Monday, April 17, 2017

Convention Report: Indiana Comicon

The Warriors Three - Adam, ye author & Travis
This weekend for the first time I attended the Indiana Comicon in Indianapolis. My friends Adam and Travis and I braved the wilds of Indiana in Adam’s van—a comfortable ride with plenty of room for a change. We arrived about the time the con opened, and getting in was probably easier than any other con I’ve been to. We just showed our pre-paid passes at an empty registration stand and walked in. I rarely arrive as the con starts, but I may have to start doing that.

Neal Adams with Mrs. Adams
The exhibit hall was large, typical for a downtown convention center. One of the first things I noticed was that there were already lots and lots of lovely cosplayers, but not many comics dealers. More on that later. We walked the hall and took in the breadth of exhibits. Who should be one of the first people I run into but my favorite comics artist of all time, Neal Adams! Adams had his wonderful art spread around him for sale, along with prints, books and sketches. Neal attends a lot of cons these days, I see him just about everywhere I go. I wish he didn’t charge $30 for an autograph (free with the purchase of a print), but if that’s what the market will bear, go with God, Neal.

Ace writer Gerry Conway
Next was a conversation with one of my favorite Bronze Age (the ‘70s, basically) comic writers, Gerry Conway. Conway has had an illustrious career, co-creating everything from the Punisher and Firestorm to writing the first inter-company superhero crossover between Marvel and DC, Superman vs. Spider-Man. He later got into TV writing and wrote a ton of Law & Order scripts. He’s a busy, creative guy and very enthusiastic about his work. We chatted for a moment and he signed a few comics for me.  

I had the pleasure of meeting Dan Wells, a prose author whose books I’ve enjoyed quite a bit. His John Cleaver series is a hoot—it’s about a young serial killer who is trying to fight his programming and ends up turning his “talents” on the supernatural. Sort of a Dexter who only kills demons. Start with I Am Not a Serial Killer. You’ll like them. I picked up one of his newer books, Bluescreen, which he described as “futuristic cyberpunk.” Nice guy.

Bluescreen by Dan Wells
Cary Elwes entertains a crowd
There were a few celebrities I wanted to meet, but the lines were very long. Cary Elwes was the hit of the day, his line was always hours long—too long and boring for me to stand. I did go to Elwes’s presentation, where he shared movie anecdotes and answered questions. Most of his war stories were about The Princess Bride, a true classic. He told one story about how he broke his foot the first week of shooting, showing off on Andre the Giant’s four-wheeler. He thought he would be fired, which he obviously wasn’t. His other Bride tale, about Andre’s huge fart in the middle of a take, had everyone in stitches of laughter. He couldn’t complete the take after that, not being able to keep a straight face. He then answered questions from the audience, asking each participant’s name and interacting with them. He came off as a total mensch who loved his job and was infused with energy. He left the con with a giant bag of cash.

I was very much looking forward to meeting Millie Bobby Brown, the young actress who played Eleven in Stranger Things. She cancelled Saturday at the last minute and was only there Sunday, so I missed her. Too bad, I really loved her performance in ST.

The still beautiful Nichelle Nichols
The one actress I did get to meet was the second Star Trek Original Series cast member I’ve met, Nichelle Nichols (I’ve had the pleasure to meet Shatner, detailed here). Her line was fairly long, but I took a chance and dived in. As always, to relieve the boredom I struck up conversations with other folks in line. The young couple in front of me was from Michigan. The woman’s father was a big ST fan and she was raised with the Original Series and Next Generation. Her boyfriend was dressed like a S.H.I.E.L.D. security agent, so he was into geekdom too. The couple behind me were even more entertaining. They had a gorgeous action figure of Nichols as Lt. Uhura, her character on Star Trek. The man told me, totally seriously, that he was going to ask her to sign the figure, “F--- William Shatner.” I managed to not roll my eyes, but I wanted to point out that was rude and unprofessional, and why add that negativity to the world? But who knows, maybe she did it. My gut tells me no, though. Nichols looked way too experienced to suffer fools, regardless of her relationship with Shatner.

I chose a great (and sexy) Lt. Uhura photo from Nichols’ assistant for her to sign. Her assistant put a Post-It on the photo with my name so I could have it personalized. She greeted me warmly with a smile and hearty “Hello Jerry!” I would think actors tire of discussing the same shows or characters all day, so I said, “Hello Ms. Nichols! I’m here for Snow Dogs, were you in another show before that?” She took a beat and realized I was joking, then laughed and said sarcastically, “Very funny, Jerry.” She smiled and passed the signed photo back to me.

Quick digression, Snow Dogs was a Disney comedy out around 20 years ago, with Cuba Gooding and James Coburn. Nichols played Gooding’s mother. I think she was amused by the reference—I’m sure no one else brought up that one!

Avengers #38
Then, on to the comics! My biggest criticism of the Indy Con was there were not enough comic book dealers. There were probably around 15 or so—way too few if the event is going to call itself a comicon. Celebrities, prop weapon booths and gaming booths are fine—but comicons should have comics! That said, I managed to fill several holes in my Avengers collection, then buy some ‘70s Batman and Superman books. The selection that was there was good, there just wasn’t that much to choose from. But I did manage to pick up the much elusive Avengers #38. For some reason that book is extremely hard to find, and when I do it looks like someone drove a truck over it. This one was in great condition at a reasonable price. I bought a few other old Avengers, so I just need three more books to complete a Silver Age Avengers set. Time to take a 2nd mortgage on the house!

I was a bit concerned with Adam and Travis being entertained—I’d stood in autograph lines and searched for comics for hours and the day was getting late. Turns out I had nothing to fear; they are both into board games and had found the gaming room. Everyone was busy all day. At the end of the day we headed off to see a comedy magician performing at the con, only to find they switched the times at the last minute and we missed him! Things like that happen at cons, but it was a bit disappointing, as I love up-close magic and that was this performer’s specialty.

Overall Indy was a good, but not great, con. Some things they could control, some things they couldn’t. But for Pete’s sake, get more comic dealers!

No con report would be complete without photos:

Princess Serenity from Sailor Moon

One of many Poison Ivys

Love the Original Series uniforms

Character from Homestuck

Very nice Black Canary and Matt Murdock


A great Bane and Mr. Freeze. The silver makeup was cool. 

Thought this was Monty Python's Black Knight. Turns out it's from a video game. 

Heroes vs. Villains

A slightly constipated Logan


This Spawn must have been 8 feet tall

Savage Dragon. He got upset when someone yelled "Fish Police!"


Make mine Ms. Marvel!

On to the Cincinnati Con in the Fall!


  1. Good coverage. I haven't been to a con in quite a while. I used to go to the Dallas cons all the time, but haven't been recently. The cosplay is an odd phenomena, and I personally don't get it as I've never enjoyed putting on a costume. I guess to each their own. Back when I started going to the Dallas cons there were more authors too. Some I wish I had gotten their autograph, which were free back then. One in particular was L. Sprague de Camp (he gave a discussion on the plups which was pretty good too), another being Harlan Ellison.

  2. Thanks for the comments, El Vox. I would love to go to a Dallas con, Texas is huge and I imagine draws quite the crowd and guest list. I don't get cosplay either (except on Halloween), but I appreciate the hard work that goes into creating some of those costumes from scratch! I'd like to meet L. Sprague de Camp. He's not my favorite author, but I certainly have enough of his books, mostly Conan pastiches.