This past weekend I was on the Chuck Dixon Midwest G.I. Joe Tour, which was previewed last week. Joining Chuck on the tour was artist Todd Fox, who has worked with Chuck off and on over the past 20 years, most recently on this year's Airboy special from Moonstone. Acting as tour organizers, entourage, security, publicists and otherwise hangers-on were myself and Ted Haycraft. Comics and pens in hand, we boldly set out to cut a swath of excitement through the heart of America. But first, a pitstop to the tomb of William Henry Harrison in North Bend, Ohio. I brought my son Noah along to see this local monument to Tippecanoe.
Up Up and Away in Cincinnati was the first stop. Owner Kendall Swafford made us feel welcome and I was excited to show my out of town friends the best comic store in the city. There was a great turnout in this fan-friendly atmosphere. It's no wonder that Kendall was nominated for this year's Spirit of Retailing award. One of the highlights was seeing Chuck meet the parents of his editor on G.I. Joe, Andy Schmidt. Sadly, Chuck didn't learn any good dirt with which to blackmail Schmidt.
Chuck and Todd greet fans at Up, Up and Away.
Saturday morning we were greeted at Comic Book World in Florence, Kentucky. Owner Paul Mullins was out of town, but Mark Craddock and the gang there took great care of us with their enthusiasm and hospitality. Chuck was glad to not only greet the fans, but to also find some Groo back issues for his son.
There was no time to lollygag in Florence with a two hour window to get to the other Comic Book World in Louisville, Kentucky. Store manager Doug Adams has an infectious love of comics that was apparent by the crowd of customers who came to the signing. A highlight was getting to meet Todd's uncle and aunt. His uncle Jack Fox is a Louisville radio legend. Have you heard the voice in the airport that tells you not to leave baggage unattended, or that the moving sidewalk is coming to an end? Chances are that it's the voice of Jack Fox. Doug capped the event by generously taking the tour crew out to dinner. Our restaurant and hotel had been taken over by the local hot rod convention, and we got to see some classic cars and one that was really far out.
Sunday we had an afternoon signing at Comic Quest in Evansville, Indiana. The Quest is near and dear to me, as I worked there from 1990-97. Todd Fox was anxious to greet the fans on his home turf. The customers who came to see Chuck were truly pleased, particularly one G.I. Joe fan who didn't even know about the signing and just happened to come in that day. We also got some media coverage from NBC affiliate WFIE. I was bummed that my pal, store owner Jim Jones, couldn't make it, but it was still a great way to wrap up the tour.
Thanks again to everyone who came out and made this tour an enjoyable success!