To Do This Weekend: Comic Con National!

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(There’s a large, 8904 × 6216 image available here.)

If there was one weekend which could rival San Diego in July, it would be this third weekend in May.  No, there isn’t one big convention happening to rival Comic-Con International, but numerous smaller shows, some catering to a general crowd, some to specific audiences and topics.

Of course, it’s been busy for weeks now!  There was C2E2 a month ago, which shared the weekend with the Wildcat Con (held at a university!) and Wizard World Toronto!  The next weekend had the Pittsburgh Comicon along with SPACE and the Boston Comic Con.  Then we had Calgary and MoCCA and Stumptown!  Free Comic Book Day followed the next weekend with minicons held at stores, along with Kids’ Comic Con in the Bronx!  The weekend after that?  A trifecta in New York, with the Bronx Heroes Con!  (Three NYC cons, three weekends in a row!)  Plus two “beach” cons were held on opposite coasts, at Long Beach and Asbury Park.  (Long Beach had better surf, Asbury Park had better music.)

The Beatrix (AKA “Her Royal Heidiness”) has already mentioned a few of these elsewhere on these pages, but I’m gonna include them all, because this might just be a seminal benchmark event in the comics history!  Has there been this much comics awesome sauce ever before?  Is anyone staying home this weekend and doing work? 

Who is in the undisclosed location?

First, there’s Motor City, now in its 23rd year in Detroit, Michigan.
Who will be there?  150+ comics guests including:
  • Ethan Van Sciver
  • Joe Staton
  • Mike  Royer
  • Mike Grell
  • Peter Bagge
And a great selection of media guests!  (Some which could be considered A-list, like Howard Hesseman)

Almost next door, in Minnesota, is the Midwest Comic Book Association’s SpringCon at the Minnesota State Fair Grandstand in St. Paul!  (If the concessions are open, that would put all other con food to shame!)

Who’s showing up here?  A line-up worthy of the Grandstand!

Terry Beatty ‌· Zander Cannon ‌· Peter Gross ‌· Gene Ha ‌· Jamal Igle‌ · Dan Jurgens‌ · Doug Mahnke ‌· Don Rosa ‌· Bill Willingham

Over in Philadelphia is the East Coast Black Age of Comics Convention on Saturday!  Tonight is the Glyph Comics Awards ceremony.  Nominees can be found here, and we hope to report the winners soon!  (Wow… eleven years!)  And what comic con would be complete without cosplay?  AfriCoz: the first costume and cosplay contest celebrating characters of African descent in comic books, sci-fi, fantasy and film, will be held at 1:15 PM!  WOW… check out those prizes!  If you’re attending, please post photos!  (Sweet Christmas, I hope there will be a Power Man and Luke Cage duo!)

Up the coast in Maine, on Sunday, is the Maine Comics Arts Festival in Portland.  (There’s programming on Saturday at the Portland Public Library, and the festival’s on Sunday at Ocean Gateway.)

Who’s showing up to that?
  • Kate Beaton
  • Kazu Kibuishi
  • Colleen AF Venable
  • Dave Roman
  • Mike Lynch
  • Raina Telgemeier
  • Rick Parker
  • R. Sikoryak
  • …and many more!

X-Con V takes place down at the convention center at Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.  Since it has a roman numeral, it’s a “big tent” science fiction convention with comics and all sorts of other tribes, just like we used to have back in the Eighties!  (For it to be authentic, the Con should be held in a hotel, with a swimming pool.  There should be ballroom open 24/7 for round-the-clock gaming, and at least one room open all night for movies.  Filking is encouraged, although Karaoke might be substituted, as long as one song by Al Yankovic is sung.  Room parties are encouraged, if not officially sanctioned by the con committee.  In other words, it’s like the Jaycees without all the personal development.)

Keith Knight, Jonathan Hickman, and Paty Cockrum will be there, with lots of other interesting guests!

Just want video games?  ScoreCon 2 in Nashville is Sunday, and it offers a day chock full of programming.  No comics guests, but Paul Conrad (formerly of Pixar) and other industry professionals will be speaking.

Couldn’t make it to Stumptown or Emerald City?  Suffer from thalassophobia?  Then you’ll probably want to visit the Spokane Comicon!  Yup, this one is number six!  Saturday only, at the Spokane Community College!

Tyler Kirkham is the 2012 Special Guest of Honor.

Power couple Paul Guinan & Anina Bennett will be in attendance, as well as Michael Avon Oeming & Taki Soma!

This is a COMIC con, with lots of great guests and a sold-out Artist Alley!  Kids get in free, and if you can’t afford the $6 general admission, you can save a buck by bringing canned food.


Down the coast is the Big Wow! ComicFest in San Jose, California, at the convention center.  Who’s here?  Some guy named Jim Lee.  Don’t recognize him?  Well, there are other well-known professionals, like Kevin Nowlan, Bernie Wrightson, Steve Niles, Frank Cho, Joe Jusko, Steve Leialoha, Ron Lim, Trina Robbins… ah, just go to the link!  If X-Con is an old-school SF con, then this looks like an old-school comic-con.  (Yup, back when you could use a hyphen in “comic-con”!)  It seems they’ve been around as long, doing shows under the “Super-Con” name.

A quarter of a world away, in London, England, is the Kapow! Comic Convention!  (Wow! Kapow! Conventions aren’t for kids anymore!)  This is another comic centric con, with a stellar guest list!  Joe Quesada!  Dan DiDio!  (Hey, have they ever been on the same panel?  I would pay money to just hear them chat!)  Warren Ellis!  Scott Snyder!  … and once again, I’m gonna save time and just direct you to the guest list!  (I love that they call them “guest stars”!)

There will be an awards show: The Stan Lee Awards!  Nominees can be found here.  (Wow, two comic book awards shows on the same weekend!)

Spectrum Fantastic Art Live!

Yes, “Spectrum” as in “Spectrum Art Annual”!  Yes, the exhibitor list is a JPG, but WOW!  (oops, sorry, that’s already been used…)  JEEPERS!  This could be the “Basel” of fantasy art!

Vellejo.  Mignola.  Coop.  Dorman.  Schultz.  Stout.  Plant.  Whelan.  Wheatley.  Tobin.  Templesmith.

(Any other weekend, this would be THE Show!  KC wins the talent show, but Chicago wins the Grand Prize.)

Meanwhile…  there are other, more local, smaller shows around this great nation:

Collectors Showcase Comic and Toy Convention
When: Saturday, May 19, 2012
Where: Best Western Plus, Morristown, TN, US

FREE Comicon (formerly Wonderful Woburn Warehouse show)
When: Saturday, May 19, 2012
Where: Best Western New Englander, Woburn, MA, US

MOBICON XV Science Fiction and Fantasy Convention
When: May 18 – 20, 2012
Where: Ashbury Hotel & Suites, Mobile, AL, US

Sci-Fi in the Valley Con
When: May 18 – 20, 2012
Where: North Central Recreation Center, Ebensburg, PA, US
[Their first year!  Congrats!]

Shoff Promotions Comic Book Show
When: Sunday, May 20, 2012
Where: Crowne Plaza, 1960 Chain Bridge Road, Tysons Corner, VA, US

Oh, and as I was taking a break, checking Facebook, I discovered:

Woodstock Day School Comic Convention

Jim Starlin, Joe Sinnott, Ron Marz, Matthew Dow Smith, Richard Clark, Jennifer Meyer and David Rodriguez will be there, helping raise money for the school!  $5!  Sunday, Noon to Five PM.  A comic con!  In a school!

And for those who like to think about comics, there are TWO conferences scheduled this weekend!

Sequential SmArt: Teaching with Comics

Who: People interested in teaching and in comics.
What: Sequential SmArt is a conference that features presentations and workshops by comics creators, librarians, and by educators who use comics with students from early childhood to the college level.

Matt Madden is the co-author of Drawing Words & Writing Pictures and author of 99 Ways to Tell a Story: Exercises in Style. Matt will be leading the pre-conference event on Friday night and participants will get a chance to explore the broad possibilities that open up when one makes comics.

Eric Shanower is the creator of Age of Bronze, a series of graphic novels re-telling Homer’s Illiad, and two-time winner of the Eisner Award as Best Writer-Artist. Eric is also the writer of the Wizard of Oz adaptations from Marvel Comics. As a follow-up to Eric’s talk, Shannan Stewart will be presenting about the ways in which she has integrated Age of Bronze into her courses.

Hosted by Jay Hosler, associate professor of biology at Juniata College and author of numerous non-fiction graphic novels, this conference aims to help educators use comics as instructional media.  (“Teaching Muslim Women’s Lives through Persepolis“, “Using The X-Men to Teach Mutation”, “Comics in Classrooms and Libraries: Using Graphic Novels across the Secondary Curriculum”)

And for those who just want to think about comics…

Comics: Philosophy & Practice

In a three-day conference featuring a range of events — lectures, conversations, panels, and workshops — cartoonists will come together at the University of Chicago, long a location of word-and-image study, to take stock of their own ground-breaking work and the future of comics.

How awesome is this line-up?!  At least two Guggenheim fellows, multiple Eisner Award winners, each and every one a future hall-of-famer!  This is comics’ All-Star Dream Team!  (Maybe the Commander-In-Chief can sneak away from that other conference and check out this much cooler and interesting conference.  (If he needs an excuse, he can check his home in Kenwood, just a few blocks north of the Logan Center.))


Lynda BarryAlison Bechdel

Ivan Brunetti

Charles Burns

Daniel Clowes

R. Crumb

Phoebe Gloeckner

Justin Green

Ben Katchor

Aline Kominsky-Crumb

Francoise Mouly

Gary Panter

Joe Sacco

Seth

Art Spiegelman

Carol Tyler

Chris Ware
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Me?  I’m taking a breather.  Just gonna relax and read some of the awesome comics I bought at C2E2, MoCCA, and Asbury Park.

If I overlooked something, feel free to mention it below.

If you attended any shows this weekend, we’d love to hear from you!  Just click the CONTACT link over on the right.  Tell us what we missed!  Tell us what you wished you had missed!

Comments

  1. The rising tide of Comic-Con popularity is lifting ALL “Comic Con” boats— be it WIZARD WORLD of yore or REED Pop and other business ventures looking to mine Nerd $$$ now, or Academia turning its eye to examine this particular Pop Culture phenomenon…

    Yay Nerds.

  2. JamesT says:

    I went to Minnesota’s SpringCon and had a blast. Always a great show!

  3. Dave Aikins says:

    The Motor City Comic Con this year was bananas! A big ol’ increase in attendance, and it seemed that all of the attendees and guests (that I asked, at least) were having a great time!

  4. Mike L says:

    Attended the Sci-Fi in the Valley Con in PA and it was a train wreck. I’m a local and I’d really like to see it succeed but . . . imagine going to a con where there’s only one fairly small main area — think basketball court-sized.

    Now imagine a really, really bad ‘pro’ wrestling match going on in one corner of the room, broadcast over the P.A. at top rock show volume, to the point where you have to scream to talk to anyone over the simulated ‘roid rage and bad metal intros. Stopped at three dealers / vendors and they barely made eye-contact or showed any interest in a potential customer (guess I can’t blame them from being surly, if I had to sit through WWE Amateur Hour all weekend I’d probably be a little irritated). Only one comics dealer, a local shop less than a mile away, with maybe a dozen long boxes. There was plenty of unclaimed space, maybe if they’d have offered some of the other local shops a free table just to show up and actually have something for attendees to look at. My girlfriend and I made two passes around the floor and left — I think we were there for maybe twenty-five minutes. Seemed like they had drawn a decent crowd, but I haven’t heard a single positive about it. I know it’s first time out of the gate and it’s going to be far from perfect, but that was the saddest con I’ve seen in three decades of geekdom. Lack of really interesting guests and little in the way of vendors is one thing, but being subjected to the wrestling really did it in.

  5. Jarod says:

    What about the Dallas Comic Con? This thing is turning into a HUGE show. With Patrick Stewart and Stan Lee headlining, Saturday was insanely packed. Comics folks attending included George Perez, Neal Adams, Len Wein and Jimmy Palmiotti among many, many others.

  6. Torsten Adair says:

    I knew I’d miss a few shows… Glad Dallas has a great show…I remember the Big S was on the circuit back in the 80s!

    We hope to have a weekend wrap up of all the shows. But that depend on reportage from elsewhere.

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