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.
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.
Ever have one of those shows where everything seems to be going wrong? We ended up having to adjust Maddie‘s costume for Fanboy Expo in the morning we were trying to leave, and quite frankly, I was still in last-minute con crunch as well trying to do upgrades for an idealized Star Lord. Paint was still drying on the new boot jets and gun as we pulled out of the driveway a full 40 minutes late. There was no way I was getting my photo op… I’d have to just hope for table selfies. That’s generally fine, I tend to look at photo ops and really a lot of that kind of stuff as just straight up price gouging, and the gouging is certainly still on at most conventions with celebrities. We got to the show, and immediately one of the pouches popped off my Star Lord belt. Over the course of the show Maddie managed to break both feet in her Appa costume, and I managed to lose a boot jet. Like I said, it feels like everything was working against us.
Sometimes that’s also the sign that there’s something really good in the store. Maddie had been looking forward to fanboy expo for a while, because of several actresses from Avatar the last Airbender attending. It was her intention to finally bring out her flying bison and ride it through a big convention. We got in, only to discover that most of Maddie’s targets were out to lunch. She did grab Cricket Leigh, who just squealed include over her costume and the bison she was riding, and while we waited, we made our way over to Erik Estrada.
Fanboy expo was doing a whole Chips reunion… Not my thing. Actually kind of a weird show to be doing a reunion for. Then again, the whole guest list here seems strange and haphazard. Cartoons, Battlestar Galactica, Friday the 13th, Chips, just a weird mishmash of things – more like what I’d expect to find at a strictly autograph show like Chiller. In any event, I was coming to see Estrada for a different reason. I came over and pulled out an 8 x 10 poster from the Cross and the Switchblade. It’s an old movie from 1970 about a minister who goes into the inner city to try and preach the gospel to the gangs. Pat Boone had signed this for me over a decade ago, and it’s been waiting for a strata all this time. I laid it on his table and his eyes just widened.
“Wow… Oh… Just, wow.“
He picked it up, shook his head as if he wasn’t sure it was real. He pointed to the various images on the collage and noticed the scrawl on the right
“You got Pat!” He breathed in appreciation. I nodded.
I sent him a letter, he signed it through the mail for me.“
“Pat was such a great guy, wow…
…You know, this was my first movie.“
He moved his hand over to the left of the poster which shows a painting of him as gang leader Nicky Cruz holding a knife to Pat Boone’s David Wilkerson.
“See when I was auditioning for this, there were four callbacks, and Pat Boone would be there for the fourth one. It was all improvisation. Thing is, I was up against this one guy who’s already been a leading man in the movie, he was looking at a TV series and I was just 18. This would be my first movie. I knew I had to do something to stand out… I knew I had to do something to distinguish myself. So I went down to 42nd St. and I got myself a switchblade. I tucked it in my back pocket, and nobody knew. So when it came to the day, we’ve got that scene and Pat is pounding on the door yelling ‘Nicky, I got something to tell you!’ And I come over there grumbling and swearing and mad and I open the door and Pat takes a step in and says ‘Nicky, I got something to tell you; Jesus loves you.’ and I grabbed him by The shirt,“ Estrada leaned over the table and reached out his hand as if to grab me. “And I whipped out the switchblade. Right between my face and his. And all the way from the back of the stage I could hear the Director from all the way in the back of the room yelling ‘NOOOOOO!’!”
He talked a bit more about the movie, and took photos with me.
“You know, there’s not many of these out there signed,” he mentioned.
“Sometimes people will bring me the book to sign or something like that, but in all the time I’ve been doing this this might be only the second poster I’ve ever seen.“ He shook my hand and asked me to wait for a second while he took the picture over to show his friends at the other Chips table. One of my fafavorite things when I meet actors is to try and bring something they might not have seen before. This was one of the best.
Across the large space, Maddie was getting stopped frequently for photos. Her Appa was a big hit and for a change, I was there just to be her handler. It’s one of the reasons why I chose Star Lord. It’s an easy enough costume that looks pretty good, and besides, one of the other goals for me that day was going to be Star Lord and Starbuck. I would end up getting my photo with Dirk Benedict a little later, but even more fun was finding a really good Starbuck cosplayer and doing a sort of mirror image with him. Both of us holding our helmet, both of us reaching out our guns.
Still, Maddie was the star of the show. We walked by Adessa‘s table. Adessa is the voice of Delores, one of the characters from Encanto. In fact, this is Maddie‘s favorite character. She was debating on whether not to go over and meet her… Also debating on whether or not she had enough cash with her. A really sad reality of modern conventions. But as we walked by, Odessa spotted Maddie and was so taken by the costume, that she ran out from behind her table to come over and meet her and talk with her. I stepped back and snapped a candid photo. Maddie was delighted.
Finally it was time for her to meet the other people from Avatar. Olivia Hack and Jennie Kwan had returned from lunch so we traveled over there. They saw us coming. Even while Maddie was over at Jenny’s table, you could see Olivia just eyeing the costume and pointing. They all wanted photos with her. All of a sudden I found myself standing back with several phones from actresses I didn’t know as they all scrunched together to take photos with Maddie on her flying bison. Maddie was out of her mind with delight.
I really enjoy when shows have photo areas set up. Environments and stuff. The 501st Legion was there, and had set up a really amazing environment that I dropped Star Lord into. The commission had also brought in the DeLorean from Back to the Future, and this was one of those moments where I felt like I really wanted to take the opportunity. Maddie found several other people dressed as characters from avatar… Even a few people in Appa onesies. It was great fun taking photos with all these people as well. We noticed the day with stretching on, and while Maddie usually doesn’t make it more than A few hours at a convention… Today she was still going strong and in that enormous costume. I pointed out that the costume contest was actually coming up in 45 minuets or so. Maddie had been on the fence as to whether not she really wanted to do it this time around. She likes doing costume contests, but it is a long process and the costume was starting to get hot and tiring. Still, since it was coming right up, we headed over.
As it came time for the judging, the judge brought out the judges choice award.
“There was this one costume that walked up to her table that I was just so taken with… particularly the nontraditional materials used to create it.“ As I sat in the audience, my job began to drop because I realize exactly who he was talking about. Backstage as the judge continued to describe strollers from the dumpster and old couch cushions and empty pop bottles… Each head slowly turned towards Maddie. I’m not sure if she or I were the more excited one when her name was announced. It was a good day.
This was fanboy expos first time in Columbus. It feels like an established con that’s looking for new markets, but I’m not sure how successful this was. On a Saturday, the convention hall should not be this empty. Attendance was really sparse and a number the vendors mentioned it to me. It didn’t help that there was an anime convention going on in Northeast Ohio, or a furry event going on nearby. Some of the vendors also suggested that the convention hadn’t advertised enough. I can’t speak to that… I noticed it on Facebook a few months prior, I think very possibly because of one of my friends mentioning it. Either way, I hope that they do come back. Maddie really wants to return, but with all the numbers like that you never know. We’ll keep an eye out for next year.
Maddie’s convention Vlog below, and then, photos!
Maddie and I were so excited to get back to Hazard Con. We only just discovered it before the plague, and that totally shut down our return visit. In our one trip out though, the show it made a big impression with good panels, interesting guests, a beautiful arcade, and a tiny but surprisingly diverse and effective dealers room. We liked Hazard Con. Maddie and I were already to go with our Promised Neverland costumes, breaking both of these out for the very first time. Maddie was dressed as Isabella, the mother figure from the series, and I had crafted a demon that only appears in the Mangas, Arch Duke Leuvis.
As we pulled into the parking lot, I noticed things seemed a bit empty. It was enough for us to almost wonder if it was the right day. I double checked the website and we were definitely in the right place at the right time. Our fears were abated when I saw a couple of other anime kids pull in, jump out of the cars and start to prep their costumes. I handed Maddie the admission money because I have Tentacles rather than hands in that costume, and in we went.
Then they stopped Maddie at the registration table and informed her she would be required wear a mask.
I’ve got a bone to pick here. Because I’ve been watching to see what the rules were. No where on Hazard Con’s website is there any mention of a mask requirement. Nor is there one anywhere on the hotels site. I double checked Pennsylvania’s website. As far as I could see, there was no mandate for masks in all enclosed spaces, though there’s some government offices were still requiring them themselves. I never found an announcement until well after the convention, after searching for a Facebook account that I didn’t know existed, and digging through past posts. This isn’t really an argument or discussion about whether or not it’s necessary or helpful to mask somebody who has been fully vaccinated and has already had Covid (in that order btw). My beef is that we didn’t know going in and that it wasn’t made clear enough in enough ways. Being on the border, Hazard Con must surely know they’re getting attendees from out of state. Every anime convention I know of does. Ohio’s laws and rules aren’t always the same as PA and that gives them a responsibility to do better.
Then something happened. Maddie impressed me. She decided that she was going to try and have a good day anyhow. Her wig kept slipping, and giving her problems. So she decided to ditch it and just be an original character… (The photo with K-9 in fact, gives me serious Romana vibes.)… perhaps some kind of character that would justify the mask… In fact, we went back to the car, ditched the one that the con had given us in favor of a sleaker black one. We found the arcade and got her on the drum game and her spirits began to lift. We stumbled upon the Guilty Pleasure panel and blew her mind with some new finds. She snatched the volume of Assassination Classroom I had just purchased and started to flip through it, and by the time we hit the Japanese art panel she was having the time of her life again.
I discovered that the mask I was wearing needs some work. I need to create some extra space for my nose, because it was getting smashed down and by the time we were about 2/3 and I couldn’t stand it any longer. Now the fun thing is, Archduke Leuvis is really just a repurpose of my Shadow costume… It’s got extra belts and accessories, but the red neck gaiter was still in the pocket along with my ring. So I detached the mask from the hat, pulled up the red scarf and removed the belts, heading back into the convention.
“A mysterious stranger has entered the room!“ One of the anime girls said in a video game voice as she spied me. This was fun. But I was astonished when I headed over to the game room to find Maddie. No sooner had I entered the arcade then I saw the Riddler walking towards me with a quizzical look on his face.
Because the lower half of my face was covered, he probably couldn’t see my jaw drop. I don’t know what was more surprising, getting recognized in this costume or getting recognized as the demon from the Promised Neverland.
I ducked out of the art panel a little bit early. Despite being fascinating (I got Maddie to catch me up later) It was also scheduled in the middle of signing hours for Barry Yandell. Barry is a personal guy, and happy to chat a bit. Of course, I don’t know most of what he’s done. I probably should watch Black Butler at some point, but I’ve definitely never gotten there. Still, he was participating in Sunday sales with a lot of the other vendors, so even autographs were marked down! I got a nice 5 x 8 with a bunch of his characters displayed signed for $10. Those of you who know me, no I’ve been complaining about autograph prices going crazy for the last two years. I love something like this.
Maddie grabbed a blind box and some pins, I found a few buttons I wanted myself as well, along with a nice glittery skull pen. But the real thing I was there for was Japanese candy and chips and all the curious kind of things you just can’t buy in the US. I love seeing these kind of vendors, and I loaded up. It almost makes me wish I’ve been in a Koro Sensei costume instead. We played more games, as including a claw game that was set up by one of the booths and went over some of the more fascinating wears. Vintage video games, anime music, dolls and keychains and plushies. We went through all the dig bins, and grabbed stuff out of the secondary dealers room… This year’s anime flea market. With the flea market you’ve got to be ready to buy immediately. Seriously, stuff flies out of there quick, and tables increasingly vanish as the day goes on. They’re scheduled all the way until 3:30 or so, but honestly, if you get there around 1:30 or 2, pretty much everything is gone. I was still able to score some cheap mangas, but am still kicking myself for missing that Supergirl trade that just slipped through my fingers while I was checking out another booth!
Hazard Con was not the day we expected. The price, even for just Sunday has increased by 25%. The content however, seems to have decreased. Fewer panels and no anime screenings which I find REALLY weird. One of the entire reasons you go to a con is for screenings – a good way to test out anime you’ve never seen before and share the experience with others. But we had a good day nevertheless. It’s another one of those where it’s just the right size that I wish it was closer to home, although to be fair, two hours is not a terribly arduous journey. We’ll keep our eye on them next year, and perhaps ask more questions going in. There’s still a distinct possibility that we’ll be back.
I looked over the film schedule and guests attending, and it’s only one person coming in that I need an autograph from. Between that and the astronomical price of gasoline currently, I’m probably only going on Saturday. It will however, Be my chance to finally break out my blade costume. I doubt I’ll be in it all day, but I’ll definitely be creeping around as one of them puppet masters minions for a while.
“It’s snowing again?“
Eventually the passages open up into a couple of larger rooms where a variety of cosplay guests were settled. The 501st Legion across from the federation group… And then rubber city comics play along with heroes alliance set up in the next room. A paranormal group was there as well, with devices and exhibit set up. Seems to be like it would’ve been nicer to have them set up closer to the Ghostbusters – those guys were shuffled off into a side room that I didn’t even see on my first pass through.
Upstairs on the second floor, they had food vendors… Candy and cookies and popcorn opposite movie room that was showing classic cartoons. I have expected to see Fleischer superman in there, how much to my surprise they’re running Dennis the Menace. Weird. Third floor was reserved for superhero training, an activity that would occur once every hour or half or so. You go up there and make a mask and go through some fun superhero moves.
Mr. Freeze wasn’t actually in the Squad, but he could be – Captain Cold did at least one mission and it’s the only way I could justify this really strange line-up!
I pulled out my Mr. Freeze outfit and did some minor repairs, then realized I couldn’t find my freeze gun. A whole new freeze gun became a part of these upgrades!
Over the last couple years, Maddie has been getting more into cons and cosplay, developing her own set of costumes and characters. It’s about time I started showcasing her more as part of Argo City Cosplay!
This one was a quickie, but a nice one- a Gelfling to accompany my Skeksis! (The Fizzgig was a must)
Out of nowhere, Maddie asked me to redo her Iron Sapphire armor! I’ve always been leased with it, but we had to completely remake the midplate expand the legs because she’s grown so much since the last time she wore it!
Let me just say, Carol Baskin and the Tiger King were definitely the peak of our day.
I’ve been going to the zombie walk in Lakewood for ages now. Ryan got up and announced that it was the 14th one, seven years… But I’ve got photos that prove it’s been going on longer, just under a different name and management. Nevertheless, the thing I noticed this year, was a lot more children. October is always a little bit light, because the hunters already have gigs that they are committed to. We usually see more in April, but both Madeline and I commented to each other on just how many kids were running around, playing, bonking people in the head with plushy bats, and playing catch with the odd grenade. It’s a glorious time, and nice to catch up with friends like Ryan and Rhonda.
Madeline got to break out her Clementine for the third time this year, and she was thrilled. There weren’t a lot of survivors this year, so she was delighted to be one of the few humans participating in the walk. I decided to go half-hearted, and bust out my Starro mask on top of a Gotham city police detective outfit – I got the badge for my birthday! Nice subtle way to celebrate Batman day at the same time.
I do still enjoy these events, and I’m far more curious to see what April brings. Attendance has been dwindling over the years, but with a good 70 people are still in attendance this time around it’s still gives me hope. We love being able to serve the community this way, and all donations go to the greater Cleveland Food Bank. Will be back at the bar in April, and you should totally come out and join us!
I redo my Freddy from time to time – Latex doesn’t last that long. one of my favorite elements to this version was the chest of souls exposed!
Star Lord from Guardians of the Galaxy has become one of my go-to costumes for comfortable cosplay. Simple stuff, muscle pants, t-shirt and the jacket with baby Groot on my shoulder. (Rocket Racoon puppet optional)
We hit Neo comicon lite just as soon as the doors opened this weekend. We had another appointment on the east side of Cleveland so we were going to be very limited in our time here and knew we’d have to be judicious in our browsing. Still, in the two hours we were there, I can’t see me or Maddie having lasted much longer than that. It’s a small show this year. No programming, no costume contest, no out of town guests. We’re easing back into conventions. Still, it was nice to see old faces and the new acquaintances. One of my buddies from Heroes United ran up to me shook my hand while another just flat out embraced me. He mentioned that he forgot to bring my Flash box set that Chris has… I was confused.
“Wait, I loaned that to Rocky!”
“Yes,” he replied and “Rocky loaded to Chris. And then Chris passed it on to me since I do more Heroes United events than he does these days! But I totally forgot today…”
I love this stuff, it’s nice to be back on the convention circuit.
I caught up with Josh and Steph and Jennifer as well, who I just seen the previous night at our birthday parties… (We did all the July birthdays together at a new restaurant in Cleveland). I haven’t seen Jen in costume in a long time, and that’s kind of cool. Josh on the other hand has pushed Deadpool to a new ridiculous level. He’s got a Deadpool version of the Mandalorian, complete with a baby carrier for the child… Except the child is Detective Pikachu. Also for no reason, there’s an alligator Loki involved in this costume. It’s glorious.
Remember when I said there were no Quarter comic bins? I’m not lying. There were only dollar bins. Sure, I dug through some of the dollar bins and found a few interesting bits and pieces, but what I really hit hard, were the toys. We found about half a dozen long boxes filled with hero clix, a quarter each or five for a dollar. I dropped five dollars. That doesn’t sound like much, but it sure does look like a whole ton when you have an arm load. Some were OP prizes or FCBD specials that nobody actually carries, as well as dozens of characters that we really like and wanted to play with. I got a new penguin and I got a rocket raccoon, I even got a gladiator hulk! Superman and wonder woman and Batman, or the one I thought was a USAgent that was actually the captain… Steve Rogers while he was in exile. Great figures, and it almost makes me wanna play again!
But the single purchase that I was the most excited for…..
I actually just bought a couple of comics from this vendor, then went around the corner and spied a small box of twenty five cent toys. When I looked in, there were tons of old Star Trek micromachines. I love the Star Trek micromachine series. I grew up reading ads for the FASA wargame miniatures, and these things one for $10 for each ship in the 80s. When this series of Micro Machine starships came out, these were five dollars for three of them. I bought most of them when they ere first on sale about twenty five years ago. In the bin I saw a deep space nine that I immediately grabbed, because The one that I bought years ago, had actually lost a pylon. Snapped right off. Replacing it for a quarter was a treat. a new borg ship, a Klingon D7, and then I looked down and I saw it. It was a saucer. I almost thought it was Miranda class… Maybe the reliant itself but it was completely round, and the lines were sharper… And I saw the registry. NCC-1701-A. My jaw dropped and I frantically dug through the rest of the bin. The saucer section, the primary hull, had broken off of this figure… I dug desprately. Finally, in the corner of the box I found the secondary hall, the body of the ship with the engines…
I see the look on your face. I realize you don’t understand.
I came into Star Trek during the movie era. Not necessarily the wilderness period, but definitely before Star Trek the next generation. For me, Star Trek is the DC comics written by Peter David and Mike W Barr. It’s the maroon wrap around tunics, and the white starship with the blue dish on the front. It’s my single favorite ship in all of Star Trek. But micro machines, in their infinite wisdom, only ever released this ship as part of a large set that I could not afford at the time. Besides, that set had every ship that I’ve already bought in it…
I have always wanted this starship and I don’t care if this one’s broken, I have superglue at home. And at $.25 been this was the single most exciting discovery I had all day. Serious biz, I can’t even tell you how happy this find made me.
So amused that I still hit 25 cent bins as hard as ever, but today it was all about toys, rather than comics. Nevertheless. I came home with some new reading material, a lot of toys to play hero clicks with my kids, and some really fun memories of what is generally the best comic convention in the area. I’m hoping they’re back to full speed next year.
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!