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River City Comic Con: The Con on the Surface of the Sun

4 August 2011 by

I spent a long day at this past Sunday at River City Comic Con at the Fairgrounds in Marietta, Ohio. Over 450 people came through the con that day; from little kids to old men. The local press was around to cover the event, favorably, and so was I.

The location of the con was not the best. We were not near any places to get food and I had a heck of a time driving around looking for a place to get batteries for my camera. Not in the middle of nowhere just further away than I would have liked and no signs to point the way. The layout for the con was pretty good though. The guests were set up in the middle and the vendors were along the side with plenty of room to walk and browse between them. They had a gaming area with Heroclix running most of the day and a few Magic players sat down as well. Plus the concession stand was nicely priced and had some tables to eat at. The tables for the kids to get their face painted and draw were at the far end with room. There was really only one major problem with the place that I’ll discuss below.

I got to chat with most of the artists at the con. They all asked how the con was going for me and we would end up discussing their work or comics in general or some other geek related topic. I picked up a CD that contained digital copies of all of Broken Icon Comics’ comics. They told me about their own con they are planning and how they plan to use me to spread the word about it. The members of the Ohio Valley Artist League (OVAL) each had their own tables. Some of the guys recognized me from Gem City Comic Con even. Nathan Arnold, Evan Bevins, Z. D. Brooker, Michael Easton, and Matthew Law all had their own comics and art for sell plus the OVAL Anthology book for sell.

There were a few different artists there who had manga influenced work I got to chat to about anime, manga, and other related topics. Thanks to Alia Reed, Stephanie Merrill, Kayla Renner, Derek Croston, and their friends for keeping me company and all the art.

J. D. Williamson the caricature artist was able to talk me into getting a caricature of myself, as Lion-O of the Thundercats, plus he did one of Mokona. Terence Hanley had his comic and monster coloring books out, plus cutouts of the Mothman, Flatwoods Monsters, and his own creation Lucky Girl which made him stand out. I had him do his first ever sketch card work and asked me several questions about them too.

The local Jugger players spent the day talking to people about their game. They had several of the weapons they use in the game and a TV that alternated between showing the movie which the game is from and videos of them playing the game. At 4pm they headed outside to do a demo game for all to watch. It was very interesting and looked like a lot of fun. A cross between boffer combat and Qwidich in my opinion. I just wished they had let some of us watching try it out for a bit.

The vendors at the con all had good deals for their stock and they were very friendly. I forgot my comic checklist at one of them and he held on to it for me till I came looking for it. I did feel a little lack in variety at the con though. I do not know why. There were new comics, old comics, collector comics, trade paper backs, graphic novels, toys, and games. But it felt like the same old same old. It was a first year show though and I think people were playing it safe. One vendor had 80′s Optimus Prime and Megatron in the original packaging. For only $250 someone walked away with both of them. I wish I could say it had been me.

The con had several things for kids to do. From face paintings to coloring contests to all the cool stuff to look at. Everyone had fun talking with the kids, showing off art, collectibles, and their costumes to them. The kids all seemed to be having a blast themselves. In fact I really can only think of one kid there that I heard throwing a tantrum. Several of the kids had costumes for the contest and just to look cute in.

There were not too many costumes at the con, but they were good. A full Nightcrawler with tail, Professor X (in a rolling chair instead of a wheelchair) and Cyclops, and Rorschach just to name a few. I even saw an obligatory Darth Vader for a second. Kids’ costumes included Supergirl, Spider-Man, Iron Man, Optimus Prime, Green Lantern, and several other adorable ones. You can vote for your favorites to win the costume contests on their Facebook page. Voting ends on August 1st and I expect you all to vote for Red Lantern Mokona. Just look at the rage in his eyes, think what will happen if you don’t.

For all the fun and good there was one big problem with the con. The place was hot. The building was designed to keep the heat in during the winter. During the summer it just roasts. For most of the day it was actually cooler outside than in. You had to be careful when looking at comics so you did not drop any sweat on them. The brains of the vendors and artists started to get effect. At least the con sold sweat rags…….. I mean t-shirts. I went out to my car and turn the air conditioning on full blast later in the day just to cool off. Going out to watch the Jugger demo was a treat cause at least there was a breeze. This is what everyone mentioned when talking about the con. They have promised to find somewhere cooler (meaning with AC) next year.

Overall the con is a good one for local fans to check out. Very big with the local independents and very kid friendly. Not a lot of planned events but still a lot to do, if you could stand the heat. Next year will hopefully be even better.

Keep up at http://mkeaston.com/rivercity/ to hear about next year.

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