Super-Con is one of those little secrets we comic geeks love to keep to ourselves. It’s a great convention that’s not really promoted and executed in the highest of fashion. This year is no exception. Because of this, it creates a more intimate atmosphere where fans and professionals can interact, but it’s not without its drawbacks. The convention is housed in a what I’d like to think is just a step up of a huge tent. There’s no air conditioning and little airflow. Humidity was through the roof, and the temperature outside was a blistering 95 degrees at one point.
Last year it was raining so it wasn’t so bad, but this year, people were / are dying. I saw one dealer leave around 2PM because he just couldn’t take the heat anymore (the show closed at 6PM). Even artists like Travis Charest didn’t stick around long. Another problem is the general lack of convention staff and programming that just felt amateurish. Having a Robotech panel where a Harmony Gold representative does nothing but regurgitate stuff that’s been out on the Internet for months isn’t my idea of a good time – and neither is making the audience scream their questions to the podium because no one has a microphone for them to use.
But the reason this show is good is because of the amount of volume dealers are liquidating. If you’ve got the patience, you’ll find tons of long boxes filled with bargain books at $1 or in some cases 25 cents! I saw some nice high grade issues of modern books for a buck, but because of my budget, I just couldn’t move on buying them. I didn’t find too many Golden Age books, but I did find some great deals on Silver Age to Bronze Age books (plus a lot of action figures at at not so outrageous prices – especially Star Wars stuff). I did pick up like eight Amazing Spider-Man issues (Civil War through Black In Black) CGC 9.8s from CW at a ridiculously good price.
For me, I love this show because it’s small enough to where lines aren’t too long and fans get a decent amount of face time with their favorite creators. At the show’s opening, I was lucky enough to make it into Adam Hughes’ sketch line. The cut off is 50 people and if you take into account that he’s charging $200 a sketch, he’s making out with $10,000 for the weekend (if he can finish). Is it me, or is that just crazy money! Anyway, I request a Gwen Stacey from him. If and when I get it, I’ll be sure to post a scan.
Because Mr. Hughes’ sketch took up most of my budget, I had to ration what I had left. This meant being picky. I went over to Amanda Connor’s table, and ended up in the wrong line and missed the cut off for sketches (the person in front of me was the last person – argh!). God, I would have loved an MJ sketch from her. She signed a few JSAs for me and so did Jimmy Palmiotti (who was sitting next to her). It was great to finally meet both of them in person. Despite the dreary heat they were upbeat and very friendly to everyone.
With my spirits temporarily dashed, I decided to hit up some of the upcoming artists for sketches. They tend to put more into their work and charge a lot less, to boot. And I gotta say, I was really happy with what I received. Laurie B., Jason Eden (Aspen Comics), Benton Jew, and Dave Dwonch (Gnome) all gave me fantastic sketches.
As the show went on I filled up my autograph list, getting stuff signed by Frank Cho (he drew me a cool dinosaur on my Shanna tradepaperback), Adam Hughes, Terry Moore (who it’s always a pleasure to see), and Travis Charest. Speaking of Mr. Charest, despite his minimal presence at the show (I think he as there for 2 hours max), he drew some very cool sketches for people and I was lucky enough to get a sweet Mary Jane. To round off my MJ experience, I dumped a load of money (that I shouldn’t have) on an original piece of art by Mike Mayhew that was from the Mary Jane novel (published way back when). It’s utterly gorgeous!
Anyway – that was the show in a nutshell. Environmentally awful, but always a fun and memorable experience.
– J. Montes