Monday, November 9, 2009
COMIC CITY CONVENTION - CINCINNATI
There was a comic book/anime show this past weekend at the Radisson in Covington, Kentucky (right across the bridge from downtown Cincinnati). It has been many many years, maybe ten or more, since anyone put on a show in the Cincinnati area. The last two attempts to put on a show called Pop Culture Con failed before the shows could even go on. So I was skeptical when this new show was announced by Comic City, a comic dealer out of Nashville. I was doubtful that he could make a Cincinnati show a success, especially since his Evansville show earlier this year drew all of 35 people. Unlike the Evansville show, however, this show had a more impressive guest list, most notably Tony Moore (of 'Walking Dead' fame), Kabuki creator David Mack (who lives locally), Gary Friedrich. Friedrich was a writer for Marvel Comics in the 1970s where he co-created Ghost Rider. That Friedrich's name was misspelled on the flyers for the show and their website was not encouraging. Two guests that puzzled me were voice actresses from the 1985-88 "Jem" cartoon series. I was curious because I know boys did not watch this show and the girls who watched it have moved on with their lives. I don't think women cling to their childhood nostalgia the way that men do.
I was surprised to see that there is a "Jem" fanbase out there, with several Jem sites. Regardless, Jem herself was sick and didn't make the show. Gary Friedrich was also a no-show. Perhaps he's trying to reignite his copyright lawsuit against Marvel and Sony. Even lacking some of their guests, like "Heroes" writer R.D. Hall, the show wasn't pathetically lame like I expected it to be. It was a small convention, set inside a hotel banquet room, but it didn't feel cramped. There were a couple dozen dealers, with comics, toys, DVDs, t-shirts, and various anime stuff for sale. It was a good show for bargain hunters. At larger conventions, it's not uncommon to see dealers try to blow out their cheaper stuff at 50 and 25 cents. This was the first time I saw 10 cent boxes, and lots of them. Granted, it's generally overstock from the '90s that nobody wants at any price (junk is junk), but there may have been decent stuff that's new to some people.
The highlight of the show was meeting the couple at left. Ferdinand and Sandra Tan are enthusiastic collectors who specialize in Disney comics and memorabilia. This was only the second show they've ever done, and their passion for Disney is infectious. They're very friendly and personable and it was nice to see other folks who are dealing comics for the fun of it.
I don't know that this show was a success, but it made me believe a Cincinnati show is doable, and it shouldn't take a promoter from Nashville to get it done. While the area is ably served by some great comic book shops, I think there is room for future events like this, only with better guests who actually appear.