Monday, April 7, 2014

Convention Report – Gem City Comic Con 2014

Peek-a-Boo! It's R2-D2
I spent Sunday at the 2014 Gem City Comic Con, held yearly at the Nutter Center on the campus of Miami University in Dayton, Ohio. Attendees take a chance going on a Sunday—some of the good stuff may be gone. The upside is the deal making—vendors don’t want to take home loaded trucks, they'd rather sell everything and go home with loaded wallets. So they tend to make some great deals.

I attended the con last year, and this year, with my friend Matt Tauber. This year he brought along his sons, 6 year-old Noah and 4 year-old Jonah. They were amazingly well behaved for being dragged around the convention center all day.

Matt & Noah

In this photo, Matt's son Jonah is hiding behind Matt in his Captain America costume. Sometimes you just don’t feel like getting your picture taken.

One of the most beguiling aspects of con-going is the cosplay. If you’re not familiar with it, cosplay is when folks—mostly in homemade costumes—dress up as their favorite characters from fiction, comics, video games, movies and history. Anything goes, and people have worn some amazingly complex costumes to these things. Here are some of the more interesting folks I captured.

Red She-Hulk
Stormtrooper, Ghostbuster and ... Boba Fett/Cousin It, Maybe?
Not sure, but they looked cool
A cute Zombie girl
Do I love that Dr. Strange Costume? Yes I do.
Some Bat-Ladies and an amazingly authentic Wehrmacht Officer. Why? No idea.
Great cape, Batman!
Green ... Tu Tu?
See? Heroes and Villains can get along!

Mark Waid

Mark Waid is a talented and prolific comic book writer. His knowledge of comics is encyclopedic. Years ago at a con he helped me find the first comic I ever read (Superman #238) by my just describing the story to him. This time I asked him about a Batman story I couldn’t find from the 1970s, where Batman fought the Penguin on a snowy mountaintop. Waid said that was probably Batman #258. I went to look in the dealer boxes and found the story--it was Batman #257. Closer than I would have gotten. I picked it up for a reasonable price, too. Waid had asked me to let him know if I found the book, so I headed back to his table and thanked him for the help. He held out his knuckles for a fist bump and said “All Riiiiight!” As I rammed my knuckles into his in a most manly way, it occurred to me—I think that was the first time I’ve ever fist-bumped someone. Huh. I guess my friends just prefer handshakes and punches in the face. I love that Waid is a total fanboy geek and still a thoughtful, intelligent writer and all-around nice guy.

Mike W. Barr

It was also a pleasure to meet Mike W. Barr. Mike has written a ton of great comic stories for titles like Batman, The Outsiders, Star Trek and Camelot 3000. He is now a novelist as well as comic writer.

Original Art by Noah Tauber
I don’t own much original art, but I will treasure this piece I picked up Sunday. At lunch, Noah was doodling on his scratch pad and drew this picture for me. It’s going to a place of honor on the fridge! 

The hall was crowded all day, and the dealers seemed to be selling. I picked up some great deals, including several Marvel Giant-Size books from the ‘70s and an Avengers #13 for a steal. I love con Sundays!

Avengers #13
All in all, a fantastic day! Can't wait until next year.

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