I was surprised yesterday to learn about the Cincinnati Comic Expo, a one day comic book show coming up on September 18th. Cincinnati has historically not been a comic show town. Columbus has two well-known shows - Mid-Ohio Con and S.P.A.C.E. Further out, Chicago now has two large shows - Wizard World and C2E2. For some reason, Cincinnati hasn't supported a show, even small ones like they have in nearby Dayton and Indianapolis. That changed last year with the Comic City show in November, which I wrote about here. While it was a small show, it was quickly purchased by convention powerhouse Wizard and renamed Wizard World Cincinnati.
How come Cincinnati doesn't have its own show? Before last year, no one seems to remember one after 1999. I talked with Cincinnati Comic Expo co-founder Andrew Satterfield. He was stumped, as well, given the size of the city and its centralized position amid other cities. Perhaps it's that other cons have been announced and never happened. Twice now, something called Pop Culture Con has been promoted, only to be cancelled. But its presence and then failure may have scared off others from doing a show. Wizard World Cincinnati has a website, but no date, and it's unlikely they'll have a show in 2010 with the year half over. "I'm not waiting anymore," said Satterfield, who wants to start with a quality one day show, with ambitions to expand it in future years. What about dealers, exhibitors and fans who have made plans before, only to have the show disappear? Satterfield wants to reassure them. "It will happen," he says.
Satterfield also wanted to stress that the guest list won't be rife with aging sitcom actors or wrestling stars. "We're focusing on comics," he said evidenced by the show's name and the current guest lineup. The featured guest is Michael Uslan, executive producer of 14 Batman movies, live action and animated. Uslan is also a comics historian and author of several comics histories. In a Caniff connection, Uslan wrote the 1995 revival of the 'Terry & the Pirates' comic strip. It will be interesting to meet another guest, Allen Bellman, a Golden Age artist I'm not familiar with at all. According to his bio, he worked in the early '40s on my all-time favorite character - Captain America. I'm most looking forward to seeing Russ Heath again. Heath, still spry at 84, is a heck of a nice guy I've met a few times at Chicago shows. Heath started working comics in 1948, drawing westerns for Timely/Atlas. His most celebrated work are the war stories he drew for DC Comics from the '50s to the '70s, part of the pantheon of legendary war artists John Severin, Ross Andru, and Joe Kubert. As I said, he's still at it, most recently drawing covers for Dave Sim's Glamourpuss.
The Cincinnati Comic Expo will be held from 10AM - 5PM on September 18th at the Cintas Center, located at on the campus of Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio. Children under 10 are free with a paying adult.