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Cleveland Comic Con 2018

Conman

40417614_1034123063431759_6708631808457572352_nI gotta be honest with you. I think this show is just running out of steam.

Last year I was a bit more optimistic. I figured, they’ve just shrunk down to a manageable size, getting ready to reboot and grow in the future. I’m not so sure now. Cleveland comic con is mostly a vendor show. There is an artist alley, and they still make a slight effort to bring in media guests, but it’s all people who have been out this way already. It’s all been done before.

It’s also noteworthy to observe the lack of cosplay guests.  Not that this is a big deal per se, but last year they had them advertised. They didn’t follow through, and there were none actually in attendance.  This year they didn’t even bother. That’s shrinkage, not growth.  Speaking of shrinkage, I couldn’t help but notice sparse crowds. I can’t tell if that’s con fatigue or confusion. There were two other events going on at the same time in different buildings and I personally had a hard time figuring out where to go to get into the comic con.

Still there were friends there to hang out with and a costume contest to play in. Josh and Steph showed up and we wandered the halls as a deadpool group. I found a handful of comics in the dollar bins – nothing discounted any deeper than that. The 43387547_2415553741818661_6009742429266116608_nguys at the lego booth waved me over and took photos before presenting me with a Lego Deadpool figure – the one my costume was based off of.

I’m not sure what to think at this point. I decided to come out this year because I hadn’t secured a Sunday pass for Cinema Wasteland and Sundays are usually a drag there anyhow, with the hotel emptying out and people leaving. The problem is, I’m getting that same vibe here. It’s just one step up from the Harper flea market type shows. Not even panels anymore (though the strange NES gameshow they were doing was fun to watch….at least for a few minuets). I’m not sure how much longer this show survives.

We’ll have fun while it lasts.

 

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Hall of Fame City Comic Con 2018

Conman36627632_1946127048959228_7218901840509796352_n41916543_2116971871680558_6680351282764447744_n“Dude, looks like Metal arms are in this year!”

I looked in the direction the voice was coming from. A Winter Soldier was pointing to the prosthetic Borg arm being passed back to me by security after their examination. I slid it on and nodded.

“Sure are,” I replied. “Just look over there!”

I pointed to the Sinister Six group. Doc Ock and his four static robot arms turned and smiled at us.

There were scheduling conflicts last year and I missed HOF, though I heard glowing reports from friends that attended and I really dug the cons first year (when it was MY turn to be Doc Ock!). It’s good to see that the show is growing at a steady, healthy pace. not too fast, not to slow. They’ve figured out a better way to maximize thier space too. It wasn’t shoulder to shoulder the way it had been in 2016.

41952239_10156935707883754_1110828102096781312_nI decided to try and hit the line for Kevin Eastman first. I’m not really a Turtles fan, but I respect the property and love the success Eastman became because of it. I found my friend Eric wearing his Jurassic Park outfit and waiting in Eastman’s line so I swung by to say hello. He expressed shock at me not being in costume yet and tried his best to convince me to do the costume contest. I wasn’t sure how long I was going to hang out and the contest was still five hours away. Still, waiting in this line would kill a good chunk of that time. It was a prodigious queue, curving down the end of the hall and I tried to find the end of it, only to be stopped by security. I was informed that the line had been capped at 150 people ( which they hit in the first 45 minuets of the show) and that I’d have to come back in three hours for the second signing. This situation was just a little too reminiscent of the confusion and poorly run ticketing system for George Perez the last time I was out here, but perhaps I shouldn’t have been surprised. The convention schedule, released about a week in advance, had shown two specific “Signing” times – a weird thing for a comic convention like this (I see it regularly at anime cons, but not at comic cons), and It had spooked me. I decided to head elsewhere. After all, I wasn’t REALLY here for Eastman. I was here for Peter David.

41721301_2114064061971339_5560187360580206592_nBack in the 90’s, David was instrumental in shaping the the direction of DC’s Star Trek line, having taken it over from Mike W. Barr. This is my favorite era of Star trek and those comics have always been special to me. From there I migrated over to his novels  – Rock and a Hard Place is my favorite TNG book ever. I took my place in line right behind one of the guys I knew from Panels:The Comic Club.

Approaching his table I pulled out a gift I had brought him. He picked up the furry blob and looked at it.

“What is it?”

“A Borg Tribble.”

He rolled his eyes in disbelief.

“I don’t know how I’m getting this through airport security…’what’s that in your bag sir?’ ‘um, it’s an assimilated tribble….?’ ‘OUT OF THE LINE!’ ”

He confirmed my suspicions about the Stone character in Rock being a prototype for the hero of his New Frontier books, though he has no idea what my have happened to him afterwards. I followed him to his panel and was fascinated by his stories of how he got into comics, and the way he kind of drifted into different assignments. It’s been an interesting kind of career.

I popped out of the panel a little early to go get into costume. I had decided to do the first half of the show in normal clothes since it was so hot and my Borg suit wouldn’t fare well 41951394_2117444428299969_3820951851692457984_nin the end of summer weather. I applied the makeup in my car (God bless the guys at Rubber City Cosplay by the way. They offered to let me suit up and do my makeup in by their booth where they had a station set up. I had to decline because I was using latex and needed my car heater vents to dry it). I was trying something new this time – instead of just drawing sick green veins on my face I built them up using cotton and latex, THEN drew the green lines on the swollen veins. It ended up being the first time I found myself truly happy with this look.

Because I resent being charged for parking, my car was half a block away, parked in front of a house. Suddenly the door burst open and a slightly scary looking man stormed out staring at me.

“DUDE! I just had to run out here to see this,” he exclaimed in amazement. “That thing is off the HOOK! What’s going on?”

I explained about the con around the corner and waved goodbye. A car load of kids drove by headed to the Wendy’s across the street from the Canton Civic Center. They yelled at me from their windows and asked what my character was called. I told them I was a Borg and waved, trying hard not to squint. The heat was making the white greasepaint run down into my eye. I crossed the street with one good eye, and fished the 41955063_2115589821818763_1599708342316433408_nnapkin out of the hidden compartment in my belt, then cleared the tears and makeup from under my cowl. Outside the doors was parked the greatest vespa scooter EVER, painted red with decals to look like the bike from Akira.  I reapplied some white as I wandered back in, thankful for the cooler temperatures in the convention hall.

This time out, I made one more upgrade to the Borg suit. I added a borg tribble of my own (with more lights on it that the one I presented to David) who would sit on my shoulder (magnets in the tribble and my costume). One of my favorite moments was a family coming up to me and asking for a picture. The little daughter, riding on mommy’s hip wasn’t too sure about my robot in corpse paint. I plucked the furry little ball off my shoulder and asked if she’d like to hold the Tribble. “He’s soft,” I explained as she  snatched him from my hand. The camera got a big smile from her.

42044592_2115589671818778_8881238807525982208_nAcross the hall, I spotted my friends Rocky (also dressed as a Winter Soldier, but also carrying around Rocket Raccoon) and Chris (Appropriately garbed as Casey Jones), who had just arrived. I let them know about the early lineup for Kevin Eastman and we headed that way.  It wasn’t quite two yet, but the line was already the length of the civic center. As we stepped into the queue, I saw Ben from comic club rushing from the Eastman’s presentation and  heading down the hall. I waved him over.

“Man, this is crazy,” he exclaimed. “It never occurred to me that people would actually duck out of Kevin Eastman’s panel to start lining up early!”

41885480_2115589788485433_6118727623834075136_nI introduced Ben to Chris and Rocky, and explained comic club. We all made a little nest in line. The guys chatted about new costumes, Infinity War and Turtles while Rocket and my Tribble got into fights.

“I was heading into the parking lot,” Rocky told us. “Rocket Raccoon was in my passenger seat. The guy at the gate took my money then looked in and said ‘You guys have a good time’. So apparently Rocket counts as one of the guys…”

To quote A Christmas Story; “The line stretched all the way to Terre Haute, and I was at the end of it”.  Still, it was good to be with friends and we eventually got our stuff signed. I noted the “No posed photos” sign and slipped Rocky (ahead of me in line) my camera to 41818782_2115589558485456_4720367039116476416_nsnap shots of me meeting Eastman. Kevin drew “Casey Jones Doodles” all over Chris’s hockey stick, and loved my outfit as my borg arm handed over my comic using it’s claw. His assistant asked for a photo.

“There’s a LOT of cosplay at this show isn’t there?” Eastman asked. I acknowledged that Ohio has a lot of interesting costume culture.

There was just enough time after we got out of the endless Eastman line for me to plow through the 3-for-$1 bins, scoring about thirty books as well as a handfull of small pokemon for me to bring home to the kids. My backpack sagged on my shoulders, heavy with comic books as I headed backstage for the costume contest.

“Matthew?”

My name rang out. I was late and Spider-Man was looking for me.

“Coming! Coming! I’m here!” I panted as I shuffled off my backpack and stowed it under a backstage chair. Spidey pointed to the second line.

41771699_10156935452953754_2660371922180636672_n“Okay! Line up right here.”

I walked over and pointed at the floor.

“Right here? Here. Right THIS spot?”

Spidey gave me an exasperated smile and swatted me away. Looking around I found myself next to my friend Jason, who was ready with a quick change Clark Kent/ Superman costume (much like the one Maddie wore to NEO). Seems like I had friends to keep me company in every line I found myself in. Cassie and Vito were too far away for me to reach, but Dwayne snuck up behind me and greeted me – I hadn’t even recognized him in costume!

HOF is a good con, and consistently brings in top talent like no other convention its size. If they could just figure out how to handle the crowds for those guests, it would be a near perfect show. That and ditch the charge for the convention hall parking lot (Akron comic con, and Geekfest both managed to provide free parking, Heck, CONCoction MOVED so they could). Still, it’s good vendors, exceptional guest and good times with friends. Barring further schedule conflicts I expect to be back next year!

 

 


Lake Effect Comic Con 2018

Conman

35533764_2533830610175951_6038846837060796416_n36224434_1981931958517884_724846576685547520_nLake Effect isn’t what it used to be. This was one of my favorite shows for awhile, because of the charm of having a free comic con at a movie theater, as well as the vast array of deals all over the place and marvelous programming. I’m glad the show has grown, and really needed to move – but since heading over to the hotel and transitioning into that sort of con, it’s identity has changed a great deal.

Gone are the amazing deals and cheap finds. As emphasis has moved off of programming, panels and screenings have vanished more and more until the event  really has begun to resemble a Jeff Harper show… that is to say, a giant swap meet that you pay admission for.

There’s still a fun vibe here, it attracts cosplayers because of the costume contest and there’s friends to meet. My buddy Rhonda and I hung out with Dirk Manning a little bit, 36002734_1981932758517804_6091099696946741248_nand chatted up several other folks we saw wondering around. Free stuff was in abundance this year too, at every door there seemed to be a person stationed with a bag of pins to handout (poor Rhonda spent all day adding buttons to my Comicon  backpack) and on the flyer table full of freebies there were Green Lantern batteries for Heroclix! I was so excited to finally grab one of these! One person walked up to me and handed over a button with Barry Allen’s lightning bolt insignia on it, and informed me I’d been Flashed.

To my great delight, my buddy Jim won the costume contest for his Dr Forster (from mystery science theatre 3000) costume. There were a lot of great outfits this year and it seems like the convention is starting to fill up again. Attendance was down last couple of 36029252_2540812459477766_7607987854181924864_nyears but this time around there seemed to be more people walking around and that’s good… I wasn’t sure how that would pan out considering there are a lot of folks pissed about the entrance fee increasing this year to 8 dollars for such a small show.

I’ve got a lot of affection for Lake Effect, but I may be skipping it next year. There’s still fun to be had here, but I’m not a big fan of what it’s becoming. We’ll see what happens in 2019.

 


Free Comic Book Day 2018

CoverIt was about 4:30 when the boss poked his head in my office. He said it wasn’t very busy right now and he didn’t expect anybody else to shop today – that I could head out early if 31945578_1919186758125738_829164490422484992_nI wanted to. I grabbed my Iron Man helmet and was out the door like a shot, on my way to Carol and John’s. About 5 o’clock I put down my lawn chairs, set up the TV tray and made myself a nest in line. Just like every year, I looked at the clock and wondered what was I doing? I mean, honestly what am I going to do for the next SEVEN HOURS? Of course, then the next time I checked the clock I was shocked to see it was already 11:30…
There are Free Comic Book Day celebrations to one extent or another all over The United States on the first Saturday every May. Even here in the Cleveland area, Comics Are Go brought in my friend Marc Sumerak from Marvel comics as well as local artist Rick Lozano to sign pieces and sell their work. Imaginary Worlds in Cleveland Heights seems 10to have picked up the baton from York comics, utilizing FCBD as a food drive and offering extra free comics to anyone who brings in canned goods. I always liked this approach, I’m glad to see somebody is still doing it.

Still, the fact is that nobody does Free Comic Book Day like Carol and John’s. The event the night before officially begins around 10 o’clock, but the line starts long before that. I mentioned that I got in around five, and there were already 20 people ahead of me. Card tables had popped up for people to play board games on, Magic tournaments were going on. Cards against humanity was out and in the streets there was dancing. A podcaster set up in the corner and was interviewing avengers as they walked 31898242_1893737123970493_231055518104289280_nby. As the day turned to evening and the skies got darker, Jedi and stormtroopers marched along the road – lightsaber battles took place in the night air. The Ghostbusters arrived, and super heroes were everywhere you looked.

At my nest in line, my friend Mayday was the first to arrive with his lovely bride Pam. We chatted for a while before joining the rest of the Scooby gang at the Red Lantern, two doors down. I grabbed an appetizer with them, and when I got back to my place in line my friend Jen had arrived with pizza for all of us.

When the doors opened at 10, we hit the bar for free beers, thier bottles adorned with artwork reminiscent of this years guest of honor comics legend Jim Sternanko. Across 31946010_10156190699692278_8902142860032212992_ntown, the comic shop had arranged a dinner with him and about 20 guests – my friends Nick and Taylor arrived back at the shop late from that dinner and just a few minutes ahead of Jim himself.

In the meantime we hung out at the art show and I was delighted to see one of the artists had contributed a painting of the Shadow! Stetnanko is famous for is Shadow covers, indeed the one piece of his that I have signed is one of his Shadow illustrations. It made my day to see this homage, and I grabbed a print of it for myself. Before I made it out of the art show, I ran into my buddy Ryan, his wife and new baby… I played peekaboo with the little one, using the visor on the Ironman helmet. While in line in there, a tiny Darth Vader chatted me up, fascinated by my “Bones” Iron Man suit and showing me the lights on his Vader costume. I caught him later, getting into a lightsaber fight with Kylo Ren outside.

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31945847_814943612025019_5281759499957305344_nI made it back to the nest and gathered everybody up for a group photo over at the Rubber City booth, a little something to remember the night from before it was time to lineup for the free comic giveaway. As we got back, people in giant donut costumes wandered up and offered us tiny cupcakes. We packed up the nest, tossed the chairs in my car and got ready to go through.  It’s always surprising how quickly the night goes, and I’ll be honest – as soon as I’ve gotten out of the comics line I vanish back home because I’m only going to get a few hours sleep before it’s time to do it all again properly on Saturday morning!

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Saturday; the actual Free Comic Book Day, is always a much different kind of event in the evening one. There are  more kids, and they were absolutely enchanted by my Slimer costume. My daughter Maddie came with me, donning her now–too– small Supergirl costume and on the hunt for Pokémon, Simpsons, and DC superhero girls, and of course Marvel zombies once we got into the shop.
I ran into my friend Rhonda while making the rounds, and we all made sure to get our photos in the pop figure box… I wasn’t confident of my ability to get in and out of the box Friday night, and the photos showed up better during the day anyhow. Even in Slimer though, it looked a little tricky – I ended up taking off the costume and setting it inside the box and just taking a photo of that.31924679_1920078671369880_1781156270892384256_n

In the end I only hit three shops this FCBD. C&J’s, Comics are Go (Where they recognized Maddie from the Backyard Zombie Movie series) and Imaginary Worlds. I got all but about three books I wanted. As we headed home, Maddie was digging into her comics, and recommended sparks to me. She was right about how funny the story of two cats in a robotic dog suit was. She also pulled out the Doctor Who book and exclaimed “Dad, isn’t this your favorite Doctor?” Number seven is in fact, not my favorite, but certainly ranks among the top four. She brought home two books specifically for her sister as well, Invader Zim and Street Angel’s Dog. This is really cool to watch ger recommending stories to me and other people. For herself, Maddie found a copy of Supergirl meets Scooby Doo and it blew her mind.

And of course this is really the whole point of Free Comic Book Day – to support the local shops, and get involved in the community. Hope yours was just as amazing.


#NotatWizardWorld

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Last year, when the carpetbaggers at Wizard World blew into town, I took to the streets to protest. Specifically, the streets that lead to the local comic shops in the area. I hit about eight places last year, and it was my goal to do better this time around. I donned my Star Lord jacket and headed out.

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Comics Are Go
5188 Detroit Rd
Sheffield Village, OH 44035

28576078_1848476678530080_7316552180490124023_nI started the day off meeting up with my friend Jennifer and her daughter Samantha at my home shop, Comics Are Go for my first stop. Eric had set up at Wizard World  (“consorting with the enemy” he told me) and then was heading to Columbus for a Harper show. That’s okay, Ed was manning the home front and chatted up Jennifer while Samantha and I dug through the discount trade bins. I grabbed a couple of avengers books entirely because they’ve got Ben Grimm in them while Jen found a Ghostbusters Annual to get. I waved goodbye to them and started to make my way towards the freeway. A couple stops before that though…..

Keiths comics
394 Broad St
Elyria, OH 44035

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Over to Keith’s to pick up some new Superman as I make my way to the freeway. I declined the bag for my comic books, so he sandwiched them between two old indie books with the covers ripped off to protect them from the weather! I always feel weird in here,  I used to work in the same corner building when it was a different business… I’m hoping to be back here around free comic book Day too!

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Comics and More
831 Chestnut Commons Dr,
Elyria, OH 44035
The comic book side of strongsville hobby is my last stop before I hit the freeway – it’s on the edge of town and I always think of it more as a hobby shop then a comic shop… So I sometimes accidentally overlook it. I missed going here last year and was happy to correct that oversight this time around! There’s always a weird varity of things here, more trades than comics but more interesting toys and models and you’re finding your average comic shop as well! I’m heading to Parma next!

 

Carol and Johns 17462 Lorain Ave
Cleveland, OH 44111

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United States. A comic tour of Cleveland wouldn’t be complete without a stop out here…. kind of cool to see that the place is packed!

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lsWarzone Matrix
4704 Rocky River Dr
Cleveland, OH 44135

Taking the little side trip year, last year I went out of my way to stop at recess games… This year I thought I’d drop in at war zone again, it’s been awhile – are used to play hero clix here in my tournament days. It’s a small, cramped, dark maze of games and figurines stacked up on top of each other – the sort of hidden treasure trove that you could dig for ever in and always find something new.

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B and L comics
5591 Ridge Road,
Parma, Ohio

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People love the store – one of the guys in my comic book club has told me it’s his favorite shop – and it shows, considering the place was still full and busy on a comic con weekend. It actually makes me feel good to see how busy the shop then today – this ones an old school shop, cramped and dark – there is an old tube TV playing infomercials underneath the counter… And I can always count on them to have a long box full of beat up Silver age books for $.50 each

Northcoast Nostalgia
5853 Ridge Rd,
Cleveland (Parma), OH 44129

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Right down the street is north coast nostalgia, who also usually has a nice selection of quarter bins full of interesting stuff – but this time around I found something really cool! The hologram figure of green Lantern… I remember this look from the rock of ages storyline in the early days of JLA. However, I’ve never seen one of these figures before – I didn’t even know they existed!

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Ground Zero Comics
15139 Pearl Rd,
Strongsville, OH 44136
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Still much heavier game emphasis at Ground Zero, but I Gotta admit I enjoy being greeted at the door by the gigantic Deadpool statue. Once again, the place was full of guys playing games and digging through boxes. I’m beginning to suspect that all the action this weekend just might NOT be at Wizard World…..

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Kidforce collectables 103 Front St
Berea, OH 44017

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I genuinely don’t remember if I just forgot about kid force last year or if I had just run out of steam by that point… But I definitely wanted to check them out this time around. I know they’ve been in this location for a couple years now, but it’s not the one I remember – I’ve seen them in a couple of their previous locations in the past and I must admit I really like the new digs. In addition to being a big pop marketplace, and game retailer, there’s also rows of pinball machines here! It’s an interesting new direction to see your game shop go – really digging it!

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Imaginary Worlds
13446 Cedar Rd,
Cleveland Heights, OH 44118

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I actually checked out imaginary worlds in Cleveland Heights back when they first opened, but the place is just so far out of the way for me that I haven’t been back much> They also have dollar bins as opposed to fifty cent or quarter bins, which is frequently too rich for my blood.  But oh holy crap…these actually may be the best dollar bins in Cleveland.  I pulled a Dark Shadows in there, noticing that there’s a surprising amount of beat up gold key in there. There’s a price break at 25 for $20 and I think I may just have to pop back after I get paid again. The owner told me he could fill out my Thing collection and I think I see all the issues of Camelot 3000 that I’m missing in there…

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Big Fun

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It’s tough to say goodbye to big fun – A more tearful farewell even then York comics last year. This vintage toy, novelty, in pop culture shop has been the linchpin of the Coventry road shopping experience for as long as I can remember. I’ve been coming out here for 20 years, and I’m happy to say that I never took it for granted, and visited as often as I could – always finding something amazing whether it was in the back, in the context of beans, or in the dozens of tiny card catalogue drawers Full of Oriental trading toys. I’m gonna miss you guys as they pack up and move along.

 

My tour this year lasted six and a half hours covering eleven locations and once again saying goodby to one. Next year I think I may just have to try something different….this tour takes a lot out of me. I’m exhausted….

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#shopsmall #notatwizardworld

 

 


Cleveland Comic Con 2017

Conman22449872_880385612120621_6994002521921958494_nIt’s very strange, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a convention shrink in the way Cleveland Comic Con has. Still, it may have been just what it needed – a new tweak to the formula that finally makes this convention work.

Cleveland Comic con has had a bumpy road – with growing pains exacerbated by disorganisation and a grander scope then they can facilitate. I think they tried too much too soon and it has constantly dogged the quality of this convention and kept me away quite a bit. This year was different, everything moved smoothly. It feels like the convention dialed back some of that scope and is able to better accommodate the type of crowd it receives. That doesn’t preclude growing in the future, but they’re not ready yet – and the 22528514_10214340948988751_7564996712190481935_nsmaller two building-one stage set up they had running here suits them very nicely.

They gone out of their way to bring in some interesting guests as well – Sam Jones was there, overcharging for his Flash Gordon autograph. They brought in some minor characters from the Walking Dead as well. Vincent Ward and Santiago Cirillo are both actors I’ve already got on my walking dead poster… Santiago did Concoction a year ago and was just as much fun this time around – even with a lot of the same stories… I wandered into his panel, and he stopped dead pointed at me and yelled “yes! Slime me!”

That’s right, Cleveland comic con was finally the big reveal for my slimer costume.

Slimer was actually a big hit with everybody – freaking out some of the venders and drawing laughter and applause from Jones over at his Flash Gordon table.One young man 22520142_10214341972094328_8826545569207276470_ostopped by me and asked “is it worth it? . I admit, it was hotter than expected, but absolutely. He is a remarkably fun character and you can get really silly with the body language – the people at the ghostbusters booth lost their minds over me!

I actually really dig the way they handled this costume contest – with prejudging around one, and everybody lined up for that. It would’ve been nicer however, if they had made the instructions about this clearer – I honestly just stumbled into the correct line and had I arrived much later I would’ve been excluded.

But all in all, I like prejudging – they give you a chance to really connect with the judges and explain what you have done and how you’ve done it without being under the pressure or time crunch of a costume parade. A couple hours later we are all lined up and doing our thing on stage which once again, a great deal of fun… It didn’t occur to them to let me speak or take a microphone, so everything was non-verbal – everything was expression and body language in this suit. It’s an interesting challenge, and I think I like it.

I finally got around to replacing my copy of Diane Carey’s Final Frontier – the one that I gave to my best friends ex-girlfriend. I always figured I just grab another one off the shelf of the local used bookstore, and hadn’t come across one since! Next to it in the paperback bin was an interesting looking copy of the Exorcist. I topped off my bag with a copy of the Art of Atari. I’ve been jonesing for this book since they announced it, and gem city had its usual excellent prices!

I’m really happy about what Cleveland comic con  has become. It’s actually morphed into exactly the sort of show that I really enjoy – and I think now, it’ll have a better chance at growing organically… and that is something I deafinately want to see!

 


Comic Creator Autographs 2017

Comic Creator Autographs

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It’s been over a year since I updated this list, and now’s as good a time as any! Again, 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 blind sided. 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 as we learn more.

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
Bob Camp – $30
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

BobMcloud – one for free, then $5
Bill Sienkiewicz – two for free, then $3, $10 for CGC
Charles Soule – $10 CGC grading signings
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.
Gerry Conway – $5
Gerhard $10
Greg Horn – $20 GameStop variants (otherwise free)

HNI_0083

Nolan signs some bat-issues!

George Perez – Free, but he has a ticketing system so get to his table first thin 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.
Humberto Ramos – $10-$20

J. O’Barr – $5
Jae Lee- $5
John Romita Jr – three for free, then $2. $10 for CGC grading.
Jose Delbo – $5
Joe Rubinstein – $2 ($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 $15 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
Klaus Janson– $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- $5 per book (with free head sketch)

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With the Legendary Denny O’Neil

Mike Grell – $5
Neal Adams – $30
Pat Brodrick – $3

Ron Frenz -$3
Rob Liefeld – $25-$50
Rags Morales – $5
Stan Lee – $60-$100
Whilce Portacio – $10-$20
Victor Olazaba – $10

Tip Jar – pay what you want
Ben Templesmith
Denny O’Neil (Heros alliace tip jar)
Gene Ha
Peter David

Tip Jar -Comic Book Leagal Defence Fund
Charlie Adlard

Free
Dave Gibbons14938305_1328900417154378_6902178794103765567_n
Judd Winick
Mike McKone
Stefano Gaudiano
Alan Davis
Ande Parks
Angel Mediea
Art Thibert
Aaron Lopresti
Bill Anderson
Brian Michael Bendis (Be prepaired to wait a long time in line)
Bob Budiansky
Bill Willingham
Brendan Fletcher
Barry Kitson
Christos Gage
Chad Townsend
Charles Soule
Cary Nord
Cameron Stewart14900529_1294021037284083_6486392154139767345_n
Chip Zdarsky
Darryl Banks
Dan Brereton
Emanuela Lupacchino
Erik Larsen
Evan Dorkin
Fred Van Lente
Frank Cho
Gail Simone
Howard Chankyn
Ivan Reis
Jason Latour
Joe Staton
Joshua Williamson
Jim Zub16998140_1452872038090548_8911164774404268434_n
Jim Shooter
Jerry Duggan
Jason Aaron
Jonathan Hickman
Jenny Frison
Jae Lee
Kelley Jones
Kevin Maguire
Kevin Nowland
Kyle Higgins
Louise Simonson
Marc Sumerick
Mike Barr
Mike Gustov
Mark Waid
Mike Norton
Matt Fraction
Marguerite Bennett
Mike Hawthorne
Nick Bradshaw
Nick Dragotta
P.Craig Russell
Clayton Crain
Keron Grant12190817_1064801410230948_2617958790839857194_n
Jorge Lucas
Bob Almond
Jim Pasco
Mike Mayhew
Casey Jones
Tim Bradstreet
Phil Hester
Phil Noto
Rick Remender
Ron Fortier
Ramon Villalobos
Steve Leialoha
Scott Snyder
Skottie Young
Tim Seeley
Tony Isabella (There’s certain issues that DC broke it’s agreement with him on, don’t bring those, otherwise free – also, he’s been talking abuot starting to charge if his sales don’t pick up)
Walter Simonson


First Time at Lake Effect

conwoman18881917_1561355863908831_7868683073269651622_nI mentioned yesterday that my Ock suit has grown so cumbersome that I required a handler. You may have seen Rhonny Reaper around the net at Dollar Bin Horror or haunting the depths of Cinema Wasteland, but Sunday was her very first time out to Lake Effect Comic Con – and I thought it would be interesting to get a fresh perspective one it. Here’s her review.

 

This year was my first year attending Lake Effect Comic Con and it was a blast. Matthew told me that in past years it had been held at a movie theater, but now the Holiday Inn in Mentor is its home. I’m kind of sad I missed it before because I think the theater sounds like a lovely spot for a con, but this was nice as well. It seemed smaller than I imagined. The show was not crowded, but we did get there late so I’m assuming 18920328_10211047601324769_6667099077153641652_nthe early birds had already dispersed.

I myself had a fantastic time! I went with Matthew acting as his “hands” so he could be Doc Ock. EVERYONE wanted pictures with Matt when we first got there, so it took us a minute to get into the show room. I’ve always loved horror but just recently started working on a horror comic selection, so this was the first time I knew what I was looking for…and I found it in abundance! So many wonderful golden age horror comics for $1 and $2 each! I also found a copy of My Friend Dahmer at the Comics Are Go table, thanks to Matt’s keen eyes. Eric over there gave me the sweetest deal on the book!

Towards the end, they held a costume contest for all the cosplayers, and everyone looked fantastic!!! From the little Wonder Woman to the Sailor 17554224_1075542492576460_7746665918391120333_nMoon, everyone came out in style! I myself came as Lydia Deetz (from Beetlejuice), which I thought was more on the simple side of cosplay…which is why I was shocked the judges picked me for female adult! I’m still in shock…but happy as ever about the killer Deadpool mask I received as the prize (I’m more into horror comics than classic super heroes…but I mean who doesn’t LOVE some Deadpool?)! They also gave a special prize to the Yip Yip alien costume from Sesame Street (which really gave Matt a run for his money) because it was GLORIUOS! You just had to! All in all, this con was a blast and gave me my best haul ever! Can’t wait till the next one!!!

 

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Free Comic Book Day 2017

2017_FCBD_FB-Cover_V1-1You know, it was getting manageable… That stack of comic books on the end table – the one near my spot on the couch was down to a reasonable size.
Then free comic book Day occurred.
I want to step back for a moment and think about how good we have it here in the Cleveland area – we are almost spoiled by the abundance of comic book shops and fandom events within easy reach. On Free Comic Book Day in particular, we have the midnight party for the Free Comic Book Day release at Carol and John’s Comic Shop. The first people 18402964_649873665198682_2553440782179058411_nin line arrived about 9o’clock Thursday night – and waited all the way up to midnight Friday night to receive a full set of the Free Comic Cook Day releases (and dubious bragging rights….). I’m not nearly that dedicated. I came out after work, arriving about 5:45 to set up my little village in line. Several chairs, some for my neighbors as well as myself, a table, and a carpetbag bag full of games and crafting supplies. I wanted to try something different out this year – a mash-up of every superhero I could possibly think of. I crafted a Thor hammer and half a Cap shirt while waiting in line. I then added a green lantern ring, Iron Man armor, then pulled my Batman mask over my Spider-Man mask, pulled up a pair of thing pants underneath a wonder woman belt and added a superman cape. I refer to this look as “Everyman”.

Seriously though, you would not believe how fast six hours flies by amid all this 18342455_705584919620720_2698076922419637133_nchaos… Wandering up and down the lines, and visiting friends while observing the random hijinks that occur around us. A group of dancers spontaneously began to preform in the street. The Ghostbusters car screamed into the parking lot with lights and siren going. A police car blasting the Darth Vader theme cruised by as Daft Punk danced and puzzled over baby Groot. All up and down the line, people were playing games – you can see Magic tournaments and hero clix battles. I stopped by the Scooby’s corner to join them in a game of Cards Against Humanity is for a bit. My friends and I greeted old friends and new friends – we posed for pictures, and we constantly made fun of poor Steph who has probably never been called a “trash panda 18301219_649871135198935_8055056634602885906_n“nearly so many times in one setting before. (indeed, I think my favorite part of the night was watching rocket raccoon get carded at the restaurant… The server looked at her license, shruged her shoulders and said “I don’t know why I’m even doing this… I’d never have guessed this with you! “)

Coming straight from work, I have to admit that doing the midnight release party always makes for a long day… Every single time, I find my social anxiety which tempt me to just stay home, and every single time I’m glad that I did. This is the event that everyone comes out to. I sometimes see certain friends at comic club, others I see at conventions, -a3af30e395853c0cothers I see when I do charity events, but for Free Comic Book Day, it seems like I see everybody I know!

After collecting books I beat a hasty retreat back home – because I’d be getting up again and returning in 10 hours or less!
The daytime events always seem a little bit more subdued compared to the evening events – though perhaps that’s just because of the early time that I’m arriving (got to snag that special book by Marc Sumerack before they run out!). I made it back in line at Carol and Johns just in time to get interviewed by the 18222475_1532025523508532_1675920869806819027_nPlain Dealer and appear in the newspaper on Sunday. I chose a much more manageable costume, donning The Penguin outfit I had put together for the premiere of the Lego Batman movie.

It’s interesting, I managed to run into a very different group of people during the daytime events as I hopped from shop to shop in an attempt to acquire the 30 or so books that I was interested in (out of the 50 offered this year). Written in chalk all over the sidewalk and walls leading up to Carol and Johns were the phrase I am Groot… Children’s chalk drawings later the sidewalk and I stood in line that was significantly shorter than last year – the weather was definitely keeping some people away, but we wouldn’t let this deter us (though it did keep me down to only hopping between three shops!)

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18403430_1532026856841732_4146307777708853836_nThe guys at Comics are Go managed to save an Animal Jam comic for my daughter Maddie (she, her mother and sister along with several friends were having a mother-daughter tea party at the restaurant about three doors down – I joined them afterwards at the comic shop for free comic book Day). When Maddie brought over one of her friends they dug through the stock in the back and thier own personal pulls in the back to find an issue for her as well. This is why Comics are Go is still my home shop (with Carol and John’s being a close second and my  alternate – after all I work on that side of town). It’s not the five for a dollar bins that they had set out (and man did I hit those things hard – I brought home 30 new issues from there!) or the creators they bring in like Rick Lozano or Dirk Diggler… No, it’s the personal service and the guys that work there that really make all the difference.

18199445_1361142930590212_1502246818448713279_n18274998_1361409613896877_4205894747851591342_nAcross town, Jerry over at Strongsville Hobby made sure that I filled my gold book quota– as well as snagging an extra copy of The Tick for a friend of mine who are just moved and didn’t have any comic shops near her. It’s one of those things that makes me realize just how blessed we are in this area… I know I’ve said that already, but it bears repeating. Jerry has taken in the spirit of Free Comic Book Day a step further, offering a bunch of the one dollar image preview books as freebies right along side of the normal FCBD picks… I grabbed a bunch of back stock that he had on half off and waved goodbye as he donned his Batsuit, collected Supergirl and Deadpool to head off in greet the kids at Free Comic Book Day events at local libraries.

I ended my weekend by gathering up the family and heading over to Amherst Cinema for a screening of Guardians of the Galaxy vol 2. It seems like this happens every year- my 18342245_1532906586753759_3173245102449219018_nfriends all hit the years movie on Thurs or Fri and I don’t make it out until Sunday evening! Admittedly, some of that has to do with me holding out for a screening at Amherst Cinema (all seats are $4.00!) but sometimes it’s just that I can’t make the schedules work.

Guardians is the rare comic movie that my wife wanted to see. Maddie was a little reluctant and not in the mood to go out, but I think she may just have loved it more than any of us!

“Look! It’s Howard the Duck!” She exclaimed in disbelief, leaping from her seat in the middle of the crowded theater as my wife and younger daughter giggled Their way through the film.

A perfect way to end our FCBD adventures. I hope yours was just as productive. (and by the way, if in northeast ohio, check out my FCBD stops!)

Comics are Go

Carol and John’s Comic Shop

Strongsville Hobby and Comics and More

Amherst Cinema

Plain Dealer’s article on FCBD (You’ll find me featured about halfway down)