Thursday, November 29, 2007

MID-OHIO CON REPORT

While many folks post-Thanksgiving tradition is going shopping, mine is Mid-Ohio Con in Columbus, Ohio. It was the second year for this long-running comics convention to be held at the convention center. Last year it appeared near-desolate, a far cry from the cramped but bustling environs of the Hilton at Easton Town Centre, it’s location before the move downtown. This year seemed slightly busier, but the relaxed vibe may be great for the attendee like me and not so great for the exhibitors and dealers. The weekend and the location may contribute, but I think what the show lacks is a superstar comics guest.

One of the benefits of low attendance was not having to wait behind more than one person anytime I wanted to get an autograph from one of the creative guests. In attendance were several of Marvel’s creators from the ‘70s and ‘80s, including Ron (The Thing) Wilson, Keith (Captain America) Pollard, Rich (Astonishing Tales) Buckler and Michael (The ‘Nam) Golden. Of the group, none but Golden have worked in comics for a long time and he not without controversy. All were nice to me, and Golden was particularly gracious, but Buckler does nothing to dispel his long-ago reputation as a swipe artist by selling Jim Lee-esque prints of Wolverine and Punisher (possibly trying to seem relevant to the comics audience of 12 years ago).

A highlight for me was seeing Sergio Aragon├ęs again. He’s one of those greats where if he draws it I’ll buy it. His upcoming projects include a return to his Western hero, Bat Lash. I think it’s interesting that Sergio, so long associated with MAD Magazine, is writing it and the artist is John Severin, who drew for decades for MAD’s rival, Cracked Magazine.

It’s also always good to see Dave Aikins. Dave has drawn numerous Dora books and every time I see him I get something for my nephews. This year I bought a book for Noah as well.

Then there’s that general show ambience – seeing the same dealers every year, being surrounded by old comics, fans in their homemade costumes, the denizens of Artists’ Alley with their small press and big dreams. I was glad to see my old employer Comic Book World setting up at the convention (and having a good deal on some recent comics).

The lowlight of the show was lack of a coat check, a service they’d had in earlier years. I think last year it was warmer, but this year it was freezing. It was a huge pain to carry around my bulky coat, which led to me stopping and looking at dealer booths less and spending less money. I complained to show owner Roger Price and he said they didn’t have a side room to put a coat check. I think it would be pretty simple to create your own coat check room in the convention space, just like exhibitors create their own booths.

The worst part of the show was that I shouldn’t have gone at all. My wife, Jill, was sick, so I stayed home Saturday, but I should have skipped Sunday as well. But I had convinced myself she could get by without me. So I’d like to apologize to her (and not just because she’s one of my few subscribers) and give a big thanks to her family who filled-in for me so I could fondle some funnybooks. In the future I’ll do what I can to not be such a selfish yutz.

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