Seriously, I should have snagged a clue when I passed the billboard for Indiana Comicon on my way to Days of the Dead, but honestly, even with the attendance of Carrie Fisher, they really didn’t have a lot of media guests… it wasn’t going to be THAT big of a con was it? I was beginning to have misgivings, but still, I grabbed my Shadow costume and hit the road.
Indiana is possibly the biggest convention I’ve attended. easily as big as Wizard World Cleveland was. Big cons arn’t my thing. I don’t dig standing in lines all day, fighting the crowds. I want to be able to interact with the guests and hang out at the panels. The bigger the con is the less of that I get to do and this thing was HUGE.
It’s their second year and it shows. They haven’t quite gotten the hang of scheduling or crowd control. Last year people were unable to get in, refunded admission after standing in line for hours. This year those problems were solved, but they crept up again inside with the guests. There were a lot of upset attendees who stood in line for Carrie Fisher for up to 4 hours only to be turned away. It wasn’t just with her either though. Paige O’Hare (Belle from Beauty and the Beast) had her line closed three times while I was there. It would open for an hour or so (less than an hour that last time 4:30 and closed around 5:15) and shut down again for a photo op or panel. I didn’t make it up to see her and my girls were disappointed.
Still, truth be told, I wasn’t there for the media guests. I was there for the comic guests – and this is to Indiana’s GREAT credit. They are VERY focused on comics, and brought in some amazing guests.
Whilce Portacello mentioned that working on the Punisher was great training for young artist.
“I had to do so much research on the guns, I had to get everything right all the lines all the look.”.
I always love the way that Whilce created speed and action, and he told me “You’ve got to do that sometimes.” he pointed to a particular punisher cover. “Look at this, it’s an old cannon. It’s boring! You got to do something to make that look cool!”
One of the other things I love about his era, is this is when we got away from the cylinders as teeth on the Punisher’s skull.
“That was Mike Baron. We started out with the Cylenders, but he wanted to take it back to the early look. It dosen’t make sense anyhow! Why Cylinders? They don’t bend!”
I also talked to Mike Grell about Green Arrow : The Longbow Hunters asking how this came about it he come do do this. Did they come to him?
“They asked me if there was any one DC character I’d like to take and revamp and relaunch who would it be? My first thought was Batman, But at that time Frank Miller had just done Batman and I had a feeling that his version with stick for the next 20 years, and I was right!” he said, referring to the changes in the new 52.
“I always loved Green Arrow and they suggested what about Green Arrow as a hunter – well this was perfect for me!”
I mentioned to Grell that I thought Jon Sable was the one of the most interesting character in comics. I really do believe this. He smiled and shook my hand, saying “I’d really like to get back to this character some day. I think there are a few more stories in him.”
I had questions for Mark Wade about Kingdom Come, curious if all that background imaging we see throughout the graphic novel was all Alex Ross
“All that background noise was all Alex.” he said. Waid is currently writing the Green Hornet and loving it. Dynamite is just a great home for these characters and he asked if I was reading the new Avenger series as well. I haven’t picked it up yet although I very much enjoy Justice Inc.
I question Mike Zeck on his covers for 10 nights the beast which I love, but why does the beast look so different on his covers and he did on the inside?
“I didn’t really study the inside of these issues” Zeck replied and it appears to have been an access issue although he did create a stunning painted cover which is more in line with the character design for the trade paperback which I love.
I got a moment with Jae Lee to gush about how much I loved his Masks covers, and we discussed the Dark Tower a bit (I’m working on the novels right now, and was listening to an audiobook on the way down to the show) and his work on the comic prequels.
Art Thibert was up next and I’m a big fan of Art’s. Particularly when he inks Dan Jergens. There is this era of superman right after Jerry Ordway leaves and we are really missing his art. Dan Jergens is adequate. He’s more than up to the task but there’s just something about the Thibert over Jurgans that’s got this kinetic look.
“A lot of what I was doing were actually finishes not just inks. All that hatching and speed lines. though it might be credited as inks, Dan was doing a lot of layouts and leaveing thefinishes for us.”
Bob McCloud is unassuming, quiet and friendly. His career spans decades he’s done just about everything he’s inked everybody. “I’ve been very lucky” he said.
Denny O’Neill has fond memories of the shadow, especially of Anthony Tollin who was his go-to guy for preparation.
“Any time I had any questions he said I can immediately go and call Tollin. There is a guy who has lived his life exactly the way that he wanted to.”
We discussed both Tollin and Walter Gibson’s love of magic. I’m a magician as well, and I can see how that is part of the appeal.
“Gibson was a lazy writer. He would stop typing after his fingers started to bleed!” O’Niel joked, referring to Gibsons prolific output.
He loved my Shadow costume. So did Allen Bellman
“I though the Reaper had come for me!” he exclaimed as I came up to his table. One of the things I love about cosplaying the Shadow, is it’s a simple costume – and I can get out of it and look reasonably normal for photos with guests, but slip that scarf right back up and get into character in seconds. It’s also unique. I see dozens of Deadpools, hordes of Harley Quinns, but no one else is dressed like the Shadow, and it’s one of those characters – when people recognize who you are it makes them incredibly happy.
One last note, I’ve really got to hand it to the little girl from Frozen, she stayed at that booth all day and was energetic and happy period she reminds me so much of my children, with the exaggerated movements the excitement the little bundle of kinetic energy 22 a poster and showing it off, greeting kids with high-fives and hugs to takeing photos and talking with them and interact with them. You can see she wants to be here too, she wasn’t just dragged here by a momager, she’s loving this, and that makes me feel good about her appearance at these kind of shows. I have the utmost respect for this young woman and almost regret not taking a photo of her, but let’s face it, that would be creepy…
All in all, I’m not going back. Too far to drive for what I got. Not all of that is the cons fault, but it wasn’t one of my better days and more and more I think I need to stick with the MUCH smaller shows. I have a better time with them. Wasteland in two weeks.
And now – about a hundred photos.
This weekend’s cons
This weekend happening in Cleveland is the Cleveland CONcoction!
If you’re a gamer, this is seriously the place to be. They’ll be celebrating sci-fi and steampunk this year, with the chance to win a lot of the same games you’ll be playing!
There’s panels, author guests, the Wonderland Ball, the masquerade, costume contest, gameplay, live performances (you really need to check out Too The Egress) and tons more going on. This is the only con of it’s type in Cleveland and it’s exactly the kind of con I like, packed with tons of events and programming.
Friday, March 13: 12pm – 11pm
Saturday, March 14: 9am – 11pm
Sunday, March 15: 9am – 3pm
That said, I’m already booked this weekend a little further west, and will be heading to Indiana Comicon.
I’m going mostly to meet Denny O’Neil – seriously, DENNY O’NEIL! The guiding hand of the Batman titles in the 90’s! The writer of the 70’s Shadow series! The author of countless editorial “From The Den” colums!
Stop looking at me like that. I’m excited.
Mike Zeck and Mike Grell are going to be there as well!
I could actually care less about the media guests at this one (although I and going to get princess autographs for my girls- I admit it). The guest list here is really looking impressive – John Beatty, Art Thibert, Bob McLeod, Whilce Porticelo, Jae Lee, I have a stack of stuff a mile high I’m bringing, just as soon as I break out my Shadow costume….
So wherever you’re headed, be safe, if you see me in Indiana tap me on the shoulder and say hi. If you’re heading to Cleveland, say hello to the POP! members or the Z.E.R.O.S. (Zombie Eradication & Rescue Operations Squad) and give them my best! And we’ll be back with new Violent Blue on Monday!