Saturday, April 23, 2005

A Day at the Pittsburgh Comicon

On Friday I made the trek from my small town in Western PA, to the Pittsburgh Comicon in Monroeville. It’s been nearly 12 years since I went to this thing and wasn’t sure what to expect. So I conservatively paid the one day entry fee and checked out the place with my cousin.

Our first stop was with the main man himself, George Perez. It was early and a lot of people were either at work or school so the lines weren’t too long. We were able to get to Perez in a few minutes. He was a very nice guy. He signed my Judas Contract TPB and we parted ways as his line took on a life of its own. I would later return and show him the Deathstroke sketch that Scott McDaniel did for me. He used Perez's Judas Contract Deathstroke as a reference. He liked it quite a bit. Next year I want to get a Deathstroke or Batman sketch from him.

The next stop was the newly arrived JG Jones. I introduced myself and he signed my copy of WANTED #5. I was going to come back later to get a sketch, but sadly I ran out of time. He and his lady friend were very nice.

We then moved on to see Scott McDaniel. Even though he is a local creator I am told his lines are always long. We stood in line for about 2 and half hours before meeting him. While we were waiting we were surrounded by people from the UK who flew in for the con just to see him. He drew some tight sketches for everyone who asked. One of the British guys asked for Superman and the other got Nightwing. The next guy in front of me got Nightwing. I myself asked for Deathstroke. Scott used the Judas Contract TPB I had as a reference for it and sketched a fantastic piece. He said it was really fun to draw a character that he hadn’t drawn in a while. After I was done, my cousin asked for Nightwing and he graciously obliged. Scott was a nice guy who answered all my nagging fanboy questions and turned out some fantastic artwork for a great price.

While waiting for my cousins sketch to finish I hopped over to the Silent Devil Productions booth. They have a great looking comic coming out called Dracula Vs King Arthur. I got to talk to the writer Christian Beranek who posts on Millarworld quite a bit. I bought a poster there and they had a deal going where if you got one of their graphic novels for free. So I picked up Silent Devils written by Christian. I was then directed to the boot sideways from the Silent Devil one where I met Chris Moreno artist of Dracula Vs King Arthur. It was very easy to see that the Silent Devil guys were psyched about this project. Chris said that he was already penciling #2 and I told him I was looking forward to seeing it. He signed my poster and we parted ways. From the preview pages I’ve seen online and the ones in the binder at the con, this looks to be one hell of a comic.

The next stop was the food court. For what it’s worth I ate some pizza, chips and drank some spring water.

We went back into the con with two goals. I wanted to get some good reads on the cheap and my cousin wanted a Gundam model for a decent price.

I found some Deadpool and Deathstroke issues I have been missing in some 50 cent bins. I also was able to find some early WildC.A.T.’s issues on the cheap. Near the end of the con floor a guy was selling TPB’s for 40% off. I bought Rob Liefeld’s Hawk & Dove and Small Gods: A Killing Grin. I look forward to reading both.

My cousin priced all the Gundam models at the con. He was able to get a nice looking Freedom Gundam for only $41.

We then decided it was time to hit the road before we spent anymore money.

Final thoughts on the Comicon –

It was good to see so many dealer booths present. Unfortunately most of their stuff was marked up so high it would be stupid to purchase from them. Most of the bins were packed so tight, you really couldn’t even flip through them.

There were a few genre booths that focused on posters, DVDs, horror stuff, etc. I guess that helped make the con more diverse.

There were a lot of popular artists there, but the sad thing was that to get to them you had to go through the Small Press booths which housed many “starving artists” who tended to eyeball people on their way by. It was a real dose of reality because all of the artists I saw in these areas were great. Knowing that they can’t get into mainstream comics is a real eye opener. On top of that getting in as a writer is even more competitive or next to impossible. It’s just a shame that there isn’t enough work to go around for all of these talented people. If I ever come into a position where I can start my own company I would most likely recruit from these areas. The main reason being they’re hungry (not literally, but you can tell they want it) and because they usually have very good rates and impressive work.

Well that is pretty much the Pittsburgh Con in a nutshell. It was well worth the daily entry fee, but I don’t think another day’s visit is justifiable. I think I covered all I wanted to do in one day and was very happy with the results.


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