It is a truth universally acknowledged . . . No. Let me rephrase. Waiting sucks.
I was in line at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, IL. Shoulders smarting, back stiff as a statute, legs wobbly like a wooden easel, I was waiting for Josh Peck, a guest at this year’s (August 21-24) Chicago Wizard World Con. Josh is best known for starring opposite Drake Bell in the Nicklodeon show Drake & Josh. My daughter loved that show, and I was standing in line for her.
Josh finally arrived, and a great cheer went up–until he realized neither he nor his handler had any photos for him to sign. So we waited another 20 minutes. Chatted him up (his take on appearing in the remake of Red Dawn: “Awesome.”). Someone asked if he would yell “Megan!”, his signature line from Drake & Josh; he politely declined. Oh, and I got a selfie.
(OK, it wasn’t a selfie; I asked someone to take the pic. Shows you how superannuated I am.)
Josh was friendly but ill-at-ease. You could tell he was a convention novice, as opposed to, say, Lou Ferrigno. A regular at Wizard World cons, Lou is best known for his role as the Hulk in the 1978 CBS television series. I got a chance to talk to him for a few minutes.
Me: How did you get started doing conventions?
Lou: I was out with a friend of mine one time, and I went to a place in Hollywood where they had a convention. I walked around, and they kept telling me I ought to do a convention because the fans really want my autograph. I’m so used to giving autographs, and I thought, why not have a table? That’s how it started. It’s a good living.
Me: How long have you been doing conventions?
Lou: About 15 years.
Me: What are some crazy fan stories you can share?
Lou: I had a woman one time who came to me about a year ago, and she had a Hulk tattoo on her leg, and she had my signature tattooed on her leg. She had both legs done, and she wanted to take a picture, and her husband is standing there looking like, every morning I have to get up and look at my wife’s legs with your signature and the Hulk’s picture.
Me: I guess we saw where her loyalties lie. How did you get into character to play the Hulk?
Lou: It came naturally to me. I use pantomiming, acting without speaking, and they just loved it. I used the sensitive part of me to become the character.
Me: You have talked a lot about an actual actor playing the Hulk versus CGI. You’ve said people have told you they preferred your version.
Lou: Over 90% of the people have said that.
Me: Why do you think that is?
Lou: CGI cannot compete with a human Hulk. There is no sensitivity. The Hulk, the character I created, with his vulnerability and sensitivity—it can never be replaced.
Me: When I was growing up, my mother didn’t let me watch the Hulk because she said he was “vulgar.” Did you ever get negative comments from people who didn’t like the character?
Lou: The only negative was a lot of mothers hated me because their sons ripped their shirts and walked around the house that way.
Another headliner was Stan Lee, whose first autograph session was scheduled for 5:00pm on Friday. I had paid online for an autograph ($80!), and though the ticket was good all weekend, I thought going the first day would help me eschew half-day lines. At 4:00, I strolled to his booth, saw about 20 people standing there, and got in line. Wonderful! I thought. Then: this doesn’t seem right. Next, I noticed three things in the span of 10 seconds:
The Stan Lee VIP badges around the necks of the people in front of me;
- To my left, a separate line of proletariat-looking people, where I clearly belonged; and
- A con staffer walking toward me.
Once I was moved to the correct line, I waited about an hour, which isn’t bad. At one point, someone said Stan Lee was somewhere in the exhibit hall posing for pictures FREE. I found him, took this picture, and noticed something strange. Do you see it too?
Five points to Gryffindor if you recognize that this person isn’t Stan Lee. I don’t know whether he was a cosplayer, a doppleganger, or something else, but I later got a candid (read: surreptitious) pic of the real deal.
Stan was terrific, charming and humble, and his line managers took a bend-but-don’t-break approach that I appreciated. In fact, all the crowds were well managed. One helpful feature was a signing schedule at every celebrity’s booth, like this one at Josh Peck’s.
Despite being the biggest event in the Wizard World portfolio, Chicago was a delight. I did a lot of waiting, but that is unavoidable, and I passed the time gawking at some world-class cosplayers. The rooms were laid out well, prices were clearly advertised, most things happened on time, and I saw little tension among staff or attendees. CGC was doing comic book grading on site, and that also went well, probably because Stan Lee had his own booth.
If you go to only one Wizard World con ever, make it Chicago. You’ll have a ball. Here are a few more pics to show you why.
No, this isn’t security removing an unruly attendee; it’s just a cadre of cosplayers.
The long and short of it.
Doin’ the Cybertron shuffle.
Looking forward to the Ant Man movie in 2015.
Even the queen had a good time hanging with a few (dis)loyal subjects.
The Hero Initiative, the charity dedicated to helping veteran comic creators in medical or financial need, is hitting the Baltimore Comic Con in a massive way. Hero will be at booth #1601 September 5-7, 2014 with exclusive creators, signings, and more!
Hero will be the only place to find legendary writer Dennis O’Neil (Batman, Green Lantern/Green Arrow) and longtime fabled Marvel artist and editor Al Milgrom (Avengers, Spectacular Spider-Man). Look for them all weekend long at booth #1601.
Hero’s exclusive Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide #44 will also be on sale at Baltimore, and ALL three artists who created the cover will be on hand for a special signing! Penciler Herb Trimpe, inker Tom Palmer, and colorist Laura Martin will be at the Hero booth Saturday from 10:15 a.m.-11:00 a.m. It’s your PERFECT chance to get this great limited edition signed by three comic greats!
Fans who like to get their books signed and authenticated by CGC for Signature Series will definitely want to check out Hero’s exclusive signing with 11 top creators. Hero is the exclusive CGC Signature Series facilitator at the con for Cliff Chiang, Alan Davis, Dan Jurgens, Ron Marz, Bob McLeod, Al Milgrom, Mark Morales, Denny O’Neil, Tom Palmer, Brian Pulido, and Herb Trimpe! Bring your books to the CGC booth, #707, no later than 5 p.m. Friday, September 5. Cost is $38 plus return shipping, and you don’t have to wait in lines!
And Marvel Comics SVP-Executive Editor Tom Brevoort is dropping the knowledge for Hero! Tom’s Marvel Boot Camp panel at the con will be a special, ticketed-only seminar in which Tom gives the same training lecture he gives the Marvel editorial staff. Find out the real Marvel method of storytelling and important tricks of the trade! Tickets are available ONLY at the Hero booth, and the seminar lasts a whopping two hours, from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Sunday, September 7.
Finally, make sure your evening is covered with a trip to the Harvey Awards! Hero Initiative is awarding its Lifetime Achievement Award and Dick Giordano Humanitarian Award as part of the festivities. Be on hand to see who’s earned the hardware!
About The Hero Initiative
The Hero Initiative is the first-ever federally chartered not-for-profit corporation dedicated strictly to helping comic-book creators in need. Hero creates a financial safety net for yesterday’s creators who may need emergency medical aid, financial support for essentials of life, and an avenue back into paying work. It’s a chance for all of us to give back something to the people who have given us so much enjoyment.
Since its inception, The Hero Initiative has granted more than $700,000 to the comic-book veterans who have paved the way. For more information, visit www.heroinitiative.org or call 626-676-6354.
Fred Van Lente, Tony Kordos, Wil Quintana, Ozzy Fernandez sign at Heroes Haven on Saturday, March 15, 2014 from 2:00 pm until 6:00 pm!
Dynamite Comics is bringing MAGNUS ROBOT FIGHTER back! To celebrate the release, Magnus Robot Fighter writer FRED VAN LENTE (Marvel Zombies, Cowboys & Aliens, Deadpool, Archer & Armstrong) will join our Heroes’ Haven Comics Exclusive Cover artists OZZY FERNANDEZ, TONY KORDOS and WIL QUINTANA! These exclusives will sell out quick! CGC CERTIFICATION AVAILABLE! Grab a copy, get them signed and hang out with us! Be there or be square! For more information and RSVP click here…
THE GOLD KEY UNIVERSE IS EXPANDING! Superstar Fred Van Lente (Marvel Zombies, Amazing Spider-Man, Archer & Armstrong) and the astounding Cory Smith (Fathom) present a stunning re-imagining of Magnus: Robot Fighter you never saw coming! In the blink of an eye, young martial artist Magnus has everything taken from him…his father, his wife, his entire life. He’s suddenly thrust into a futuristic world he doesn’t understand, populated by humans and robots living together in oppression! Can Magnus fight to get his life back…and once he learns the truth about himself, will he want to? Magnus: Robot Fighter#1 hits stands on Wednesday March 12, 2014.
4339 Gunn Hwy, Tampa, FL 33618
The Baltimore Comic-Con is happy to welcome the collector services of CGC, ComicLink, ComicsPriceGuide.com, The Restoration Lab, Collectibles Insurance Services, and Desert Wind Comics to the line-up of exhibitors at this year’s show. The 12th Annual Baltimore Comic-Con will be held August 20-21, 2011 at the Baltimore Convention Center.
Certified Guaranty Company, better known as CGC, is an independent, impartial, third-party comic book grading service. Providing their customers with expert grading and conservation through their slabbing process, CGC has graded more than 1 million comics over the last decade. In addition to the many levels of grading services provided, CGC also provides witness services for authenticating signed collectibles.
As one of the largest online comic auction houses, ComicLink has built its reputation on the quality of the services provided to their customers. Focusing on vintage comics and original art, ComicLink also serves as a brokerage house and direct sales platform for collectors to sell their items. In recent years, ComicLink has seen many record-breaking sales for Golden and Silver Age keys.
ComicsPriceGuide.com (CPG) is the premiere online price guide. CPG offers a host of information to their subscribers and visitors alike, including: accurate and up-to-date pricing information; coverage of the vintage comic auction market and other industry news; and forums for collectors to meet and share information. In addition, CPG allows subscribers to create an online database to store and track their collection as it continues to grow.
For 25 years, The Restoration Lab, under the direction of Susan Cicconi, has restored and helped preserve vintage comic books. Services provided by the Restoration Lab include cleaning, pressing, and restoration of books to improve their aesthetic appearance. All services provided adhere to the strict guideline of paper conservation and Cicconi is recognized throughout the industry as the foremost expert in restoration.
Collectibles Insurance Services provides insurance coverage for a wide variety of collectibles, including: artifacts; books; clocks; coins; comic books; dolls; guns & knives; military paraphernalia; quilts; model trains; and much more.
Desert Wind Comics is an independent CGC Signature Series Service provider that secures witnessed autographs for collectors by working closely with such creators as Stan Lee, John Romita Sr., Joe Simon, and Carmine Infantino. Over the last decade, Desert Wind has organized signings all over the United States and Canada with some of the most sough-after creators in the comic industry.
“We’re delighted to have all of these companies exhibiting at this year’s show,” said Marc Nathan, show promoter of the Baltimore Comic-Con. “The fans and collectors are the ones who make comic conventions possible and these vendors provide valuable services to help them preserve and protect their collectibles.”
Adam Miller, Charles Wilson III, and Tyler James sign at Larry’s Comics on May 1st for Free Comic Book Day.
Larry’s Comics has plenty of events lined up for FCBD this weekend; special friend and zombie master Adam Miller will be signing the exclusive Larry’s Comics edition of ZombieBomb! (see cover above) from 11am-2pm. Charles Wilson III, artist of one of 2009′s best received indie comics Stuff of Legends, will be on hand, and local artist Tyler James has graciously offered to draw free sketch cards from 11am-2pm. Also CGC will be grading books, Larry will be cooking up his famous hot dogs, and of course there’s free comics!!
Greetings, fellow comic fans!
We are proud to make a few of several upcoming announcements regarding Virginia’s first 2-day show in over 25 years!
First off, we have a slew of swell artists and writers lined up for the show including:
and DOZENS more! Additionally, we have some top exhibitors signed up to display including:
CGC (their final scheduled event of 2009!)
The Hero Initiative
the Mike Wieringo Scholarship
Heroes Aren’t Hard to Find
Cards Comics and Collectibles
Brett’s Comic Pile
and DOZENS more!
We will have many comic panels scheduled all day long, including:
A discussion on Edgar Church by Chuck Rozanski
a GI Joe panel with Larry Hama, Chuck Dixon and Robert Atkins!
We will have an exclusive Top Cow comic book: Witchblade #132 with a VERY special sketch holiday cover by guest Randy Green!
Also, we are looking for folks wishing to moderate discussion panels, as well as volunteers and CGC witnesses. E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested.
Finally, and this is very special, Adam Lucas, the current #1 competitor in DC Comics’ ZUDA COMPETITION with his entry “Goldilock” has agreed to come to the show if we help him to win! The voting ends in less than 24 hours. He is in a dead heat for #1, and if you could kindly visit http://www.zudacomics.com/node/1261 and login and vote him in as your favorite, he will come to our show! What a cool deal! YOU can help us get an additional hot young artist to come to the show. Interactive convention-going!
Well…That is about it…oh yeah…there is a FREE sci-fi themed bowling party on Saturday night…and two-day passes start at $9.95, with children, folks with student IDs or Military IDs getting in FREE both days!
You have nothing to lose…visit http://www.VAcomicon.com for more information!
Go ahead and vote for Adam so he will come to the show! Visit our site, and help to make a difference in the first 2-day show in Virginia in over 25 years! Awesome!
owner Brett’s Comic Pile in Richmond, VA
Sponsor of the 2008 and 2009 Harvey Awards
Promoter of the VA Comicon on November 21-22
Weekly Woburn Warehouse Show, has BEGUN!
Get in on the Ground Floor! This show is a BLAST!
NEXT UP Thursday September 3rd. FREE TABLE IF YOU BOOK THE FOLLOWING WEEK! 4PM-8PM We are inviting you to join us for our new weekly comics book and collectables show. Comics, Cards, Toys. Tables are only $25! (35 tables)
The Show runs 4pm-8pm. Admission is a measley $1. Coming at ya like freight train EVERY Week! What else do you have to do on a Thursday night anyway?? You can submit books for CGC grading every week at the show! Collectors thinking of selling??? Buy a table. This show is going to be a blast!
Retailers reserve your tables now! 978-459-5323
Best Western Hotel, MONTVALE AVE , WOBURN, MA right off rt 93 (EXIT 36) take a right!
LONG BEACH COMIC CON OCTOBER 2-4, 2009 AT THE LONG BEACH CONVENTION CENTER
Marvel To Provide Limited Edition Incentive Book
Lionsgate Films And Aspen Entertainment Already Signed Up To Exhibit
(Baltimore, MD May 13, 2009) MAD Event Management is proud to announce the Long Beach Comic Con, to be held
October 2-4, 2009 at the Long Beach Convention Center (LBCC) in downtown Long Beach. The convention will feature the industry’s best and brightest comic book talent, publishers, gaming companies, mass-media guests and must-attend programming sessions.
In a show of support for this brand new convention Marvel has already pledged a limited edition incentive book which will be offered exclusively for show attendees who pre-order tickets. Lionsgate Films (SAW VI & Daybreakers) will be exhibiting on the show floor as well as comic publisher Aspen.
“The facility and staff at the LBCC are awesome, and the fans in the area that I had the privilege to meet at previous comic cons left a strong impression on me as well as on the guests and exhibitors. We’re excited to be coming back in October,” said event planner Martha Donato, President of MAD Event Management.
Currently scheduled to exhibit on the show floor are Aspen Entertainment, CGC, and Fourth Dimension Entertainment. New exhibitors are signing up every day. Further announcements will be made with updated exhibitors.
Notable comic artists committed to appear thus far include: Jimmy Palmiotti (Jonah Hex), Amanda Conner (Supergirl), Peter Tomasi (Green Lantern), Tim Bradstreet (Punisher, Blade), Dustin Nguyen (Detective Comics), Scott Lobdell (Uncanny X-Men) and Peter Stiegerwald (Soulfire, Fathom: Kiani, Ultimate Wolverine).
For a complete list of events, guests, activities, ticket prices and times, visit www.longbeachcomiccon.com.
Tickets will also be available at select comic book and hobby shops in the Los Angeles area.
About MAD Event Management
MAD Event Management is an all-purpose event planning facilitator whose principal owner has over 12 years of experience producing annual large-scale consumer conventions around the country, including Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, Chicago and Dallas. MAD’s capabilities include: Site Selection, Exhibit Staffing, Marketing Plans, Vendor Selection, Floor Plan Development, On-Site Execution, Sponsor Exhibitor Sales, Travel Management, Contract Development, Setup & Disassembly and Contract Coordination. Visit www.madeventmanagement.com for additional information.