Sunday, November 30, 2014

Columbus Comic-Con a colorful blast

Michael Sangiacomo, The Plain DealerBy Michael Sangiacomo, The Plain Dealer 
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on November 01, 2014 at 2:23 PM, updated November 01, 2014 at 6:03 PM

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Comic cons are not just for comics anymore, and Wizard World Ohio is proof.
Sure, there are more comic artists and writers here than you could shake Thor's hammer at, but there is perhaps an equal number of actors from the world of television and film, and people selling everything from 40-pound swords to leather-bound diaries.
The convention opened Friday and will run through Sunday evening in the
Greater Columbus Convention Center. Promoters said it is a hit, but declined to say how many people bought tickets.
If you missed it, don't worry. Wizard World is bringing the convention to the Cleveland Convention Center in February and many of the same guests will be there.
The advantage of a smaller convention like Wizard in Columbus, as opposed to the massive conventions held annually in New York and San Diego that draw more than 150,000 people, is quite simply, there are a lot fewer people.
Promoters would disagree, but conventions reach a point of over saturation and just walking around the floor becomes a hot, sweaty, bumping chore. You have a lot of folks dressed as their favorite superhero carrying giant hammers, fake (fortunately) swords, wearing vision-restricting masks, which means a lot of inadvertent bumping.
But everyone is cool, the most popular overheard words on the floor are "excuse me."
And you can't talk about a comic convention without bringing up the people in costumes, which range from cheesy homemade get-ups to professional-looking outfits.
The big hit at this con is Harley Quinn, a Batman foe and girlfriend of the Joker. There must be at least a dozen Harley Quinns walking around.

Batman and Wonder Woman are the next most popular, with everything from children dressed as Bat-Babies and Wonder-Tots, to older guys dressed as a Batman who has seen better days.
The costumers, or cos players as they are called, are one of the big attractions at comic cons and bait for photographers.
For young comic artists like Sean Forney of Delaware, Ohio, the con is a great way to meet people and spread the word about his book, "Scarlet Hunter," which was written by his wife, Stephanie.
"The concept is this, the descendant of Little Red Riding Hood is alive today and hunts werewolves," explained Sean.
The simple, logical concept and an excellent presentation make the book work.
Forney was side by side with industry legends like Danny Fingeroth, a longtime writer and editor for Marvel Comics and the author of books like "Superman on the Couch: What Superheroes Tell Us About Our Society."

Fingeroth, who will chair a panel Sunday afternoon honoring the late Cleveland comic writer Harvey Pekar, said he is always amazed at the long memory that people have when it comes to comics.
"I'm still stopped by people who are upset about the Spider-Man clone saga story we did in the 1990s," he said. "I was the editor and we wanted to shock people and shake things up. Well, we did that."
The concept of the storyline was that the Spider-Man that a generation of readers knew was not the real Spider-Man, but was in fact a clone who believed he was Spider-Man. The year-long series of stories drew such outrage from fans that by the end it was revealed that Spider-Man was the real Spider-Man and the clone was just a clone.
Legendary comic artist Neal Adams, whose realistic style literally changed the face of comics in the late 1960s, has a huge booth, but he did not attend.
"It turned out he had to attend a very small convention in Rhode Island that he had promised to do," explained Buzz Adams, who manned the booth. "Neal is like that, he may seem like a curmudgeon to people, but he loves kids and the Rhode Island event was important to him."
Even though Adams is not in Columbus, they are selling signed prints which will include a 3D seal of authenticity. Adams spent hours signing and authenticating hundreds of prints of superheroes like Batman, Superman, and dozens of other Marvel and DC characters.
The choice posters are exclusive drawings of Penguin and Catwoman from the new "Gotham" television show.

Beyond the convention floor, there are dozens of panels where guests talk to fans about important subjects like "From Cap's Shield to Agents of Shield to Groot" featuring Fingeroth and Medina comic writer Tony Isabella.
There is an entire panel devoted to "The Walking Dead," talking about the TV series that was such a surprise hit when it first aired five years and is more popular than ever. It is based on the Image Comics series of the same name.
Film and television actors like Shannen Doherty from "Charmed" and Robert Englund," Freddy from "A Nightmare on Elm Street," had long lines of fans ready to pay $50 for an autographed picture.
"I'm a big fan of the series," said Matt Linson, of Degraff, Ohio, in line for Englund. "It's well worth it for me to pay $50 to get an autograph."

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