By Jason Harris
Hartford ComiCONN took place last month at the XL Center.
Hartford ComiCONN took place last month at the XL Center.
Scare-A-Con took place the first weekend of June at the MassMutual Center in Springfield, MA.
Welcome to the second entry of pictures taken at this year’s Rhode Island Comic Con.
Super Megafest has come to New England once again. It’s a show that draws hundreds of people every year. If you couldn’t make it this year, you will have two chances next year. There will be two Super Megafests next year. A Spring Edition in April to be held at the Marlborough Trade Center in Marlborough, MA. This convention will be held over three days, April 17 through 19. The Fall Edition will once again be held at the Sheraton Framingham Hotel in Framingham, MA. November 21 and 22.
Myself, Jason Harris, Stacey Longo, Scott Goudsward and Kristi Petersen Schoonover began the task of painstakingly arranging our table in a manner of which patrons would … oh, who am I kidding? We threw it all together and if something fell on the floor, then it probably didn’t belong there in the first place. Our booth did look pretty diversely kick-ass! In addition to our own books, we had action figures, DVD’s, movie adaptation novels and of course, comic books. We were prepared for anyone and anything that came our way that weekend. Or were we?
Well, nothing could have prepared me for the 9am stroll through “Celebrity” alley just prior to the show’s opening. Stacey and I took it upon ourselves to stalk a couple of former stars while attempting to flee from a couple of others. “Oh boy, time has not been generous to that one” was uttered more than a few times. But there were a couple of highlights during that brisk wander. For instance, did you know that Mitzi Kapture (of TV’s Silk Stalkings) is married to Seinfeld’s The Soup Nazi? Well, she is and they are both wonderfully kind people. Also wonderfully kind, yet extremely happy, was Gil Gerard of the classic 1970s sci-fi series Buck Rogers in the 25th Century. He was very gentlemanly as he reached out to shake both our hands but was quick to point out that he was selling Buck Rogers coffee mugs, baseball caps, lunch boxes, toilet paper and anything else you could put the name Buck Rogers on. As big of a turn off as this might have been, I still couldn’t believe “Buck Rogers” was in front of me, talking to me and trying to sell me a bunch of worthless crap. I couldn’t wait to see what other surprises were in store.
The doors opened to everyone at 10am and within 15 minutes, the aisles were flooded with convention goers. The booth blocking rule had a moratorium placed on it for the weekend due to the fact that people were streaming past us left and right all day long. We were perfectly happy behind the table all day, in our “safe haven.” People watching was a perfect ten as every super hero, comic book, anime, movie or TV character you could ever imagine was represented. To my delight, a different Captain America walked by me on an average of every 22 minutes. Star Wars characters were high in attendance and Jason Harris and I spent much of the two days debating on which guys at the con wore the best Bane character get-up. Of course, I can’t forget to mention the best dressed guys at the convention. Kristi’s all-time favorite tribute band, KISS Forever!
Venders were plentiful, and although their tables became repetitive after a while, they did have some amazing items for sale which could make even the least sentimental person nostalgic. I for one was tempted to plunk down fifty dollars for a near-mint Evel Knievel Stunt Cycle, but don’t judge me. The toy venders, however, had some competition at the NEHW booth. Scott unloaded a fair amount of his action figure collection throughout the event’s two-day run.
Some cool cars were on display in the lobby such as the Ghostbusters Mobile, the Adam West era Batmobile and two Delorians from the Back to the Future films. Speaking of Back to the Future, I got to meet and chat with actress Claudia Wells who played Michael J Fox’s girlfriend in the first film. She’s still very lovely and very cool. Speaking of cool, we got to chat it up with former pro wrestler Hacksaw Jim Duggan. He had some interesting stories about his glory days in the ring, including the “Montreal Screw job” and his relationship with Vince McMahon. Bottom line, he was very likeable.
Word at the convention was they had sold around 5000 tickets in advance. 12,000 people attended the convention just Saturday alone. This was RICC’s first year and it went off with a bang. Although it was a long two days for us in Providence, I think it’s safe to say we all had a great time. Kristi finally got to meet Dirk Benedict, I met my now-current co-writer on an upcoming project, Scott finally sold his giant King Kong action figure, Stacey got to hang out with Jake “The Snake” Roberts and Jason learned never to order a 30 dollar Filet Mignon from McCormick & Schmick’s when he’s starving. That’s a different story for a different day.
Quick introduction: I’m Rick Silva. I’m a relatively new member of the NEHW, but I’ve been involved in the local convention scene for quite a number of years. These days, most of the conventions I attend are in my capacity as a small press comic book publisher, although I’ve been fortunate enough to have had a couple of prose stories published in the last year or two, and have done panels and readings in that capacity as well.
For Boston Comic Con, my Dandelion Studios comics were sharing a table with Joe McGlone of Fallenmage Productions and his comics. We drove in early Saturday morning, and were shown right to our table by the very well-organized convention staff.
The show was held in one of the main exhibit halls of the Hynes Convention Center in Boston. We parked at the Prudential garage both days, which was pricey. I’d originally thought we could get around some of that cost by validation deals, or by moving the car to the street for part of the show, but those options proved to be too much of a hassle and we ended up paying full price both days. I think I will go back to taking the subway in (which I did for Anime Boston) if I attend this show again.
The show itself was lively and well-attended. There were some incredible cosplayers making the rounds. Star Trek, Star Wars, and Ghostbusters fan groups were set-up where the fans entered and the hallway was crowded with people taking pictures. The Ghostbuster guys even had a giant inflatable Stay-Pufft Marshmallow Man.
We had a steady stream of people stopping by our table, and just about all the local small press comic creators I know were present at the show, so I caught up with a lot of friends, and bought some new comics and mini-comics in between selling my own books.
Joe was thrilled to get a stack of book autographed by iconic horror artist Bernie Wrightson, and I bought a copy of Womanthology as a birthday present for my wife and got it signed and sketched in by eight of the contributing artists.
Boston Comic Con has been growing every year. I didn’t get too much time away from my table, but the guest list was really incredible this year, and the fans seemed to be having a great time shopping and meeting an impressive guest lists of great comic artists.
The Maine Comics Arts Festival is one of my absolute favorite shows for a bunch of reasons.
First of all, it’s all small-press creators. As much as I love buying older collectible comics, there is something really amazing about a show made up entirely by comic creators and their labors of love.
Organizers Casablanca Comics does a great job of getting the word out, and the show is always well-attended, and a lot of the audience are families discovering small press comics for the first time. It also helps that the price of admission is only $5.
Then there’s the setting. The venue is the Ocean Gateway terminal in Portland, a cruise ship facility that sticks out into Portland harbor. Forget about dimly-lit rooms or cavernous conventions halls. This place has huge windows all the way around and a spectacular view of the harbor.
It’s also in walking distance of restaurants, and for our son, the Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad Museum.
The Maine Comics Arts Festival was the first convention our son attended, at age 2. This year was his third time at the show. He’s old enough to have some input into the plans, and what he wants is a train ride!
Portland is a little over three hours from Cape Cod, so we got on the road around 6 a.m. To make things a bit more challenging, I’d pulled an all-nighter scrambling to put together the newest issue of our mini-comic series Unpopular Species (a science/nature comic about creatures that are, well, less loved). Gynn did much of the driving while I got some much-needed sleep on the way up to Portland. Fortunately, even Boston is quiet traffic-wise early on a Sunday morning, and the trip went smoothly.
We spent the day taking turns selling comics and taking the Kiddo on train rides. Turns out you can ride all day for one price. Kiddo was thrilled. Unpopular Species was a big hit, and we had a really good show in general. The ride home was exhausting, but we got back without incident.
This was the finale to a whole series of Spring conventions we’d done appearances at for the comics. Starting with Conbust at Smith College, we were at Anime Boston, Boston Comic Con, the Rochester New Hampshire Free Comic Book Day festival, the Southcoast Toy and Comic Show, and finally the Maine Comics Arts Festival. Now, we get a couple months break before a major road trip at the end of July to Baltimore for Otakon. See you out on the road!