SC Comicon

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Even though in recent years Myrtle Beach has not one but two comic conventions (XCon and Myrtle Beach Comicon), I have been keeping an eye on SC Comicon in Greenville. Last year it was the same weekend as XCon and even so I was tempted to go as it had the far superior guest list. I like the Greenville area but haven’t been there since a now defunct hot air balloon festival a few years ago, so some year seems like it would be a good idea to go.

I’ve been listening to the podcasted recordings of panels from this year’s event published by The Dollar Bin podcast. It is impressive how good each and every one of them has been. Even though I am grumpy about media guests, the panel with John Wesley Shipp was one of the best I’ve ever heard for a genre actor.

I think I have to make it a priority to push this con up the stack. They haven’t named a date for 2016, but one of these years I need to go. The previous two years have ranged from March to May, so I assume next year will be somewhere springish. I can only hope the dealer’s room is to my liking, which is less about geegaws and DVDs and toys, and more about boxes and boxes of cheap old comics. If so, step over me as I hunch over the boxes with my list until my aging back gets too sore. I can’t wait.

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Evil Genius Chronicles Podcast for May 19 2015 – Around the Podiosphere

In this episode, I talk a bit about the real world hitches that keep delaying the show; I talk about some podcast listening I have enjoyed including Gregg Schigiel interviewing Jackie Kashian; Eddie Peppitone; Brian Quinn and Sal Vulcano; I talk about a local con that is losing me; I bring up unproductive ways people disagree; I talk about where I think modern reporting is losing me; I close by playing a weird piece of music that is also one of my favorites.

Here is the direct MP3 download for the Evil Genius Chronicles podcast, May 19 2015

Links mentioned in this episode:

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XCon 2010 Wrapup with My Bob Camp Story

Bob Camp at XCon 2010

This year I attended the XCon comic book convention in Myrtle Beach at Springmaid Beach Resort a few weekends ago, as I have for all three years of its existence. I’m told the attendance was the largest so far and on the growth track that one might expect for the third year of a newish regional con. I had a good time myself. This was the longest time I ever spent on the floor, getting there right at when it opened on Friday at 2 PM and staying through about 5 PM or so, and then spending another 5 or so hours on Saturday. It’s one of those things where a convention in the town you already live in is tougher to spend time at than an out of town one. When I go to Heroescon or Dragon*Con, I check into a nearby hotel and basically do nothing but the con. When I go to XCon, I still have all my normal life in play to work around.

There seemed to be fewer of the ultra-cheap comic dealers at the con this year. I do my standard heuristic where I scope out all the boxes, and then dig through the boxes in order of cheapest up. What I do is try to go through each dealer’s bargain bins thoroughly all the way, one time and one time only. It takes a while but going back and forth is a super drag and very difficult to keep track of. Thus, once I’m done I’m done. I did find a fair number of books I was looking for. It’s one of those great feelings in a comic collectors life finding books that were already on your wishlist in 50 cent or 3/$1 boxes.

Dalek at XCon 2010

There seemed to be a lot of gaming around. If I had a little more time to devote to it I would have actually tried to get into one of the games of Fiasco that were being run by Darren G. Miller. I had just read up on the game a few days before the con and then in one of those small town coincidences met Darren when he was talking to one of his friends who is also on my softball team. There was a good bit of buzz around the area with the games being run and a lot of smiling people that seemed to be having a good time. There were lots of costumes, and a thing called “Lolita cafe” that seemed to involve lots of the young women cosplayers and what one dude on Twitter wondered “how this wasn’t getting the whole venue shut down.” I never did venture upstairs to see what it was all about.

I got books signed by local comics pro Jonathan Hickman and chatted to him a little about Thor and Nick Fury, two characters he is currently writing. Over the course of my time, I tried to pick up something from a lot of the pros that had books for sale. I’d guess that I bought a little something from around half the guests at the tables. Generally if the only thing available were higher priced paintings and sketches I passed, but if you had a comic for a few bucks, I got that. I feel a little bad for the media guests every year. I never know who the people are, not many folks are talking to them and I usually just walk past them briskly.

I will have to say that one of the coolest part of the whole deal was the full size Dalek. It had a voice treatment that sounded spookily authentic and moved about like the Daleks in all the Dr. Who shows I’ve watched. I was assuming a dude had a radio control setup with a microphone and I kept looking for it. Eventually I found out there was a guy inside the Dalek. Holy time lords, that is dedication! I can’t imagine actually doing that but I’m a little claustrophobic.

All in all, I had a good time. I heard some of the organizational stuff about 2011 already, and I think they are going to a solid 2 day Saturday/Sunday con and getting rid of the half Friday, which I think is a good move. Overall, I think things are right where you want them to be and progressing nicely. It’s nice to have a local con and especially one that is more relaxing than the heavyweight other Southeastern cons.

So here is the Bob Camp part of the story. He was an inaugural guest at year one, and came back this year. I’ll admit that I’m not a huge fan of Ren and Stimpy, of which he was a co-creator. I like it well enough whenever it was on TV but I never sought it out. Still, he seems like a really great guy and folks who had talked to him report it being really fun. I would have enjoyed that and I was looking for a reason to talk to him.

Bob Camp Sketch from XCon 2010

As I was browsing through some of the magazine boxes (where I found a copy of an old Warren Spirit!), I ran across Savage Tales #5. I remember buying issue #1 when I was a teenager, mainly because of the Michael Golden artwork. As I pulled it out and looked for it, I noticed the signature on the cover painting – Bob Camp. “Hell yeah,” I though to myself and gladly shelled out the $2 for this very nice copy and took it over to Bob’s table to get it signed.

His eyes kind of bugged out when I handed it to him to sign. He said “Wow! I haven’t seen that in years. I did the painting and sold the original, and I don’t even have a copy of this issue. The only scan I have is low resolution and not that great.” My reply was to hand him the copy and tell him to keep it. “I’m not attached to it,” I said. “I’ve only owned it a few minutes.” He felt bad about just taking the magazine so he offered to do a “really nice sketch for me” in exchange for it. I said sure and went off about my business. I gave him some time and came back about half an hour later, and he handed me the Ren and Stimpy pencil sketch to the right. Check out the full-sized scan on Flickr to get a sense of what it really looks like. I really like it. He did not lie, it is indeed really nice.

So, it was neat to have this little exchange with Bob. To be honest, even without him giving me the sketch I would have given him the magazine just for the story of it all. It was a win-win. I got a nice sketch that he was selling for $20 in exchange for a magazine I paid $2 for. He got a copy of his work that he had been missing for 25 years in exchange for a few minutes of drawing time. I got to talk to him and hang out, and he seemed really happy to have the copy to scan. These are the kinds of moments I always shoot for at cons, and it was great to get one at my local show. Rock on, comic nerds!

XCon 2010 – Myrtle Beach’s Comic Book Convention

Starting tomorrow and running through Sunday Oct 24, the 3rd annual XCon comic book convention will be held at Springmaid Beach Resort in Myrtle Beach. The con was the cover story of this week’s Weekly Surge, so hopefully that will help bring some locals in. I did like the cover with it’s Marvel style cover including Steve and Robin as superheroes launching off of Springmaid Pier.

I’ve been to all of them so far and am looking forward to this one as well. It’s a no brainer, occurring in my area as it is. I tend to focus on filling in my wishlist from the cheap comic boxes. Last year there were several vendors with 3/$1 boxes and I’d be delighted to see some more of them this year. I’m also planning on getting a lot of stuff signed by area comics creator Jonathan Hickman. I met him at the first XCon and bought everything he had published at the time, which was mostly his Image work. Since then, he’s come on strong as a hot ticket writer for Marvel Comics. I just recently bought and enjoyed his Ultimate Thor so I’ll be getting that signed and chatting with him about it for sure.

One of the nice things about this con is that its the opposite of Dragon*Con or Heroes Con. It’s growing but still a pretty small regional con. You have plenty of time and room to shop, and lots of chances to talk to and interact with creators. As much as I enjoy those larger cons, they exhaust me with the bustle and size of them. I don’t mind having one at the opposite end of the spectrum in my year as well. Hope I see you there!

XCon in Myrtle Beach is NOW

Myrtle Beach’s comic book convention XCon is happening this weekend at the Springmaid Beach Resort. This turns out to be a huge weekend in the Grand Strand with multiple Oktoberfests, the fall bike rally, the Live Oak Art and Music Festival plus I’m sure other stuff. It’s going to take an unusually early trip to the dog park just to get this all in.

I’ll be spending what time I can out at the XCon convention, shopping for comics and getting books signed by the creators . I’m looking forward to meeting Roy Thomas, Frank Brunner, Joe Staton, Jonathan Hickman and the other creators. I could use some escapism. Hope to see you there!

XCon the Myrtle Beach Comic Convention is Oct 2-4, 2009

In a few weekends, this coming October 2, 3 and 4 will be XCon in Myrtle Beach. This is the second year for this con. I was only able to attend for a few hours on the Friday last year but was surprised how much fun it was. I expect better things from this year. It will be held at the Springmaid Resort right on the beach.

I’ve been working on getting my collection filed and bagged and tamed anyway, so I’ll be bringing out some of my old issues with me. Long time comics creators like Joe Staton (E-man! Green Lantern!), Roy Thomas (JSA! Infinity Inc! Conan!) and Frank Brunner (Warp! Howard the Duck!) will be there, and I’ll be getting stuff signed. Newer talents like Ethan Van Sciver and Jonathan Hickman will also be there, and I’ll also be getting work signed by them. It’s just that the scotch tape on the comic bags won’t have disintegrated into goo. The best part of a smallish regional con in its early years is that you have an amazing amount of access to the creators. Several of these people were also at Heroes Con but I never was willing to stand in line long enough to talk to them and get an autograph. I guarantee it will be a lot easier here.

I still haven’t figured out my approach to the whole thing. I might be willing to get the VIP tickets and go to the Friday party and all. I’m sure I won’t be there every minute of all three days. The dog park is only a few blocks away so I might take a real life break to go meet my wife and dog there at some point. It’s actually harder to attend things like this in your own town. When I go to Heroes Con or Dragon*Con, I’m in a hotel away from home and don’t have my normal life to deal with. I’m in the room, a restaurant or the con which is generally an easy decision. When it is the same place where you live, you don’t generally get to shut off your real life and responsibilities for three days.

At both Heroes Con and Dragon*Con, I did a fair amount of digging through the 2/$1 and 3/$1 long boxes. If I’ve got all weekend to do some wishlist hunting, I might do it in smaller chunks. I found out at last year’s XCon that my old knees and back prevent me from hunching over boxes under tables for long stretches of time. I think my strategy will be to make multiple smaller purchases at more frequent intervals. That’s my favorite part of cons like this, looking for cheap back issues. Happiness is finding a book in the bargain bin that was already on your list.

I’d love to see this con be successful and continue to grow because I like having it right here, easily accessible and right by the beach. If you are a comic book fan within driving distance, come and check it out. It will be a good time.

“Dave Slusher, Local Comic Book Fan”

I can live with the label in the title. I was interviewed by Roger Yale for this weeks cover article in the Weekly Surge (the Surge is weird about permalinks, follow that link quick if you want to see the actual article) about the XCon in Myrtle Beach. I was highly worried when I talked to Roger that I wasn’t giving him anything useful. It turned out alright, which is more a testament to Roger than me.

I won’t get to attend the second day of the convention but the first was surprisingly good, especially being a kind of odd 3 PM to 6 PM deal. My main hope was that the thing made enough money (or lost little enough) that they’d do another one and make this an annual event. That appears to be a realistic outcome based on what I saw yesterday and what I read in the article. It certainly wasn’t huge but I was there for a few hours and had a great time. It’s going on today until 7 PM. If you can get yourself there, I’d urge you to do it.

My only problem was that as I get older, digging through long boxes of comics located underneath folding tables for 15 minutes at a time while kneeling on cement floors has become an arduous physical task. There has got to be a better way.

This Weekend is the Myrtle Beach Comic Convention

This weekend is when the comic book convention in Myrtle Beach happens. It will be held at the Springmaid Resort which is at the very south tip of Ocean Boulevard. My original plan was to spend all day Saturday over there, but it turns out I have to travel on Saturday. However they are operating from 3 to 6 PM on Friday, and I’ll go over and check it out during that time. I’ll take my list with me and see what gaps I can fill in in my comic collection. I’ve been getting back into comics after being mostly dormant for a decade and it hasn’t been easy to get contiguous runs going. Maybe tomorrow can help. I’ll see you Grand Strand nerds over there!

Convention Season

I’m thinking a lot about conventions lately. This is the first year where not only am I not going to Podcast Expo but I never for a second even considered going. I was scheduled to speak last year but when it came down not only was my day job so crushing at the time but it had been for months and I just couldn’t do it. I had to cancel a few weeks before the show, which was a crappy way to go about it and made me feel bad. However when it came to the actual missing of the show other than not being able to hang out with my friends, I was OK with not going. The extended to this year when I just never considered going at all. Nothing against the event but a combination of losing the scruffy charm of the Ontario CA conference center and just not having much interest in the “podcast industry” as a goal left me uninterested this year.

In contrast, since I have a reborn Reality Break on my hands, I’m trying to increase my attendance at science fiction and comic book conventions. That’s where I choose to put my energy and travel budget now rather than Podcast Expo. I’d rather go where my potential listeners and fans are. People generally have this idea of promoting their show at Podcast Expo but really that’s not a great place for promotion unless your goal is to get the attention primarily of other podcasters.

However because I’m ever less enthralled with getting on airplanes the cons I attend will skew heavily towards the southeast where I can drive to them. I missed Heroes Con but I will be attending Dragon*Con where I will be participating in the podcasting track and also doing interviews. I hope to make it to Small Press Expo in Bethesda, Maryland this fall and do some interviews there too. I have an invitation to OryCon in Portland OR that I’m thinking hard about but is low probability. I’d love to do it as I have lots of friends out there but it’s just such a shlep to get there and back. When I went in 2006 I ended up losing most of one of my days with friends and sleeping in Ohare airport.

There is a new comic convention called XCon that will be starting up in Myrtle Beach this Halloween season. I’ll obviously go to that one. If people have suggestions of good cons for both promoting my work and getting new interview material recorded, let me know. The probability that I can go decreases with the square of the distance from the South Carolina coast but I’d love to know about them.