show.

Of the ones that remain, there’s still challenges to navigate. Both Great Lakes Comic Con and RathaCon are requiring guests to be masked at all times. Quite frankly, I don’t want to drive several hours for a show that I’m just going to have to mask up for, so those are off the schedule this year. So are a number of the anime conventions in the area. A lot of these shows are requiring proof of vaccination. I have my card, and I AM fully Vaxxed, but I am not willing to “show my papers“ just to go into a convention or concert. That’s not a move I support.

So what’s left? Below is my tentative convention schedule. Where I’m going, and whether or not I’ll have Maddie accompanying me. There’s several new shows that we’re going to try out for the first time this year and I’m hoping it’ll be good. The big autograph shows, Horrorhound, Day of the Dead, and Steel City, look like they’re all still going, but none have posted any guests I’m interested in. We will be hitting the road with my buddy Mike for Horror Realm though. There’s a Halloween/Escape From New York alum showing up there, and I still need to get Tiffany Shepis on my Victor Crowley poster. Besides, I generally have fun
out, and the drive isn’t too brutal. Wasteland is still on the schedule as well, autograph prices have traditionally been more reasonable there, and it feels like one of my last strong holds… The last bastion of hope in the horror convention world LOL!

I only did about a dozen shows last year, and about a third of them were just marketplaces. I’m trying to include more genuine conventions this year, because I really do miss those gatherings and those kind of people. Still, this year’s list is not much longer than last years, and I’m not sure how that bodes for the future of the convention scene. In a marketplace that was already too crowded, the plague really just hastened the death of a lot of small start ups… That damnable Wizard World survived, but in a smaller format and with re-branding. I still worry that they’ll choke out the remainder of the small, intimate and friendly conventions I prefer. Still, it’s my hope that the ones that have survived the plague have proven themselves resilient enough to go on.

Here’s my current con schedule for this year.

(BTW, the three Westlake shows are all Harper shows – basically marketplaces rather than cons, but they’re so close to home that it’s still worth hitting if I have nothing better to do.)

Date Show City State Who
Mar-5 Horror Realm Pittsburg PA Matthew and Mike
Mar-13 Fantasticon Toledo OH Maddie and Matt
Mar-20 Cle Comic & Nostalgia Westlake OH Matthew
April 8-10 Cinema Wasteland Stronsville OH Matthew
May-15 Hazard Con Erie PA Maddie and Matt
May-28 Fanboy Expo Columbus OH Maddie and Matt
Jun-12 Pulp Fiction Westlake OH Matthew
Jun-25 Monster Bash ? Pittsburg PA Matthew
Jul-9 Mahoning Comic Con Youngstow OH Maddie and Matt
Jul-31 NEO Comicon N. Olmsted OH Maddie and Matt
Sep-17 Erie Comicon ? Erie PA Check covid regs
Sep-30 Cinema Wasteland Strongsville OH Matthew
Oct-2 Cle Comic & Nostalgia Westlake OH Matthew
 
Time to hit the road.

 

 


Pekar Park Comic Fest (and Coventry trip)

The Pekar Park comic fest is one of those that’s been on my radar forever, but I never actually made it out to until just before the plague. Of course, they didn’t have it last year, and the one I went to in 2019 was an unusual one. Because of the weather, everything had moved inside… It was not your typical Pekar Park comic fest. But I remember finding myself having so much fun, that I stuck around long enough to make it to the end where they had a screening of My Friend Dahmer, complete with a talk with author Derf afterwards.
This year, the comic fest was back, and it was its old self. Completely held outside, with a family film like Big Hero 6 shown in the park at the end of the day.

It just wasn’t the same.

I miss the addition of Urban Otaku, doing panels and anime talks and shorts early in the day, but nevertheless, I grabbed my daughter and we made our way out to see what was going on. It really feels a lot more like a glorified sidewalk sale… and that’s not necessarily A bad thing, but it’s not necessarily the magic that I felt back in 2019. Still it was interesting, still a fascinating variety of curious comics and artwork and crafts. Maddie found a huffelpuff button I nearly lost her mind, but she was actually far more interested in exploring some of the local Coventry sites, such as the library, it’s community garden, Mac’s paperbacks and Passport to Peru.

I don’t have any issues with the Pekar Park fast, and if it’s your first time out to the Coventry area, this is actually a great way to go. It’s a little bit of extra activity and attraction to keep your interest now that Big Fun and Coventry Cats are both gone. Sadly though, it’s not going to be a regular stop in the future on my convention circuit.

 


Lorain Comic and toy expo – part two!

 

We hit this show back in April, and even then, they mentioned they hoped they’d be back soon.  Well, the show returned this weekend! Still a small con, so instead of me telling you about it, I’m going to let Maddie tell you all about it!


https://youtu.be/J8XQvd0IYzU 

 


Steel City August 2021

I wasn’t really feeling it this weekend. I honestly wasn’t in the mood for a long drive to Pennsylvania, and my map completely turned me around and added both time and mileage. Still, I was really just coming in to grab a few Elm Street victims, almost everybody I needed to complete my scrapbook.

Brooke Theiss and Toy Newkirk were both supposed to have come to steel city con last year, but the plague shut everything down. Even now, there’s still a certain degree of trepidation and both arrived this time, but masked. It certainly put a damper on things, and I declined photos with them. Still, Toy had some interesting photos with her. Her mother had been on set when she was doing make up tests and getting her lifecast and and taking dozens of photos that she never knew about. She only discovered them a couple of years ago, and had a really interesting collection that gave her a good excuse to talk about the whole process there.

I was particular excited for Breckin Meyer though. I enjoy him in a variety of things, not the least of which are the Garfield movies. I have an unreasonable lot for these. But he’s also fun and stuff with the robot chicken crew and things like rat race. One of his early performances was in Freddys dead… He looks completely different and his voice and dropped yet. It was always strange to see him, and I assumed you with one of the guys I was never going to get in person. It was a great deal of fun to head up and chat with him and get my photo signed. I pulled down my mask and headed in.

“Gahhhhh!” Meyer exclaimed as he jumped back startled. I pulled up the Freddy hockey mask I was wearing, as we laughed over it.
“That is so %$#@&* cool!“ breathed Meyer. “So thanks for coming out and terrifying me today! “

I noticed Tom Arnold didn’t have any line so I decided to run over and see him too. He’s one I’ve been debating on, he doesn’t really get killed by Friday, but he does have a look at cameo in the film and some genuine achievements in his filmography.

Costumes were out in full force as Sunday is the costume contest for the show… The place had violently erupted in anime characters. But there is also a stunning Mothra floating through the place, as well as some interesting bits and pieces… A brilliant J Jonah Jamison and a dead on Hulk Hogan. For my part, I was phoning it in – my freddy/jason top, along with a Hockey mask I had done up in a Freddy theme. It was actually king of fun – people (especially the crafters in the artist alley) kept asking where I had gotten the mask, and I got to walk them through the process of making them!

I ended up sticking around a little bit longer than I had expected because I kept running into friends who wanted to hang out… Some of which I haven’t seen since before the plague started. It made for a longer day, and by the time I left I was wiped. I still insist that steel city is not going to be a regular stop on my route. For the most part I’m trying to avoid the big meat market autograph shows, but it’s nice to know its there, just within reach to sneak out to. Maybe next time I’ll slip over to Evans cemetery on the way home.

 

 


Akron Canton Comic Con 2021

The plague doctor lowered her mask and began the arduous track through the crowded isles, teaming with people. She stopped short at the large, dark monster. It’s normal to flash was covered mostly in Scarlett ropes, and she evaluating the spectrum. Then, she selected a small white bag from the top of her staff, and on the sachet of lavender on one of the hooks that made up the spiraling talisman that adorned the top of the Skeksis walking stick. Next to him, a young Gelfling, chained to the monster, just looked on, puzzled and petting her Fizzgig.

That’s right, Maddie was coming with me this year – kind of a necessity since I had no hands and needed someone capapble of handing over money for admission and spaying vendors and stuff.

Akron Canton Comic con has been a regular stop now for a few years. It is one of the best of the Harper shows in the area, not just because of the costume contest that draws cosplayers from all around the area, but also the smart and interesting layout in the larger venue. The artist alley lines the upper level, and continues just by the stairs of the lower area. It means you’re going to have to pass through the artists before you hit the dealers. It’s a nice way of getting them better exposure. The venue also most cinnamon press the snack bar, selling two dollar sloppy Joe’s and hotdogs pop and ice and whatever you need. There’s tables and chairs and open spaces in the upper level for people to eat and hang out out, making this one of the more surprisingly social show.

Social can sometimes be the point. There are certain people in that area like Allie or Jason, that I’m only going to run into at these particular events. And for a lot of people, this was their first time back into the convention world in over a year. I was delighted and relieved to run into Mike, the  founder of Akron Comicon, working a booth. He had his own bout with the plague, and this afternoon he actually looked in better health and more positive and spry than I’d seen him, even before the calamity. My teenage daughter was accompanying me, and he actually recognized her first. Not a big surprise, considering my features were completely buried under the full body costume.

In other corners of the show, we ran into a couple that was walking around in Robotech costumes. Never my thing when I was a kid, but my friend Johnny Em turned me onto it by slipping me the novels when I was in my 20s. It’s an amazing series, and fun to see people dressing up with it. I don’t get a chance to talk about it that often. The fellow then reached behind him, into his backpack and pulled out his problem. It was a plate, with what appeared to be a steak and potatoes on it… And I knew immediately which character he was cosplaying. There’s a scene in the middle of the Macross saga, where pilot Ben is just sitting down to dinner. Suddenly the alarm klaxon goes off and he hast to rush off to his veritech plane. He turns back to his dinner, and points at it saying, “Don’t go anywhere, I’ll be back.”
The heartbreaking irony here, is he never does make it back. Something you don’t realize at the moment… It’s just a funny line that becomes heartbreaking a few chapters later. A little touch like this on the prop, it just takes the costume to a whole new meta level. 

Maddie found an Avatar poster from one of the artists in Artist Alley, and absolutely fell in love with it. Was one of the first things that she bought, and it’s one of those things that I always enjoy seeing my kids buying art from the vendors, not just toys or books. For my part I hit the 50 Cent bins at Hazel’s Heroes pretty hard, flipping through them, even while in the Skeksis costume. Of course, that meant that when it was time for the costume contest, I had to find a way to hide the bag in my robes. I pushed it up as far as I could into the crook of my elbow and tried to keep that elbow almost past my back, with the bag then melting into the folds of the cloak. Perhaps I should’ve been focusing less on that, because once we got on stage, the sachet from the plague doctor fell off my staff. I reach down to grab it with my Skeksis hand, and a finger fell off. It was a disaster, the costume was falling apart before our very eyes! Everybody smiled and laughed and whore, and Maddie shuffled me quickly off the stage.

After I’d gotten out of the costume, it was back to the floor, where I could better see into the long boxes. I grabbed another stack of trade paperbacks and chatted with some of the people who could now recognize me. There was a Deadpool in a sailor moon costume who you may have recall seeing him at ZipCon back in 2020. (We leared he went by Dead Moon, rather than the SailorPool moniker I’d hung on him last year) He looked at me, aghast.

“THAT’S what you really look like?”
“Look who’s talking!” I laughed. And it was nice being able to chat with people, friends old and new face-to-face.

It had been a long day, and a crowded one. From a purely spectator standpoint, the show seemed like it was more crowded than usual, a phenomenon I’m in countering at every convention I go to this year. We ended up having to park two lots away and walked down to before we got into the show. That’s OK, I’m happy to see that the scene is making some sort of a comeback. We ended the day tired, but happy. And can’t wait to go out and do it again.

If you’re interested in seeing Maddie’s video diary of the event, you can check that out below. Otherwise jump to the pictures!

 

 

 

 


Lorain Comic and Toy Expo 2021

I was standing there, minding my own business, chatting with Anubis, and all of a sudden the Vulcan threw a care bear at us.

These sort of things just don’t happen to other people.

I attended Lorain Comic and Toy Expo this weekend. This is a small show in its first year, but I really wanted to support it because I want to see conventions coming back… and I admire the sheer chutzpah of trying to launch a convention even at the tail end of the pandemic. It also has a great advantage of being one town over from where I live, as well as trying to draw in cosplayers with a low key costume contest. It was a perfect opportunity for me to test the waters with my new McMandalorian costume, and Maddie was dying to break out her Clementine costume (From The Walking Dead game she’s been playing).

The Lorain show is starting off its first year with a bunch of familiar faces, filling the ball room with a lot of the usual suspects from the LoCo sellers (think the Comicpalooza comic crawl I did last year), as well as vendors from the North East Ohio Toy and Collectibles Club and my home comic shop Comics are Go. While there were bargains to be found (I managed to hit up a bunch of dollar and 50 Cent bins), The emphasis on these particular vendors slightly skewed more towards collectors pricing then bargain hunting. The upside of that is it creates a dense marketplace. You could probably do the dealers room in 15 to 20 minutes, but it was worth your while to go around a few times and spend a couple hours. Every pass we made, Maddie and I spotted new things we missed on our previous trips. It’s also necessary to make a couple of passes when you’re getting stopped from time to time. We’d barely gotten down the first isle when I got pulled away to show up on Captain Crappy and Ms. Fever Blister’s livestream! ( I show up about two and a half hours in)

All in all, it made for a fun day. Maddie did a video on her experiences at the con for her youtube channel and you can find it below.

We found some fun stuff (Maddie was over the moon to find a Glacion Mimikyu plushie!) and had a good day, and definitely plan on coming back for the next one. The promoter has big ambitions, already planning out the next show, expanding it with outdoor activities for kids and at least one wrestling guest for the autograph hounds. I’m looking forward to seeing where this goes, because I’d really love to have a con so close to home.

(more…)


Comic Creator Autographs fall 2019

Conman
A while slew of updates fell into my lap just before NEO Comic Con (review will be up later this week), but I wanted to wait until after the con to make sure a couple of them were still correct. As always, we’re not really going to discuss the pros and cons of comic professionals charging for autographs. There’s plenty of other forums for that. We’re just going to acknowledge the reality of modern convention economics. This is a little something to help you know what to expect when you go to a con so you don’t get blindsided. A lot of artists don’t have autograph charges clearly displayed and frequently con websites either don’t have this information or are asked not to display it. Here’s my current list – in sort-of alphabetical order. It’s not exhaustive by any means, things may change next month or next year. We’ll update and repost from time to time.

Amanda Conner – free for 5 books, $2 after, $5 for CGC.

100_3362

Me so excited to meet Gerry Conway I forgot to open my eyes!

Alex Saviuk – $5
Arvell Jones – $5
Al Milgrom – $10 per book
Adam Kubert – $5 per book
Brett Breeding -$5
Brian Azzarello – $5, except for graded items and Batman:Damned
Bob Camp – $30
Bob Wiacek – $2 (He might make you a deal for multiple issues)
Bob Hall – free for the first issue, or if you purchase a something from the table, otherwise $5
Bob Layton- $5 for CGC graded signings, otherwise free
Bob Mcloud – one for free, then $5

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Bob Budiansky – first six free, $2 each after
Bill Sienkiewicz – two for free, then $3, $10 for CGC
Chris Clarmont – first free, then $20
Charles Soule – $10 CGC grading signings
David Finch – 2 free, then $5
Don McGregor – $5 per signature
Edgar Delgado – $5 CGC grading signings
Fabian Nicieza – $10 Deadpool/X-Force related
Fiona Staples – $20 CGC grading signings (otherwise free)
Graham Nolan recently started charging, but not sure how much.
Greg Capullo  – first 3 books free and $5 thereafter
Gerry Conway – $5
Gerhard $10
Greg Horn – $20 GameStop variants (otherwise free)
George Perez – Free, but he has a ticketing system so get to his table first thing after the show opens or you’ll be stuck in line for HOURS waiting for a spot to open up. Alternatively, if you can deal with not MEETING him, you can buy a print and he’ll sign that and a couple books in between sketches and stuff.

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Nolan signs some bat-issues!

Humberto Ramos – $10-$20
Howard Chaykin – $5 per book
Joe Sinnott – $10 per book
Jim Starlin -$10 per book (goes to Heroes Initiative)
Joe Giella- $4 per book
J. O’Barr – $5
Jae Lee- $5
John Romita Jr – three for free, then $2. $10 for CGC grading.
Jose Delbo – $5
Joe Rubinstein – $20 ($50 for Wolverine)
Jimmy Palmiotti – free for 5 books, $2 after, $5 for CGC.
J Scott Campbell $10
John Cassandry $10
John Beatty – $3
Jim Sternako charges $20 per item last I checked – and that includes items and prints BOUGHT FROM HIS TABLE. Also, do not ask for a photo with him.
Keith Pollard – $5

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Larry Hama wondering exactly what he’s gotten himself into…

Kevin Eastman – first is free, $20 after that (He also doodles on the items!)
Keith Giffen – 1st book free, $5 per book after
Klaus Janson– $10, $20 CGC grading signings
Len Wein – $5, $20 CGC grading signings, $25 for Hulk 181, Giant Size X-Men #1 or House of Secrets #92.
Larry Hama will sign two items for free and charges after that.
Matteo Scalera – $20 CGC grading signings
Mike Zeck – $5
Marv Wolfman – one free (I’ve heard elsewhere it’s two for free, but in his last interview he said one), $5.00 after that
Mark Texeria- one personalized signature free, $10 per book after or unpersonalized
Mitch Gerads – 2 free, then $5
Michael Golden- $5 per book

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With the Legendary Denny O’Neil

Mike Grell – $5
Neal Adams – $30
Pat Brodrick – $3
Ron Frenz -$3
Ron Lim – 1st book free, $10 per book after
Rob Liefeld – $25-$50
Rags Morales – $5
Scott Snyder – first 3 books free and $5 thereafter
Simon Bisley – $10 per book
Tom DeFalco $5 each for three or less. After that $20 (“Dealer’s Pricing”)
Tony Isabella $3. (As of Akron Comicon he’s dropped the “first one free” schtick)
William Messner-Lobes – $10
Whilce Portacio – He was free when I met him several years ago, but from what I understand there’s a few key books he charges $10 to sign
Victor Olazaba – $10

Tip Jar – pay what you want
Some of these are for causes like the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund or Heroes Inititive. Others are just personal. I urge you, respect the tip jar. (It’s so much better than autograph fees)

Billy Tucci
Ben Templesmith
Barry Kitson
Charlie Adlard
Denny O’Neil (Heros alliace tip jar)
George Perez
Gene Ha
Jan Duursema
Jim Calafiore
Larry Stroman
Peter David
Mike Barr

Free
14938305_1328900417154378_6902178794103765567_nAlan Davis
Ann Nocenti
Ande Parks
Angel Mediea
Art Thibert
Aaron Lopresti
Bill Anderson
Brandon Montclare
Brian Michael Bendis (Be prepared to wait a long time in line)
Bill Willingham
Brendan Fletcher
Bob Almond
Christos Gage
Chad Townsend
Carla Speed McNeil
Charles Soule
Clayton Crain
Cary Nord
Cameron Stewart14900529_1294021037284083_6486392154139767345_n
Chip Zdarsky
Chris Yambar
Casey Jones
Darryl Banks
Dave Gibbons
Dan Brereton
Dirk Manning
Emanuela Lupacchino
Erik Larsen
Evan Dorkin
Fred Van Lente (assuming you can catch him. He dosent do to many shows these days)
Frank Cho
Franco
Gail Simone
Greg Land
Heather Antos
16998140_1452872038090548_8911164774404268434_nIvan Reis
Jason Latour
Jon Bogdanove
John Ostrander
Joe Staton
Joshua Williamson
Jim Zub
Judd Winick
Jim Shooter
Jerry Duggan
Jason Aaron
Jeff Schultz
Jacob Chabot
Jonathan Hickman
Jenny Frison
Jae Lee
Joe Kelly
Karl Story
Kelley Jones
Kevin Maguire
Kevin Nowland
Keron Grant
Kyle Higgins
Lela Gwenn
Lee Weeks

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It’s just a shadow. James O’Barr didn’t actually give me a black eye…

Louise Siminson
Mike McKone
Michael Cho
Matt Miner
Matt Horak
Mike Mayhew
Mark McKenna
Mike Okamoto
Marc Sumerick
Mike Gustov
Mark Waid
Mark Schultz
Mike Norton
Matt Fraction
Marguerite Bennett
Mike Hawthorne
Stephen Blickenstaff
Nick Bradshaw
Nick Dragotta
P.Craig Russell
Jorge Lucas
Jim Pasco
Phil Hester12190817_1064801410230948_2617958790839857194_n
Phil Noto
Paul Pelletier
Rick Remender
Ron Fortier
Ramon Villalobos
Ricardo Lopez Ortiz
Rafer Roberts
Sergio Argones
Scott Hanna
Steve Leialoha
Steve Mannion
Stephen Sharar
Scott Snyder
Stefano Gaudiano
Skottie Young
Stephen T. Seagle
Tim Seeley
Tom Mandrake (sometimes a tip jar for Hero Initive, but not when he was at NEO in 2019)
67602223_2625952624115811_7500589555540557824_nTim Bradstreet
Todd DeZago
Tim Truman
Walt Simonson – donations for quick sketches
Will Rosado
Yanick Paquette


Akron Canton Comic Con 2019

Conman53076432_2306179676329582_5580659854772535296_nThe Harper shows are a constant. They never change all that much, so I figured I knew what was in store for me Sunday. But I always forget – summer cons mean wardrobe malfunctions.

I had thrown up a poll to see what costume people wanted to see, and my old Mr Freeze won in a landslide. At 96%, it wasn’t even close. It had been over two years since I had Freeze out, and as I pulled it out, the wear showed. I had a lot of patching to do, including re-attaching one of the oxygen tanks to the back (and figuring a new way of doing so that didn’t just involve boat loads of glue). Also, my Freeze gun was missing. By “Missing” I mean, buried somewhere in the attic, but nt where I can find it to lay my hands on it. I looked around, trying to figure out what to do, and then decided to build a 65303544_2545653042145770_5646763086539915264_nnew on up around my Kyberlight lightsaber. It ended up being massive – but that’s not a bad thing. A bigger gun is far more reminiscent of the film Freeze. I packed the armor in the car and left the windows down during the early service at church. I was hoping the summer sun wouldn’t melt anything.

I started to suit up in the parking lot. It seems like this used t be easier. it certainly was when I tested it at home. The velcro tabs on the sides didn’t seem to want to hold. there was plenty of room, but they just kept coming loose. Finally I got the chestplate on and was looking for the gauntlets.

Pop.

On of the air tanks came off. The hot sun had caused the glue between the metal clip and air tank to separate. Grumbling, I reached for my repair kit and grabbed a razor. I cut a lip in the tank (made from a couple of two liter bottles) and slid half the long clip inside the painted bottle itself, then the other side into the slot on the back of my armor. I prayed it would be enough to naturally clamp together, and went back to the business of putting the chestplate back on. Seriously, one velcro fastens then the other pulls off…Finally, with the armor on and the first gauntlet over my wrist…

Pop!

The other tank came off. Out came the razor again, repeating the same proceedure. Back into the chestplate. Gauntlets on. Gloves on. Bald cap in place. Belt was sagging with the midplate a bit, but I’d have to live with it.

65174024_2785159548167320_3264080732988899328_nSnap.

The goggles chose that moment to break, and I found myself rejiggering the clutch on the side that adjusts the tension. It was another few minuets before they were workable, and I finally slid my dome into place. I picked up the freeze gun and the muzzle promptly slid off the lightsaber. The sun had melted the glue holding this into place as well. I slid it back on and decided to let it float. It would allow me to grip the second handle sideways giving it a more industrial look, but it also meant I’d have to make sure to always point it up. If I relaxed my grip downward,  the front would side off again. Fine. Lets get into the show.

I have to admit, I dig this venue. The split level with the snack bar and some good dealers makes it a nice set up. The costume contest draws an interesting crowd as well. I think it pulls in more young people than other Harper shows do. Over the years I’ve really seen 64784587_2548026251908449_1693727981039517696_nthe costume talent here develop into something impressive, from the amazing Umbrella ninja to the Carnivale Wonder Woman, the competition here grows better every year.

My favorite outfit of the day however, had to be the demonic Ronald McDonald. The young lady in the suit was totally into it and created a cheerfully creepy visage. I love these kind of mash ups, and was totally rooting for her in the costume contest.

I was happy to see so many fifty cent bins and even managed to plow through the single quarter box at the show, scoring a stack of vertigo books I’d always meant to check out and finding the completing issue of two different mini-series I’d been collecting. The vendor knocked a dollar off the already deeply discounted books and even better, he offered to hold onto my bag until I was ready to leave so I wouldn’t have to lug it around in the bulky costume. God bless this dude.

I missed seeing a lot of the friends I regularly run into at this show, but still had a nice time at it. It’s not hard to make new aquantances in this environment. I’m always amused when I look out and see a bunch of heroes sitting at a table with the lunch they just bought at the snack bar, or playing a board game. It’s a surreal image. There were some artists I recognized from Woo-Con and Akron, as well as some great booths. I found one table full of Godzilla movies, along with a book on Japanese film. The LaGrange table was selling old theater signs and there was an amazing selection of He-Man toys in the back. That’s really what the Harper shows are about – interesting buys and good shopping.It’s a nice little con with good deals and interesting artists, and that’s why I keep coming back.


Lost Nation Comic Convention

ConmanLost Nation Comic Convention premiered in Willoughby this weekend, a small show with big ambitions.  The promoter of this show has been around the con scene for a while and knew the lay of the land long before trying to throw his own show. The big ambition shows in his choice of Guest of Honor, bringing in the legendary Jim Shooter.

61924339_421764248405692_4957220818904940544_nThis may have been the wrong weekend for such a show, with Colossalcon siphoning off a great deal of potential attendees. The venue at Lost Nation Sports Park was confusing and I found myself not sure where to go in at. A Soccer tournament was going on at the same time, further confusing and complicating traffic. Fortunately I spotted Deadpool by a door adorned with yellow balloons and rushed over there where I was ushered in. As you go in you had to go down a short hallway, past the restaurant and into a large empty antechamber before finding the path to the basketball court (adjacent to the indoor batting cages) where the show was located at. I wondered the entire time if I were in the wrong place, only slightly reassured by occasional signs for Lost Nation Comic Con.

Once inside though, I was greeted by a nice smattering of vendors and artists. I was really digging the toy vibe here, grabbing a figure from the NEO-TACC booth as well as some Nintendo game figurines for my arcade cabinet. Heroes United had set up both a green screen and a Star Wars backdrop for people to take photos at with props and their characters. Son of Ghoul set up in the center, the R2 builder club had an R2D2 on display while another vendor brought a video game system. in another corner, a DJ spun tunes (light rock – office music). Jim Shooter was over at his table, talking endlessly with guests. CBCS graded items and a small but steady flow of people filtered through the area. When the Ghostbuster theme came on, Tracy the Ape ran over to dance.

62140591_421763735072410_2006451228535422976_nThe panels were intimate. Jim Shooter sat in a comfy chair while a dozen or fewer people gathered around him on bleachers. He shared stories about breaking into the industry, working for Mort Wisenger and his time on Superman. At thirteen he was sending stories to DC, figuring if he could write like Marvel, it was something DC didn’t have and would want. He recalled this drawing ire from Batman creator Bob Kane and others at DC – but not Mort. Mort rode him hard, but behind his back would tell everyone how Shooter could take any story and turn it into something usable.

Towards the end of both days, there was a costume contest, but the low turnout made it a small lineup. Each person had a minuet or two to pose, then the whole line paraded around the con floor. Back at the lineup the DJ spun the Cha-Cha Slide for the contestants to dance to while the judges deliberated. By the time 4:00 rolled around, Lost Nation made an announcement letting 61639453_10211288853135833_9006600592134504448_nvendors know they could tear down a little early. As I was getting ready to leave, someone tapped me n the shoulder and asked me to visit JCW Graphix booth and that they had something for me. Confused, I wandered over with my monkey head in my hands. The artist greeted me and gave me a sketch that he had drawn of me during the convention.

“When you see a monkey dressed in a Ghostbuster costume, you HAVE to draw that!” I was blown away. It’s one of my favorite take-aways from a con, ever.

There were several vendors that didn’t make both days and this hurt the con as much as the date and confusing venue. Hopefully this can all be chalked up to first year growing pains, and I really dug the vendors who were there both days. Good artist and good vendors make for a fine show.

The promoter has already announced plans for next year. Personally, I’d like to see the show move to a smaller venue that can better support them and perhaps reduce it to a one day show instead of a Saturday and Sunday. I’d liek to see more flyers and more networking to get he word out. It’s a small show and will grow best if it embraces that (for the time being).  I’m eager to see where Lost Nation goes from here.