There are few things genuinely more enjoyable than conventions. It’s sprawling enjoyment catered to all your tastes and more if you’re attending the right one. My convention experience is a little bizarre compared to most other con-goes I’ve encountered, but that just may be due to fortunate location. The first convention I ever attended was San Diego Comic-Con (SDCC) 2002. I had just moved there from Michigan and didn’t know what was going on – my cousin, who was visiting, suggested we go and check it out. If anyone has attended or followed the goings-on of modern SDCC, you’ll be stunned to learn that my cousin and I walked up to the door, waited in a 45-minute moving line while filling out our membership papers, paid 12 dollars for the weekend and sauntered in as you please. It’s a whole different beast now. I was able to see SDCC morph into this near-bloated experience that is overwhelming the same way getting all your hair shouted off by a swag-covered Viking would be, approximately. Despite the criticism it receives for lines that extend for literal miles, jammed to the brim rooms, expensive costs, and inability to accommodate every car with parking, every guest with a hotel room, or every hungry attendee with enough restaurants, I love San Diego Comic-Con. It’s the highlight of my year and I doubt I’ll ever skip it so long as it stays in San Diego. It’s been going on for so long in the same place that the whole area 12-blocks out gets all gussied up for the week. Cafes and clubs get adorned with Cartoon Network murals, new Sci-fi shows or movies build functions, buying out the Hard Rock Cafe for the entire week, and so on. As promotion for the HBO Game of Thrones series, pedicabs were outfitted with a fitted Iron Throne of Westeros, but comfortably seating two. How cool is that? It’s really cool. I didn’t attend a different convention until my first year in college in 2009, where I went to Arisia in Boston. Despite my ability to manage four and a half days of completely insanity with upwards of 150,000 other people annually, I was completely not ready for a hotel-sized convention, with about a mere 2,500 attendees. By the end of the weekend, I’m not sure I had ever been more tired. The point, other than kind of bragging is that every Con, no matter the size or pedigree, is an unbeatably fantastic time.
Boston Comic-Con is coming up this weekend (officially April 20th and 21st) and I’m very excited for it, as I’ve never had to opportunity to attend a convention quite like it beofre. Often what happens at larger Cons is that famous creators are nigh-impossible to meet and if you get lucky enough to be allowed to wait in line to meet them, you get about a minute, tops. Some organizations have changed up that formula, but it’s the standard. Smaller gathers may not draw the talent many fans are looking forward to meeting; but with Boston Comic-Con that fine line seems to have been struck. They haven’t sold out of either days tickets, which aren’t at all expensive, it’s being hosted in a medium-sized venue, and has amazing creators showing up to meeting fans, conduct signings, and participate on panels. Based on what I’ve seen and heard about the atmosphere of the Con – it’s quiet relaxed and nurturing, being both family and female friendly (a necessary guarantee at such events), and just a wholesome time. Additionally, it appears to have the added bonus of having panels that feature a good mix of well-established “celebrities in their field” types with more amateur individuals who in the process of breaking in to the industry, not something you would see at San Diego or New York Comic-Cons very often.
To give you an idea, this is my incomplete collection of comics I hope to get signed by various creators during the weekend. I also have a couple of books and DVDs, so I’m extraordinarily thankful that I live a mere 10 minutes walking distance from the event site.
The guests I’m most excited to possibly meet are: Bill Willingham (Fables), Nate Bellegarde (Nowhere Men), Amanda Conner (The Pro, Before Watchmen: Silk Spectre), Sean Gordon Murphy (Punk Rock Jesus), Steve Niles (Mystery Society), and Ming Doyle (Mara). No doubt there are more that I’ll will eagerly wish to speak to, but that’s all part of the experience. There are definitely a range of interesting panels on subjects such as Pitching Comics, Writing Comics, and a spotlight on Female Creators – many of which sound way too good to pass up. And to top it all off, there’s non-stop Magic: the Gathering tournaments and drafts and a smattering of off-site after-parties hosted by a variety of Boston-based geek communities. All in all, it looks to be a fantastic weekend that will not only be a huge amount of fun for fans and creators a like, but will offer the city of Boston a good amount of levity from the events that unfolded earlier this week during the Marathon. Many concerned attendees have reached out to the convention to see if there is way to help and many guests have pledged percentages of their sales during the Con to relief fund for victims. If you’re in or near the Boston area and looking for a great way to spend the weekend for about $25 per day or $40 for both. If you’re going, let me know! A small ASM meeting could be a possibility!
My pulls for 4/17 are:
- Batwoman #19 by J.H. Williams III, Haden Blackman & Trevor McCarthy
- Wonder Woman #19 by Brian Azzarello, Tony Atkins & Dan Green
- Fables #128 by Bill Willingham & Mark Buckingham
- Five Ghosts Haunting Of Fabian Gray #2 by Frank J. Barbiere & Chris Mooneyham
- Mara #4 by Brian Wood, Ming Doyle & Jordie Bellair
- Manhattan Projects Vol. 2 by Jonathan Hickman, Nick Pitarra & Jordie Bellair
(top image contains cover art of Mara #4, Batwoman #19, Wonder Woman #19 and Fables #128)