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Con Man

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!



 

 


Cinema Wasteland fall 2022

The two Dracula‘s faced off, grim and ashen. It was a battle of wills, to see which one was more powerful… And which one had bigger hair!

I must say, I’ve been looking forward to meeting Zandor Vorkov ever since he was announced as a guest for cinema wasteland a couple of years ago. Over the craziness of the past few years and events, Wasteland has had to reschedule a number of guests and rethink some of its reunions. I was stoked though for both the star of Al Adamson’s Dracula versus Frankenstein, but also that we were finally getting that Motel Hell reunion off the ground. That poster has been sitting rolled up in a tube in my house for at least 18 months. Also in attendance would be Toby Radlof… Appearing with Wayne Alan Harold,  the man who directed him in such films as killer nerd, bride of killer nerd, and the recent documentary genuine nerd. You may also know Tony from his role in American splendor, he’s one of Harvey Pekar‘s contemporaries as well as managing to parlay that into becoming an MTV personality. Still, he’s a Cleveland denizen, all these years and his cadence and Tanner is unmistakable. Filmmaker JR book water is working on a remaster of the killer nerd movies, and had put together a artwork for a new poster that Tony was giving out over the course of the weekend. He and the Director we’re both signing for free, which I hate to take too much advantage of… But I was not walking out of there without a poster! I grabbed one of their DVDs as well, and it came up in conversation that I actually had the original VHS releases that trauma had distributed. They insisted on signing those as well! The directors a nice chatty guy and makes up for Tony who is very focused and less are going. He’s actually just about at retirement age, and is getting ready to jump ship before the administration changes. This wasn’t his first visit to wasteland But for whatever reason, I missed in the last time, and was really happy to get to meet him this time around.

Alex Vincent had ended up canceling on the show, he was stuck in Florida, hunker down against the hurricane. I got admit, I wasn’t terribly bothered… Of all the people who were coming to the show… He was the most main stream and probably the one I was least interested in! Then again, that’s kind of the whole thing about wasteland. Will you bring in this weird selection of really interesting guests that nobody else wants to post… And I am absolutely here for it. It’s one of those things that keeps me coming back here after year, even as the show begins to slow down and shrink a little. I can’t wait until I return in April!

 

 


Kazokukon 2022

Glass City Center, Toledo, OH Aug 26-28

 

“I’ll give them this, I at least admire the effort.“

I hate to say it, but Maddie’s right… I’ll give them props for trying, and the show wasn’t a complete waste of time, but if I had to use one word to describe this convention, it would be “disappointment“.

It was a rush for us actually, I literally hadn’t heard of the show until about 5:30 Saturday night, when a post asking for help judging their costume contest came across my feed. Up until then, I’d seen no social media references, no posts, no idea that it existed. Nevertheless, while there wasn’t enough time to get out there Saturday, I figured Maddie and I could make the trip Sunday, so I ran upstairs, gave her a heads up, and we started pulling Isabella and Archduke Levouis for the next day. I couldn’t help but notice that the map they had on their Google doc seemed awfully small… Especially considering how large the venue was. Nevertheless, the photos looked reasonably active, and it was only an hour and a half to Toledo, so we would just hope and that it felt bigger in person.

The day started off well enough, I managed to hit a Toledo Burger King on the way there to use the breakfast coupon I’ve gotten at fantasticon.  It was only good in Toledo, and I was delighted to actually get back into town to use it. We found parking on the city street, a mere half block away. We got ready and walked over to the building. We found one sign that said “event entrance”… But when we went into those doors, we saw a shockingly empty building. It was empty enough to make us wonder if we were in the right place or if things were still going on. We turned left, walked around to look, and couldn’t find anybody. We ended up outside and a gentleman in the parking garage directed us to the correct floor. The elevator deposited us right where we had started, and so this time we went right. We were able to find the entrance to the show that way, that we did have to ask one more time while we were in the building.

We apprehensively walked to the admission table, a plain table with no adornment, set against a black background. A guy dressed in a schoolgirl costume looked up at us, apparently annoyed that we were taking him away from his phone.

“Did you pre-register?“ “I replied no and he gruffly cut me off.

“ $20. CASH.”

Fortunately, that’s how I planned to pay anyhow, and Maddie handed him over a $50 bill while he distractedly rummaged around for her change.

There were no signs there leading around, although the very basic blocky map was available. We wandered into the first enclosure that we found, only to be pitched a professional photo op. Not what we’re looking for. We wandered a little further down and noted board games and video games in one section, and finally reached the other end of the convention space where there was a panel just about to get started. Around the corner was the oddly spaced dealers room, a small section comparatively but packed with an interesting variety of dealers. Nevertheless, the whole time, we couldn’t help but notice how empty everything was. Indeed, even in the dealers room, there were multiple tables that were bare, looking like they had hoped for more vendors than had shown up.

Things were a little easier once we got to lay of the land, but this is a small show, with not a lot going on Sunday. We sat and listened to most of the panel with ninja Dan, and managed to make it back for anime idol, I sort of singing and dancing competition. Another event though that was really poorly planned out… With large gaps between the performances. The moderator actually had to jump up and sing some of his own songs to pad the time and it really came off as clunky.

Not all was bad here. While the vendors room wasn’t huge, it did feature a really interesting and diverse selection of dealers. Maddie grabbed a really nice little charm from demon slayer, as well as a grab bag of stickers and prints and stuff. I made my way over to one of the booths to grab a stack of comics… Those are having a hard time going through the long boxes. The things were packed quite tightly, and I like dexterity and gloves. Nevertheless, I found a few Star Trek that I’ve never seen before along with some other fun stuff I’d been meaning to dip my toe in. These boxes in particular were set up as dollar boxes, but a note on the sign revealed they were actually dollar… or less boxes. Plenty of issues inside were $.75 or $.50, and that was actually a nice pleasant surprise. I got a pair of pretty chopsticks from my other daughter, and splurged on a beautiful dragon themed dagger for myself. That’s the thing about going to a convention… If the show starts this is disappoint you, it’s still up to you

I have the end of the day, I think they bit off more than they could chew. They tried to throw a huge anime show but weren’t prepared adequately for the logistics. There’s not nearly enough programming or events or even guests to justify their entry fee. I can understand why it Has to be that expensive, the venue isn’t cheap. But this is the sort of show that really should’ve been started off smaller, out of the HW Hall or a college gym. They could’ve filled that up just fine. It also needed some more promotion, and perhaps should’ve taken baby steps in growing itself. This is the sort of show that really would’ve benefited from joining forces with a local anime club or something like that. On its own, there weren’t enough volunteers to help guide and run events, and the entire flow of the layout is wonky and confusing. And they need better signage and more logic to how things are displayed. If I had any advice, it would be cut your ticket price in half (and reduce it even further for Sundays, when you’re n

Perhaps I’m wrong. Perhaps it was a wildly successful show and I just didn’t notice… Perhaps I was just there at the wrong time. I’ll give you that, Saturday would’ve been a much better day to go. If I’d known about it, that’s what I would’ve attended. But nevertheless, I’m seeing a lot of rough edges here… And perhaps it’s just because it’s their first year. I’m going to cut them some slack for that, but honestly… Unless I hear about some significant changes, I doubt we’ll be back next year.

 

 

 


Geekfest 2022

Look, I’m as surprised as anyone. I was certain that geek fast was dead. I mean, the plague killed bigger and more powerful conventions than them… And they already missed a year here and there even without those complications. It’s a difficult event for the library to mount, a lot of variables a lot of planning. I really wouldn’t have blamed them for just deciding to sit this one out.

I’ve actually only heard that they were coming back about three weeks ago. Definitely not much more than two weeks before the event itself, and it was so close to Neo Comicon  that I wasn’t sure if we really had it in us to do two back to back shows. Still, it’s a show I like, being one of those more programming driven events. Maddie hadn’t been out to this thing since all the way back in 2016, and she found herself really looking forward to it, another chance to bring out her my hero academia costume and connect with other people. So, Saturday morning, we loaded up the car and headed out.

I was taking a chance bringing out my Borg costume for this one… Star Trek is passé these days, and Star Wars is real the real attention is at. Still, I was pleased to discover I wasn’t the only person and track garb there. This event draws a lot of boomers and Xers, with children that they’ve raised on Star Trek. I was surprised at how often I was recognized, not only by adults, but by teenagers! Around the corner at one point and one of the vendors piped up “now there is the scariest summer of my life!“. He was of course referring to the Star Trek next generation cliffhanger “the best of both worlds“. I nodded. “It’s funny, but of all the two-parter is they did after that, they never quite managed to get you to those same stakes.“ The vendor agreed. “During that third season,“ he told me. “They’ve gotten into the habit of always resolving everything within the last five minutes… But we got closer and closer to the end of this episode, 10 minutes, five minutes, three minutes, and I found myself wondering how tehy were going to wrap this up. I spent all summer nervous and wondering what was going to happen when the show came back.“. I remember that summer too. I mentioned to him that I was certain that Captain Picard wasn’t coming back to the show, that he’d be taken off with these bad guys, and that Patrick Stewart would basically go off and go back to Shakespeare while Commander Riker would take command of the enterprise for the remainder of the series pack. It was fun chatting with somebody about this and reminiscing about the days when Star Trek was genuinely good and had such cultural relevance.  As I wandered around, I made sure to menace the other people in Star Trek costumes, and was surprised to how many there were… In fact, I wasn’t even the only one carrying around a triple! There was a great looking doctor crusher with a triple in her jacket pocket. It seem to be behaving better than mine, considering I couldn’t get mine to sit on my shoulder the way it’s supposed to. I managed to get it attached just before pre-judging for the costume contest and about 20 minutes before I had to walk on stage for the main competition. That’s really my main goal, to have him ride out on my shoulder so that I can remove him and display him to the audience. I’ve gotta remember to use a better magnet the next time though.

That pre-judging was a problem. One of the main events that Maddie and I were looking forward to was a screening of Howls moving castle. The Akron Summit public library has a massive auditorium with a large screen… Just about movie size, so they get to see this on the big screen is a real treat. However, the movie was screening from Eleven to One, and pre-judging was at noon! It didn’t help that Maddie and I were a little late getting in as well, so we probably missed about 20% of the movie, but we did get to watch was every bit as good as we remember, and incredibly fun to watch on a proper screen with a good sound system.

Costumes were in abundance, despite the fact that the costume contests itself was a little lightly populated. Queen Anna Boleyn shuffled through the doors as I was making my way out for a swag dump, she waved a wand at me to vanish the evil machinery! She would occasionally come up to me throughout the convention with a screwdriver adjusting my mechanics. Another running joke was the way that R2 D2 seem to keep running into me. The R2-D2 builders club had a table downstairs with the 501st Legion, creating of nice Star Wars presence there. But occasionally the droid would roll his way upstairs and mingle with the rest of the people. It would see me and Emmett allowed high pitch scream, as I’d come over and scan it and examine it for the edification of the crowd. At times I almost felt like a little droid was following me!

I’ll say this, not only did Geekfest return, they veritably exploded. It’s bigger than I’ve ever seen it before, with them really pulling out all the stops. I remember the days when this show was basically maybe a half dozen tables up by the auditorium, mostly library personnel making buttons and playing games with the kids, one panel room and maybe some improv going on in the main auditorium. This time around they utilized all four floors. Star Wars characters on the ground floor along with a cosplay repair station… I can’t even tell you how amazing that was! When fingers started popping off my glove, I was grateful to be able to use their hot glue gun to put myself back together. Also video game rooms downstairs with retro video games and custom ones made by one of the guests. Another floor had board games… Some of them giant size. A couple tables in the middle were reserved for first timers playing dungeons and dragons. Another floor gave you a chance to explore strange history, along with a table of comics to give away. The vendors and artists were spread out as well. Instead of a handful of tables… A group of vendors that are slowly growing more and more numerous over the years, you could now find artists and vendors scattered throughout the library. There are tables around the length of the entrance, and then spread down below the atrium, and then even more nestled in between the bookshelves and rose and valleys of the library. It’s a fascinating set up, and the library actually went out of its way to draw attention to them by issuing kids a “passport“ where they can get stickers from each booth… Trying to collect them all, and thereby visit all of the guests. This is all in addition to the art show that was going on on the ground floor, one that you could vote  in for People’s choice award… And constant panels and games going on in the two conference rooms in the atrium. Indeed, the overlap was so great, that we always seem to be running from event to event, particularly towards the end when we were coming out for the costume contest lineup. Maddie was none too pleased to have to leave her panel to get in line. “They were going to give away BOOKS at the end!” She lamented.

Still, despite all the challenges, as we drove home, Maddie and I agreed this may just have been the best convention we went to this year. Being so program driven just makes for a far more entertaining experience, and is exactly the sort of thing that will keep Maddie (who’s convention attention span is usually about 2 to 3 hours) completely occupied for over five hours. It’s also a great place to make new friends, something that kiddo is discovering and taking full advantage of.

Here’s the thing, the festival bills itself as a mini comicon? I don’t think so. There’s things I’m much fuller convention experience than a lot of the ones that we pay much more money to get into. It’s also become one of our favorites, and will be back next year.

 


NEO Comicon 2022

It’s summertime, and con season is in full swing. The end of July is always reserved for NEO ComiCon… Also known as “the closest comic convention to my house”. We usually go to the early service at church on these weeks and then hit this show afterwards, they’ll open the doors at 10, and we’ll be able to get there before 11 that way… Literally 10 minutes down the street.

NEO ComiCon was of course one of those that had to close due to the plague, but they came back last year… Sort of. Well we’re happy to see the show back, last year and this year included no programming. No panels, no costume contest, no talks at all really. And the comic creators that were present, they’re all local guys. No that’s not necessarily a bad thing, the Cleveland area has a lots of great local artists, some true elder statesman from DC like Tony Wsabella and Mike W Barr… but I’m missing the days where NEO was bringing in people like Phil Hester from the Green Hornet, or Tom Mandrake, the artist from Ostrander Spectre run… people that I’ve never gotten to meet before, and who would do a panel or two to describe their time in the industry. I missed the fight demonstrations that the stunt people would do… I miss all of this kind of stuff, because that’s what really makes a comic con for me. Right now, NEO ComiCon feels a lot like a gigantic Harper show… A huge flea market… But what a flea market!

Spanning the course of two soccer fields, NEO ComiCon is still a massive marketplace, and one that welcomes in cosplayers and fanboys of all types. My McMandalorian is not a competition level suits, so it seemed a perfect event to bring out… Especially since it hasn’t gotten that much floor time since I created it last year. Maddie on the other hand was bringing out her my hero character Todoroki again… Basically we were a carbon copy of the pair that we were for Mahoning Comic Con a few weeks ago.

There’s a much bigger and diverse crowd here. Maddie ran into a ton more people from my hero academia, and a lot more recognized her costume as well. For my part, I was content to just be looking silly, and hanging out with friends. My buddy Josh had brought out his Mandopool costume… There’s actually a full Deadpool mask on underneath that helmet. We compared our Baby Yodas and just had fun freaking out the people around us.

Speaking of freaking out, I’m always pleased to see how much horror these things draw… A girl in a Chucky outfit, a Pennywise floating down the aisle, Jason stocking the corners… All of this stuff is fun. It also speaks to just how varied a crowd NEO ComiCon draws.

It’s not to say that the day went off without a hitch. The shuttle bus from the convention center to the parking lot went MIA for a good half hour… It was bizarre. They were some hot tempers in the crowd as well, be reading the Neo representative who is coming out to keep us updated. To his credit, Ed handled it very well, and definitely didn’t deserve the abuse he was getting.

There is also a very strange moment… I was chatting up a young woman and talking about foamsmithing, admiring her armor and shield, while she asked questions about my clown shoes. Then, a sketchy gentleman dressed in black came up to us to pitch Akron comicon…

“I know you’re coming!“ He said to me “I’m sure I’ve seen you there before!“

I was polite and didn’t question it. But it was a strange pitch… And afterwords, Lady Red asked me “what do you make that guy?“ Unseen behind my helmet, ice smiled sadly with a small sigh. “Huckster.“. And proceeded to explain to her why I don’t go to Akron comicon anymore (A combination of them moving it out of Akron and into a strange converted grocery store that they have an interest in… To the way they stiffed the old owner on the payment when he sold them the convention, to the way they named checked a customer that they were having an argument with and name the new rule after him on a live stream… It was all in poor taste, and Akron just isn’t the same show anymore.)

Still, all in all good day, a little exhausting, but great fun. I hit Comic’s Are Go’s dollar bins pretty hard, and found a custom Lego booth selling minifigs for $3 (as opposed to the $5 booth on the other side of the con) which I plundered. (I still regret not grabbing more marvel zombies). We played plinko at the TV station’s table and Maddie won a backpack and I got a great poster with HandI’s comic heroes on it. I even found tons of cheap horror movies (again – I regret not going back to that quarter bin after I broke that $20 bill) and Maddie found stickers and some Hunger Games trading cards that just fascinated her! We took tons of fun pictures -not quite as many setups as I’ve been seeing at other shows, but  I got to say, that 501’s wanted booth – good stuff there.

I spoke to Sean, the founder of the show, and he assures me the costume contest will be back next year, I’m hoping that the panels and more programming will be back with it. The show needs that… It’s the sort of thing that made it the best successor to Akron comicon I could possibly have asked for. 

Scroll down for the link to Maddie‘s review, and dozens of photos past that.



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=usblATXW4Vs



 

 

 

 

 


Capital City Comic Con

It’s a little pet peeve of mine. I never got Rico Ross on my Wishmaster poster. I’m pretty sure I didn’t know he was even in the movie when I met him in Chicago all those years ago, but moreover, I probably didn’t even have the poster started that. Still, he plays such a fun character in it… The cop role really works for him. So it’s always buged me that his autograph is not on my poster. When I saw Capital City Comicon advertising him along with an Aliens reunion… I started to waiver. I mean, Lansing is a much tougher drive than Detroit. It’s over three hours and gas is still 4.50 or more. However, it was my birthday and I had a little extra cash… so I took the day off from work, and headed out Friday night.

I chose Friday night specifically because it’s a good deal cheaper than Saturday. And that kind of cost is what had me thinking I was rolling into one of those big souless mega cons, and I was really just on a mercenary mission to sneak in, get my autographs and sneak out. It be good to have Spunkmeyer on my Aliens poster, and I also had a stack of Hope comics with me. This is a sort of superhero title that my acquaintance Dirk Manning wrote. I see Dirk probably half a dozen times a year, but I’ve never met his collaborator, artist K Lynn Smith. I figured I’d grab her autographs on these books while the getting was good.

Lansing is a smaller town than I had expected. The convention center is plenty big, but the city itself is kind of small, like Akron… I didn’t have to drive too far to find free street parking. Still, the prospect of walking 2 1/2 blocks in unfamiliar territory was definitely enough to get me to leave my Shadow costume behind. Walking into the convention center, you get the impression that shows been around for a while. The whole operation is running smoothly, like a well oiled machine. A Big dealers room in the main hall, two tables set up, one for pre-registration and one for tickets at the door. I did notice however, down the other hall, just passed the restrooms, were two smaller conference rooms being used for panels. Capital City does set up a main stage in the main hall, a place for the celebrities to give their panels as well as events like the costume contests or the odd wedding. But these smaller conference rooms are also holding panels. Smaller stuff, exploring fandom, or writers workshops. That’s exactly the sort of panel that you expect to see at a smaller show… Exactly the sort of thing I love. I was both surprised and pleased to see it here, because It’s also usually the first thing that gets dropped when the convention grows.

One thing that hasn’t dropped though, is the autograph prices. In fact it’s going up. You’re gonna see me doing fewer and fewer autographs these days, mostly just filling holes in my collection like I was on this trip. They’re charging too much for D-List celebrities (Supporting players who were never leads) who are signing their name and then personalizing it to you… that isn’t a collectible, but they’re certainly charging collectible prices, and it makes me feel bad paying it. Still, it was nice to catch up with Rico and chat a little bit about his time on Doctor Who. Ms. Smith was delightful as well, choosing different colored markers design different colored covers… I pulled out the comics and she grinned holding up her markers in the light. “I’m ready!“ It was a fun encounter.

One of the things that really struck me at this convention where the number of environments set up for photo ops. The Mandalorian crew had brought up a whole Star Wars set, and a local maker had set up a monsters Inc. environment. The lost in space robot was out here as well, and so we’re several celebrity cars… Parked on the far side of the main hall. I mystery machine, a weird Gothic Hot rod, and my delight, the car from knight rider. I grabbed a random passerby and finally fulfilled a lifelong dream of getting a photo with K.I.T.T. Literally, I had this car right after college, but it was white… And even today the Imid heads up display in my car features the K.I.T.T. interface. This was an absolute delight for me. Also nice that the cars were set up simply as exhibits… No charge, no donation, just come and see them. I really didn’t complain too much dropping a five dollar bill to see the DeLorean from back to the future last month at Fanboy Expo Columbus, and I was OK paying a similar amount to sit in the back to one way back in 2014 when they featured it at Horrorhound Cincinnati… But I gotta admit, I’m much more appreciative when they just have the cars out for you to ogle and photograph. Speaking as the owner a Batmobile, that’s what I do. I’ve never charged anybody for a photo with my Bat car!

The extra photo op areas does seem to be a trend that I’m seeing more and more of, and I really dig it. There was also an FX artist on the other side of the room featuring gigantic towering replicas of Groot and the Demogorgon from stranger things. All of these environments actually made me kind of glad I wasn’t wearing a costume! It all really adds value to the convention… And I have to say, Capital city really went out of his way to do just that. There’s a lot more heart here than I expected, and a lot more to explore and do. This one’s actually a big recommend to anybody in the area, and quite frankly, let’s just see what gas does next year. Because if I can swing it, I think I might just be back to do a full day there next time.

 

 


Mahoning Valley Comicon