thrifty special edition: gem city comic con swag!

Yesterday, I picked up and went to the Gem City Comic Con over at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio.

The GCCC is a smaller regional show I’ve never visited before, but I’m glad I did. I can see the show growing bigger in future years; the organizers made it pretty clear they’d be moving the show to spacier digs in 2013.

I decided to take the plunge with a visit when I heard their headlining creator would be writer Mark Waid. I’m a fan of Waid’s work… and you might even say, his writing kept me interested in mainstream comics. The mid 1990’s was a pretty fallow period for superhero comics and I had just about had my fill of the stuff. My buddy John (the guy who was more or less responsible for getting me interested in the medium) had long since moved onto other pursuits, chiefly the collecting of vintage Star Wars action figures. Myself, I had become far more interested in independent, creator-owned titles… books that most comic stores in my neck of the woods wouldn’t regularly stock. Besides trips into New York City a couple of times every year, I had sort of slacked off comic buying. The whole genre just seemed tired out to me.

It was on a trip with John to one of the many scrubby vintage toy stores we frequented where I happened on two comics which caught my attention- Kurt Busiek’s Astro City #6 and Captain America #445. The latter comic, written by Waid with art by Ron Garney, was about as fun and exciting a comic you could hope to find in the genre. The art was kinetic and within 22 pages, you could tell Waid had a love for the character that pervaded the story.

I got a couple of books signed by Waid; my practice these days has been to get books signed for my boys Elliot and Henry. To wit:

Thanks, Mark Waid!

Alright, behind the cut, some of the other stuff I bought! Warning, it’s a lot.

Fearless Readers is Dayton based, so they come to most of these regional shows. They were selling trade paperbacks that normally go for $20 to $30 bucks for $3 dollars apiece. I dropped $9 dollars on these:

Secret Warriors… I don’t know, I like Jonathan Hickman’s run on Fantastic Four. It’s a hardcover. It’ll end up in my classroom lending library for sure. DC/Marvel Crossover Classics II is a book I always wanted as a kid; I remember seeing it sitting on the shelves when I had NO money, and now I own it! The Agents of Atlas collection was picked up because I like Gabriel Hardman’s artwork.

After that booth, I found a guy who was selling backissues: FIFTY comics for $10 BUCKS. I couldn’t say no!

Beware The Creeper is a books I hadn’t heard of before, but Cliff Chiang’s artwork was gorgeous enough for me to take the plunge on the first four issues. I remember hearing good things somewhere about Blood and Water, Judd Winick and Tomm Coker’s skewed take on vampire lore. The Eaters, Flinch, and Thessaly: Witch for Hire were all first issues. I figured I could try them out and maybe some other time, hunt down the other issues.

Forever Maelstrom looks like a big, fat rip-off of Alan Moore’s Tom Strong but Howard Chaykin’s writing occasionally hits the mark. The Retroactive Wonder Woman special has artwork from J. Bone, a guy whose pencils I love. I was SUPER excited to find this issue of Superboy with a fun gimmick; half the book is drawn by Mike Parobeck in the style of The Batman Adventures!

Spider-Man #15 was a book I loved as a teenager but I don’t own. It’s a team-up between Spidey and The Beast, but primary focuses on Peter Parker and Mary Jane considering whether or not they are ready to become parents. The amount of characterization in this book was rare for Marvel Comics in 1991 and it stuck with me. Sensational Spider-Man #28 has Mike Wieringo artwork, and that’s all I need to see. Ditto the X-Men books included here; both have Art Adams on art chores. The final book, Tangled Web #4, got a LOT of good press when it came out… again, another Spider-Man book heavy on characterization, light on action. I’m looking forward to reading that one.

So, this is a funny story: in the early 1990’s, when I was all about hologram covers and awful artwork, my father used to take me to comic stores. One visit, he bought himself a comic: Jab #1. He thought the comics’ title character, Too Much Coffee Man, was funny. I probably bought five copies of X-Force #1. Obviously, Dad made the better choice. A Too Much Coffee Man Special really fit the bill for me today. I was also a big fan of Madman Comics when it was under the Dark Horse banner. Tomorrow Comics and 1963: The Tomorrow Syndicate are both written by Alan Moore, so they obviously rated a purchase. I’ve talked about my love for Archie Comics’ Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures before, so again, no-brainer. The Disney Afternoon comic was a bust; I bought it because I thought I could use it at the end of the year for the Christmas Comics’ Cavalcade, but the only thing Christmassy about the comic is the cover; the rest of it is a Darkwing Duck book with NO holiday connection!

So yeah, that’s not 50 comics, is it? Not hardly; I found a BUNCH of books that I’m going to save and use for some future Thrift Store Finds posts, although I am full well aware I am stretching the theme there a bit.

Comic conventions are also good for picking up more recent books! Check it out:

Like half of those books were drawn by Gabriel Hardman; I told you I liked his work!

…and of course, you can’t get out of a comic show without making a silly purchase. Here’s mine. Two Christmases ago, Ellen bought me this wonderful four pack of all the Ghostbusters’ action figures. They are fun toys and have taken up residence in my office. A toy dealer was selling individual figures for $15 bucks apiece; they usually go for $20 to $30 bucks.

I dropped $15 dollars on an action figure of Walter Peck, the movie’s non-supernatural protagonist who is most famously known for having no dick.

I am not sure why this toy was made. I guess Ghostbusters fans want a complete diorama or something, and Walter Peck makes it complete. He’s a pretty boring looking toy but he comes with a neat accessory; it’s the Ecto Containment Unit! I guess the only way they could get casual fans like me to buy Peck is to package him with something cool like this.

In summary, the Gem City Comic Con was a fun day for me and I’ll definitely be back next year.

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2 Responses to “thrifty special edition: gem city comic con swag!”

  1. Glad you had a good time!

    • Christopher Pearce Says:

      Thanks for putting it on, Jesse. LIke I said, it was a great show and I’m already looking forward to next year.

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