I’m going to drop in on the Gem City Comic Con this weekend!
Since moving to the Midwest, I’ve enjoyed going to these smaller, regional comic shows. The ones in Southwest Ohio aren’t the cattle calls that San Diego and the NYCC seem to be and the few I’ve attended have done a good job at attracting guests and talent. The GCCC is a show I’ve watched grow by leaps and bounds over the last three years and I’m excited to check out this year’s convention in their new, bigger location.
My main reason for going to conventions these days is to dig through long boxes and find comics to read. My tastes run pretty cheap and I spend the majority of my time combing through the quarter bins, trying to complete my runs of certain comic series and trying to find oddball books I’ve never read before. To give you an idea of what I’m talking about, one of my favorite finds from last year’s Gem City Comic Con was this adaptation of the mid 1990’s Saturday morning cartoon Camp Candy, starring John Candy. I don’t imagine you’ll find anyone chomping at the bit to collect Camp Candy, but I was pleased to find such a weird comic book.
There are a couple of dealers at these shows who offer big discounts on their recent stock and I’m going to try and pick up some issues of things I missed in the past year. I’m not a fan of the X-Men usually but the handful of issues I’ve read in Jason Aaron’s run on Wolverine and the X-Men have been really fun. I wouldn’t pay $4 dollars every two weeks for the book, but I’ll scoop up a whole bunch of them for a buck apiece at a con. There, you have a book that’s not going to be hurt too badly sales-wise by my frugality.
The guests at the Gem City Comic Con have been pretty great for such a small convention; I was thrilled last year to get to talk with Mark Waid, one of my favorite superhero comic writers of all time. This year, I’m jazzed about meeting Howard Chaykin. He’s been a creator whose work I’ve followed for the better part of my time as a comics fan. I remember discovering a cache of the first 10 issues of American Flagg! in an antique store back home in the Hudson Valley. Those books looked like nothing I’d ever seen before and I read them to pieces! I’m going to get my nice AF! hardcover signed by the guy, as well as my copy of The 1994 Marvel Holiday Special (which I wrote about in great detail here, if you’re interested). I’m also excited about seeing Stan Sakai; Usagi Yojimbo is an occasional trade-read for me but c’mon! That character’s been around forever! I remember buying the action figure when I was into Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles as a kid!