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Saturday, November 27, 2010

Sunday, November 21, 2010

So Cal Comic Con 2010 Review

Mr. Monster attended the First Annual Southern California Comic Con (aka SoCal Comic Con) on Saturday, November 6, 2010 and it was a nice little show (actually a bit bigger than the one held monthly at the Rose Bowl...more dealers here).

Photos courtesy of SPDREYCER, more here.

Getting To The OBGC!
Arrived around 11:00 a.m. expecting slim pickings of vendors and guests since it was being held at the Oceanside Boys & Girls Club (Northern San Diego Country) and saw the parking lot a bit packed. The place was busier than I was expecting which was cool and a lot more dealers than I thought would be there. Cost to get in was $3.00 which was fair and you could also buy $1.00 raffle tickets for three drawings held in the afternoon for comics and comic-related prizes.

On their bare-bones website it stated you could get in for free with a flyer from one of the local comic shops, too bad it didn’t list which shops you could pick them up?

Selling The Wares
There were good amount of sellers with CGC and GA/SA items as well as two to three smaller sellers letting go from their collection with .25 and .50 bins that I was able to picked up a few fillers from. Not any rare finds in the cheap-o bins, though I was able to finally get The Demon Annual #2 (First Hitman appearance) from a dollar bin.

If you’re into pre-modern comics then this was a nice little show to attend since those were the types of dealers you would find setting up the longer tables for along with CGC graded items. A few sellers were there with the usual 40-50% off TPBs and some comic-related toys. I was able to pick up a Hot Wheels Batmobile (first Keaton film) for $2.00!

Show Me The Art . . .
Now I stopped by the show since I was going to be in the area anyways and what got me to attend was a couple of artist attendees that were going to show up there.

First off was Mr. Bob Layton who was the Iron Man artist from my days of reading that comic. I was able to get Bob Layton to sign some of my Valiant books he wrote and/or inked and an Iron Man comic as well. He had a table with some of his prints and was doing commissions as well. He had a portfolio with some original art for sale including art from the un-published Iron Man: The End. Unfortunately Mr. Monster’s budget wouldn’t allow for the purchase of Iron Man art that day, one day though!

There were a group of Wildstorm artists in the alley there and I was able to pick up an OA from artist/inker Richard Friend of a piece from the Batman/Superman comic and got him and Whilce Portacio to sign the piece as well. Wish I had more disposable cash to get some Iron Man OA from Bob and some other OA from the alley artists.

Show’s Over Folks
For a first showing it turned out pretty well and if the event producers decide to continue hopefully they can attract even more vendors and industry people. The only thing I could suggest is to give paying attendees at least a raffle ticket as part of the admission price instead of buying it separately. Since I didn’t expect to be there during the three raffle times (starting around noon to the end of the show at 5-ish) there was no particular incentive for me to buy one if I had to stick around to win something so when there was a drawing I didn’t even pay attention. Give attendees some raffle tickets along with their entry purchase to keep the audience excited and they can buy additional tickets if they want to increase their chances.

Overall a nice small con and hopefully they repeat it and get some other cool artists like Bob, Whilce and the Wildstorm team too in the future!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Long Beach Comic Con 2010 Event Review

Mr. Monster went to Long Beach Comic Con 2010 on Friday, Oct. 29th and had a pretty good time.
Goth-Harley Quinn & Black Mask (Left). Star Wars Honda Del Sol-style (Right)

Ticket Registration Woo-Hah!
On some online comic boards there were those writing about their online registration experience and bad ticketing information after you bought it online, it was pretty bad on-site too. Got to the convention around 2:00 p.m. and saw a line at the ticketing booth, I thought that was for the people who were paying for the tickets online...nope, those were the pre-registrants.

If you pre-registered online you had to get in line, and for me it was a 20-30 minute wait. BUT if you didn't buy it ahead of time, you were directed to the cash or credit card booth which had NO line. So it was better to not even pre-register there. Man, between LBCC and Wizard World Anaheim (jacked up “convenience” fee on-site) you would think they would have learned better line and pricing management from San Diego Comic Con.

For Friday’s event there was only one booth for pre-registrants, but there were two booths for on-site payees (one cash, one credit), and even one booth for Exhibitors (which the person manning it was just lonely sitting there). I overheard the a volunteer saying that the opening of the con earlier that day was messy with bad line management. LBCC needs to step it up with figuring out that online registrants should be FASTER in getting into the Con than payees just...I mean that's what they had on their Buy Tickets page noting pre-registration should be a good deal faster.

Oh, and I think on-site parking at the structure was $10 or $15 bucks. The parking signs for the Con pointed to the three-level structure at the back side of the Con so you had to hoof it a couple blocks across the street and then back up the stairs to get in.

Bring On The Show!
The Hulk angry about the Con pre-reg line as well.
Overall the Long Beach Comic Con was nice once you got inside. The last time I was at the Long Beach Convention Center was six years ago when Wizard World held their first So. Cal event there before moving to Anaheim. Outside at the front entrance of the Convention Center were some Star Wars cosplayers as well as the semi-famous Honda Del Sol decked out as an X-Wing ship.

Compared with Wizard World Anaheim (WWA) earlier this year the show booths were more comic-related instead of celebrity. mini-SDCC lite, though I did like WWA since they had more quarter bin booths vs. the mostly dollar booths (I'm a bargain reader). Some of the celebrities there were the WWF/WWE Honky Tonk man, Corin Nemec (Parker Lewis Can’t Lose, currently on Supernatural t.v. series) and couple others that I didn’t really know too well. The celebrity signing booths were set up in a circular manner and probably had 7-8 booths, small in comparison to the three long double-sided rows of booths at WWA.

Original Art and Autographs
The Justice League hanging out.
Lots more artists at LBCC as well and picked up some nice OA from a couple of them and got some signed comics as well. This was the first show I brought some of my comics to get signed by some of the show attendees though not all of them appeared that Friday (ie. Rob Liefield, Mark Waid, etc.). I did get in line for a couple of the set-time signings for both writer Jeff Loeb (Batman: The Long Halloween, Superman for All Seaons) and creator/artist Mike Mignola (Hellboy).
The signing for Jeff Loeb took me 20-25 minutes since there were a couple groups of fans that brought a box, and I do mean a BOX, of comics for him to sign. I’m guessing he signed about 50+ comics for each three people (flippers/resellers) there. I grossed to one of the other people in line about them bringing in their entire collection but this fellow collector (both of us along with the rest in line had maybe 1-3 items to sign) said it was expected since they don’t put limits on amounts to sign for such a small Con and since Loeb’s a writer they’re generally o.k. with signing tons of stuff. Not cool with me, either impose a limit or have those with more than 10+ items do it at the end. Waiting that half hour wastes my attendee time and I PAID to be there and not wait in line when I could be elsewhere in the hall.

Thankfully the signing for Mike Mignola was a lot better. I expected his line to be even longer since he’s creator of the famed Hellboy series and a cool artist in his own right. I only brought a couple old Phantom Stranger comics to sign and bumped into the signing area near the end of his signing time and saw there was only about two to three people in line. I asked one of the show volunteers (lots of them there and pretty good in answering questions) if the line for Mike was long earlier and he said no. I got Mr. Mignola to autograph my two comics (will bring the remaining two left in the mini-series next time) and asked him if he could sketch a Spectre on one of my blank comic covers. Mind you this was the first time I ever asked an fully-published artist at a show for a sketch. Mike asked if the Spectre had a moustache, which I replied the Corrigan version did not but the new Crispus Allen did. He did a quick marker sketch for me of the hooded Spectre. I’ve since read Mike doesn’t sketch at bigger shows like SDCC, so this was a cool treat being last in line for once.

I was able to get a Blackhawk comic signed by Howard Chaykin, Wetworks #1 by Whilce Portacio and a Swamp Thing comic by Bernie Wrightson. Unfortuneately Mr. Wrightson doesn’t do sketches at Cons anymore (one of the few I would’ve paid for a quick sketch) but had some preliminary ST panel art for sale there.

One of the cool things about the LBCC from the days I attended Comic Cons (7+ years ago) is now I’m into original comic art and this show had a good amount of artists to pick up items from. The show had artists tables separated into opposite areas of the Hall, some attendees didn’t like this but I felt it helped make the show feel bigger by letting you peruse artists a bit less claustrophobic.

I walked around the artist alley and being there still pretty early the area wasn’t too crowded and some artists not fully set-up yet. So one of the first tables that caught my attention was for artist Drew Johnson who was a penciller on the recent Wonder Woman, Supergirl comics and the past The Authority. He had his original art (OA) portfolio open and some nice un-published Wonder Woman caught my eye and so I checked out the other pieces in there. While the WW art was out of my budget I did pick up four nice Supergirl OA pieces and asked Drew to sign the accompanying comics they were in that I found later that show. He was also cool enough to do a quick Wonder Woman head sketch on my Zero Hour comic cover. Definitely an artist to check out and chat with. Next time I’ll have to see if I can pick up one of his Authority pages to add to the collection.

Near the end of the show I saw one of the cool recent Supergirl comic covers as part of an artist’s booth and found that the artist Joshua Middleton was drawing and had some OA for sale. I poked around and found one of the Supergirl comics he drew the cover for as well as a few issues of the Superman/Shazam: First Thunder that I waited in line for him to sign. As I waited for him to finish a commission piece I saw he had some nicely priced OA and I ended up picking three pieces out; one Metamorpho/Aquaman interior page (along with the comic) and a couple from the aforementioned Superman/Shazam series.

I do regret not waiting in line at Amanda Conner’s booth for a sketch since by the time I walked around and went back to her booth about 1-2 hours later she was packing up for the day. I also wish I found out how much Arthur Sudyam (Marvel Zombies cover artist) charged for sketches since I would have liked to get one done by him as well.

There was a booth by Cool Lines Artwork who are professional OA sellers and they brought tons of OA from different periods to gawk at. Too bad buying one of their pieces would pretty much cause me to default on mortgage payment otherwise they had some pretty iconic Silver Age- Modern covers to drool over.

Overall if you’re looking to meet artists, get OA or chat with industry people, LBCC is the place to be.

Took a couple photos of the few roaming cosplayers that day but there wasn’t too many running around. There were a few DC-group themed people and a big Zombie-Hullk there. There was a cool Firestar there as well. Ended up in line in front of a Gothic-themed Harley Quinn and Black Mask from the Batman series as well. From photos of the Con there were a tremendous more during the Saturday event.
The Books, It’s All About The Books!
Now Mr. Monster is generally a low-budget reader and what I liked about Wizard World Anaheim earlier this year were the couple big booths with 25 cent comics for sale. Unfortunately that wasn’t to be here at LBCC. Most booths were dollar or higher-end GA/SA sellers. There were only about a couple booths dealing with 50 cent bins that weren’t just junk 90s fodder. Picked up a big stack of items at one booth near the entrance for artist signings and fillers as well as one booth that had a few o.k. hardcover TPBs for 5 for $20.

The rest of the show were standard Con fare with toys, comic-related clothing, etc. Few booth babes there, but again this was a thin-Friday crowd. I was able to circle the entire hall in about 45 minutes but with thorough digging spent 4-5 good hours there.

That’s All Folks
Good times there apart from the ticketing fiasco, should be back next year!
Sergio Aragones signing at Hi De Ho Comics.
P.S. Attached a shot of Sergio Aragones (MAD magazine writer, Groo creator, artist) who was signing at Hi De Ho Comics in Laguna Beach today as well.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Comic Books: Trade Paperback & Graphic Novel Reviews

Books of Doom
Captain America: Red Menace
Captain America: The man with no face   
Justice League of America: Team History
Thor and the Avengers    
Ultimate Wolverine vs. Hulk
World War Hulk

Comics Alliance