Super-Fly Comics & Games opened its doors in August 2007 after buying the new comics & graphic novels business of Dark Star Books. Since then we have expanded further into video, card, board and role-playing games; movies; manga; toys; t-shirts; statues and other cool things. Be sure to ask about our subscription pull file service to get 15% off almost everything in the store and our 10% discount for college students and military personnel.

We're located at 132 Dayton Street in Yellow Springs, Ohio. You can reach us at (937) 767-1445 or superflycomics@gmail.com.
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READ MY LIBRARY ENTRY 59: Getting Ready for C2E2 2014 with Unearthed Coverage of C2E2 2013!

As you read this update, Max and the rest of the Super-Fly crew are on their way to Chicago for C2E2 2014!!!  What could they possibly be in store for?  What is C2E2 all about?  But waitaminute, whatever happened at C2E2 2013?  We never told you did we?  Yes, it’s been a long time coming, but now the story of Super-Fly at C2E2 2013 can be told at last! Find out what happened Thursday evening with the Super-Fly crew, as well as coverage and pictures from all of Friday, Saturday, Sunday and even Monday!  Hopefully the amount of words and pictures helps make up for the all the delays!  See what C2E2 is like to see what the Super-Fly crew might be in store for this year!  What are you waiting for—ANOTHER  year to go by?!? It’s the longest entry of the RMLB yet!

Super-Fly Comics & Games’ plucky sidekick Max Lake has embarked on a journey to read his collection of comics! Join Max every Thursday as he takes on his Library! Titles reviewed by this blog do not necessarily reflect what the store has in stock, but you can always email the store to special order something that you’ve seen here at superflycomics@gmail.com. You can also call Super-Fly at (937) 767-1445 or just ask someone at the store next time you’re there for special orders. You can read past entries of the blog here. Any questions or comments for Max should be sent to maxdlake@gmail.com. Comments are currently closed, though we’re looking into a new way to do comments so stay tuned. Check out @maxdlake to follow Max on Twitter. Most entries deal with Max re-capping what he’s read in detail, so be aware that there is a SPOILER WARNING for this and all entries, though Max usually leaves out the big spoilers/shockers/moments and leaves those for the reader to discover. The things Max writes do not necessarily reflect the views of Super-Fly Comics & Games, and Super-Fly Comics & Games is not responsible for what Max says—especially anything that bugs you.

Hey all!  Welcome to a very special, long-in-the-making entry of the Read My Library Blog!  As this entry goes up, a caravan including fearless leader Tony Barry and Jared “JFX316” Whittaker, “Real King” Travis Ray and Max Lake (me) and Gavin “G-Force” Naught, Bryan “Hawkeman” Hawke and newcomer to C2E2, Bryan’s pal Jack are making the long haul up to Chicago from Ohio to make their way to C2E2 2014.  While we can only guess at the adventures we’ll have in Chicago at this fabulous con, a good indication would be to look back at last year’s C2E2 and see what kind of things our Super-Fly Crew could be in store for.  While there was an attempt to cover last year’s con, it was cut horribly short by numerous factors, leaving the coverage with much to be desired.  Well, that all changes now with our special look back at C2E2 2013 in our preparation and journey to C2E2 2014!!!

I know it’s been a long wait but I’ve had various things tying me up, including formatting all the pictures and then having my PC crash out on me completely last summer with plenty of mishaps in between.  Luckily, I was able to back up everything (including the C2E2 pictures!) and save my computer, but it was a setback.  On top of that, my writer’s block which derailed the blog for a while started rearing its head as I worked to finish these write ups last year and remained stagnant till I could finish them off.  When the blog finally resumed, Tony and I felt it inappropriate to just randomly cover C2E2 months late.  Though now with us on the road to this year’s show and me finishing everything off, I think there’s a good case to be made in unearthing it all for public consumption…Still, I do apologize for not getting things up much sooner!

So without further delay, let’s resume where we left off, just after Super-Fly’s First Day and a Half of C2E2 (which you may want to re-read to refresh your memory!)

C2E2!

C2E2 2014 is here! But what happened at the 2013 show?!?


    THURSDAY

When last we left the Super-Fly crew, we were all chilling out doing various things mid-day Thursday.  Bryan Hawke and Gavin were at the booth and were taking care of things and were looking to rendezvous with Andy from the UK while Tony and Jared finished off a couple things at the Retailer’s Summit.  Meanwhile, I was back at the hotel writing and Travis was taking a cat nap.  Well, after Travis took his nap and I finished writing for the day on Thursday, we went down to the lobby to see what was going on.  Travis had to meet up with Jared and Tony to return to the Retailer’s Summit for dinner and drinks. As time passed, more and more of the Panels on Pages (or POP) crew, from the ultra cool site panelsonpages.com were arriving and gathering in the lobby.  I sat by artist Adam Hicks (AKA GigaToast), who was with POP and watched him draw for a while and got to know one of the friends Adam brought to the show with him, a guy named Nathan.  Nathan was playing a video game, which turned out to be a Sonic the Hedgehog game (a dead giveaway was the classic gold ring collection sound of the Sonic games).  Nathan and I struck up a conversation about video games.  Who doesn’t like video games?  Clearly, some people, but I was in good geek company here, so Nathan and I had a good chat.

Around this time, former Super-Fly co-owner & current Chicago resident Thatcher “Tad” Cleveland showed up and we all greeted him.  Andy from the UK (and also from The Attack of the 50 Ft. Nerds Podcast on the POP-Cast Network) was also there with Bryan and Gavin and was socializing with everyone.  We were again joined by Jason Knize and his fiancé Mary, and Knize started forming a plan with everyone to go get dinner for the POP crew—AKA “The POPulation.”  After some discussion, it was decided that we should get pizza.  There was a nearby pizzeria that we had passed on the way to White Castle the day before, and that was where we were going to go.

“Okay POPulation! Let’s move out!” said Knize

We made our way out, and the group was rather large; there were so many of us!  It made navigating the city safer and we all had fun crossing streets hurriedly in a group, trying to time the crosswalks signals right.  Everyone was fawning over Andy, how he had come so far from England and was British and all that—though in a deliberate over dramatic fashion that made it clear we were all joking around.  I had a few minutes to talk to Andy one on one and he talked about how he was really into model trains and such and shared this passion with his young son.  He told me he really wanted to go all out on a room in his house to where a model train would take up most of the room.  As someone with my own room dedicated to my hobbies, I totally related.

We were making our way the same route as the Super-Fly crew & I went to White Castle the night before, but this time we went to a pizza place called Pizzeria Brandi.  The restaurant was small and had a rectangular shape to it and was adjacent to a bar next door that had an open door between them.  There was a big window in the restaurant with where you place an order, and then you’d sit down to wait while they made your food.  Since we had a big group, many of the gang huddled around the window, either waiting in line to order or looking at the menu.  I chatted up Tad a bit, seeing what he had been up to lately, all the while the back of my mind thinking of what I wanted to order.  Tad and I then cut our conversation short to order.

In my desperate measure to keep things on the cheap, I only ordered one piece of pizza.  There were a couple different pizzas to get slices from, but I chose one with spinach on it.  The single piece was very big and surprisingly filling!  Having only spent a little over $5 for a slice and a drink, I immediately was happy at my good luck.  There were several conversations happening all around, and I chatted with those around me a little, including POP contributor Dan Mahoney, who is quite a funny fellow.  Many of the crew were still asking Andy questions about what England was like, a trend that would continue throughout the rest of the show.  Eventually one of the POP crew took a picture, and while I thought of snapping one myself, I didn’t end up doing it.  Needless to say though, the POPulation packed Pizzeria Brandi to the gills!

We weren’t the only ones having fun though.  There was a birthday party happening next door, with all these girls shrieking and having a good time, occasionally screaming into the pizzeria:

“It’s my birthday! Whoooooooooo!”

Tad started joking that what if it was only one girl who was so lonely because she didn’t have anyone to come to her birthday party that she was acting out all the parts of a bunch of friends, then proceeded to act out three different parts of party goer imitations the single woman would be doing.

Our group socialized into the evening, and as soon as everyone finished their food, we took our leave of the restaurant.  Little did I know that I would be eating more of Pizzeria Brandi’s pizza well into the trip…(And believe me, that’s nothing to complain about!)  Our group trekked our way back to the hotel, all of us content with our delicious meals.  About midway, half the crew split up to go to the liquor store, and I elected to stay with the crew heading back to the hotel.  On the way, I chatted with Nathan more about video games and found out he wasn’t really into comics, but was coming to the show anyway to hang with his friend Adam and see what the show was all about.  I thought that was pretty cool.

Meanwhile, the whole time we were out getting ‘za, Tony, Jared and Travis were at the Retailer Summit’s dinner.  There was an open bar (provided by Dynamite Entertainment) so I think Tony and definitely Travis had a couple drinks.  They arrived shortly after the POPulation group got back from Brandi’s and we caught up.  Apparently, they had a really good time and Dynamite had been an amazing host.  The Super-Fly crew had learned a lot of cool things at the retailer summit, including news of a Judge Dredd vs. Mars Atttacks! comic series was coming from IDW and that IDW had given away a very select few unique cover variants of Locke & Key—of which Super-Fly was able to get one of.  DC had shown off Superman Unchained while I’m totally forgetting what they learned from Marvel.  All of it is probably public knowledge by now though.

We all took root in the lobby as we had done earlier, and at the Hyatt Regency, there are several large open seating areas in the lobby, divided into several sections and the Super-Fly crew and the POPulation gang took hold of one of the sections.  I went upstairs to get something, I think my laptop, and that was when I ran into Jimmy Palmiotti by the elevators! Jimmy of course co-writes All Star Western and Batwing with Justin Gray for DC and has various other projects too and I’m a big fan of his going back to the earliest days of the most recent Jonah Hex series.  I’ve met Jimmy before and he’s really nice, but I didn’t want to bother him in the hotel before the show.

“Hey Jimmy! I’ll see you at the show!”

He smiled at me and shook my hand.

“Definitely!” he said.

This was just an example of the advantages of hanging out in and/or near the lobby area at night: you never knew who was going to come walking by.  Several times throughout the show, you’d see creators coming and going.  Later that night, Tony Moore was seen walking by with his wife and several of the gang called out to him.  He smiled and waved.

I was working hard on formatting pictures I had taken and getting them online using the Hyatt Regency’s internet connection.  After making sure I wasn’t being charged for going online, I then began uploading all the pictures and the first C2E2 update online to the Super-Fly website.  After that, I hung out in the lobby a little more.  Tad and Andy were carrying on, and Zane Reichert, who was at the show for Dark Star Books (the book/comic store that sold Super-Fly their comic business to) showed up.  I took a picture of him, Tony and Travis, and then Zane snapped a pic of me with Tony and Travis.  I asked if anyone wanted to go to the bar.  Zane did, so we headed over to the hotel bar.

We got a table at the end of the bar.  I could see Jimmy Palmiotti on the other end, though didn’t make a big deal about it.  Zane got a gin & tonic and I got a draft beer.  The beer was made by some special brewery I hadn’t heard of, but it had a rustic taste and I enjoyed it thoroughly.  Zane and I talked about our experiences in Chicago thus far.  Zane, having been to C2E2 for many—if not every—time in previous years counseled me in what it was like to go to this con and that anyone should have enough time during the con to do all the shopping, meeting creators, going to panels and all that they would like. He told me to pace myself and I’d probably be able to get a lot done for what I wanted to do for myself and what I wanted to do for the website.  The bartender announced last call, so I got another beer and Zane and I went over to some couches to talk since they were shutting the bar down.  Zane and I had a toast, to a great C2E2, finished our drinks, and called it a night.

Back in the hotel room everyone was getting ready for bed.  Before I went to sleep, I put on an episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000 on my laptop, thus starting a tradition that would last the rest of the trip. Before long, we were all snoring—especially Jared.


    FRIDAY

On Friday morning I had set an alarm to get up, but it didn’t seem to help in getting me up and around.  I scarfed down a granola bar and threw my clothes on.  I didn’t want to be late to the show, but inadvertently, I was about thirty minutes late from the time the doors opened.  Travis was with me, as he was a little late to wake up too.  As we got closer to the doors, we saw a guy dressed as Godzilla.

“That’s the guy who always dresses up as Godzilla,” Travis said, pointing him out. “He’s been here every year but this is the last year he’s doing it.  Then he’s going to retire it.”

I didn’t know how Travis knew this, other than his own years of previous C2E2s, and instead of wondering, I soaked in the lore and felt lucky to have seen this Godzilla guy and his final year of cosplaying the famous giant lizard.  I took a couple pictures.

By some miraculous reason, we were able to make it in by showing our retailer badges and avoid the long line.  What a close call!

I started my day at the show off by coming by the Super-Fly booth.  Tony, Jared, Brian, and Gavin were all there.  Gavin, somewhat hilariously, was dressed as Finn from Adventure Time, but a beat up, grown up, unshaven Finn in ripped clothes.  It was great.  The Super-Fly gang was ready for action and so was I.  They were ready for shoppers and I was ready to shop!  My first purchase, appropriately enough, was from Super-Fly’s booth! I picked up a hardcover of Neil Gaiman’s and John Romita Jr.’s Eternals for $10! Nice! For some reason, Tony told me to pay him later.  OK!

After departing, I started looking at some action figures I had seen during Wednesday’s setup at a couple different booths.  Anyone who reads the Read My Library Blog knows I am addicted to action figures (they are a weakness of mine) and I ended up picking up a few, including a Mattel DCU Beast Boy, which is super rare! I paid quite a bit, but was able to haggle for a better price by combining it with another figure, of Obsidian (though for some reason called “Todd Rice” on the package).  Weird.  At a different booth, I scored three more figures, giving me the ones I was missing for the collect and connect pieces to my giant Darkseid figure.  Hell yes!

I continued on my shopping spree, picking up a handful of DC Archives and Marvel Masterworks from one booth who was offering like 5 or 6 of these books for $100.  I then turned to find a familiar face.  I talked to him and it was Jeff, from World’s Greatest Comics in Westerville, OH.  I have literally run into this man at about every major comic convention I’ve ever been to—a testament to World’s Greatest Comics’ traveling power!  Tony had recognized Jeff on Wednesday and given him shout outs, but I hadn’t talked to him since the Gem City Comic Con this year, where I bought a handful of things at WG Comics’ booth.  It was cool catching up with Jeff at C2E2, but before long I had the bargain bug and I quickly began looking through their selection of half-off DC Archives and Marvel Masterworks and came up with a couple books, The Silver Age Teen Titans DC Archive and Marvel Masterworks Incredible Hulk Vol. 6.  Both were mine for $55—wotta bargain!

At this point, I headed back to the Super-Fly booth, my virtual “home base” for the show, where I could store books and such while I hiked around.   I talked to Travis and let him know what I had been up to.  For some reason, I decided to do most of my shopping on Friday (unconsciously) for I spent so much money, that Travis had to quickly reel me in.  After all, Travis had made a promise to my wife Maureen that he’d keep me from spending all of my money.  So he told me to take a break from buying and just go hang out.  I agreed to do just that, and decided to take some pictures of cosplayers.

Now I have been to many conventions, but I have never seen so many costumes and so many intricate costumes at that at any other con prior to my trip to C2E2!  I am sure it’s even crazier at the San Diego Comic Con every year, but for me this was just an incredible amount of people cosplaying.  One of the first people cosplaying I ran into after departing the Super-Fly booth was a couple of Blue & Gold cosplayers, with the guy dressed as Booster Gold while the girl was Ted Kord Blue Beetle.  Awesome!  I had to take a couple pictures, as those two are a couple of my favorite characters and this pair had done a great job representing them.  Soon after, I ran into a set of Aquabats as well, who were super awesome and super friendly as I snapped a couple shots.  These would be just a couple of literally dozens and possibly hundreds of cosplayer interactions I had during the show.

After exploring the show floor some more, I went back to the booth.  Travis was ready to take a break from the booth and explore the floor with me.  We looked around a while, then I went outside with him so he could get a cigarette.  On our way out, we saw Jared in full JFX316 mode in the main hall, who was now DJing the show.  Jared was doing a great job so I tossed him a couple bucks into his tip box and took a couple pictures with him dropping beats with Travis in the background.

Making our way out, we found it was a beautiful day outside on the roof of the parking garage.  It was sunny, with all the cold weather of previous days nothing but a memory now.  Travis and I talked a bit while he smoked and I told him what I had picked up so far.  On the roof there was a family of geese, and the babies were really cute, so I took a couple of pictures.  We ran into a couple of cosplayers coming into the show from the roof, including a Link and a female assassin in the style of Assassin’s Creed and someone else I couldn’t identify by their costume.  As Travis finished up his cigarette, we ran into a Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy.  Everyone we saw on the roof we had to tell them to pull hard on the door to the elevators, because it was kind of stubborn, and people could have taken it as locked.

Making our way back we ran into a bunch of Batman themed cosplayers, so I took a few pictures, including one with me in the picture, which Travis was nice enough to take.  We then hit the show floor again.  With all the pictures I was taking, Travis had to stop time and again to wait for me to take whatever pictures and then catch up to him.  This happened a lot during the show.  Poor Travis!  We made our way around the show floor taking it all in.  Again, the size of C2E2 is just massive and I think between Travis and I, we only explored a little over a quarter of the show floor that first day of the con.

With all the shopping I was doing, I didn’t prioritize looking to meet the guests who were at the show.  I decided I wanted to meet at least one creator and then took to looking around the show.  I found the Dark Horse booth, and hoped they had the first trade of The Goon, which I had read but did not yet own.  I tried to find a copy before the show, but since Super-Fly and Dark Star Books didn’t have it, I had given up on getting a copy signed by Eric Powell, Goon’s creator who was at the show.  Well, the Dark Horse booth saved the day, and while they didn’t offer any discounts, I was happy to have a copy of The Goon Volume 1: Nothin but Misery and start my own Goon collection with a trade I would soon get signed!

Travis needed to go back the Super-Fly booth for a while, but we agreed to get lunch in a bit.  Heading back to the Super-Fly booth we ran into Gavin dressed in his messed up Finn costume (one of many Adventure Time costumes I would see that day!).  Before too long into the day he was off to get a new tattoo right on the show floor.  When I saw him later and asked where and what he got tattooed he raised his wrist and showed off yellow rectangle with lines sectioning off even parts.  In short it looked like an energy bar in a video game.  My guess was close:

“It’s a Mega Buster!” said Gavin proudly.  Sure enough, it was!  It looked pretty awesome, even though it was covered with Seran Wrap to protect it.  It was a great looking tattoo.

I headed off to find Eric Powell of The Goon fame and meet him.  I’d only read the first two Goon trades, but really liked what I read and also enjoyed Powell’s one shot Chimichanga.  I also needed to get some comics signed by Powell for my good buddy Loren Goins (one time Super-Fly employee), who had entrusted me with some of his comics to get signed by Powell and other creators.

Finding Powell, it turned out he really didn’t have a line, so I hung out a second and then when it came time to meet him, I introduced myself and told him I really enjoyed his art work and crazy style.  Eric was really nice and was happy to sign all of my and Loren’s books.  He even drew a Goon head shot in my new Goon Vol. 1 trade!  Excellent!  I got the guy in line behind me to take a picture of Eric and I and then I was on my way back to the Super-Fly booth.

Travis was ready to grab lunch at this point, and I followed him to the floor below where there was a set of vending machines and a café.  I got a Mountain Dew out of the vending machines and then went with Travis into the café.  He got a pizza with chicken and portabella mushrooms which he offered to share with me.  What a hero!  Travis really was my savior this trip I gotta say.  He showed me the ropes and we spent a lot of time together during C2E2 anytime he wasn’t at the booth.

As we ate, we talked about stuff happening at the show.  Apparently, Adam West was scheduled to be there but was absent due to a last minute back injury before the show.  Too bad!  I didn’t have the $65 or whatever Adam West wanted for his autograph, but I would have loved to stop by his booth or his line to let him know how cool he is.  Travis also wanted to meet him and he actually did have some money set aside to get Adam’s autograph.  Bummer.

After some more wandering around getting cosplay pictures, Travis and I parted ways once again so he could help out at Super-Fly’s booth again.  I decided I’d go to DC’s All Access Panel which was starting in the afternoon shortly after we finished lunch.

The DC All Access Panel was held in a big hall, apparently Marvel had held a panel there just previously, so many people were just staying in their seats waiting for DC’s panel to start.  There were many DC luminaries who were on stage with Bob Harras, Len Wein, Freddie Williams II, Kyle Higgins, Brian Azzarello, Art Baltazar & Franco, as well as Charles Soule and a couple others I may be neglecting to mention.

Harras handled the panel as if he were going down a checklist.  Then they talked about the upcoming Trinity War storyline happening over the Justice League titles that summer.  They handed out a variant cover to All Star Batman and Robin the Boy Wonder, the issue with Batgirl on the cover.  Harras then covered the end of Before Watchmen, with Len Wein saying he and Alan Moore had disagreed about the ending of Watchmen and while an issue of Comedian came out after the last issue of Ozymandias, he feels the last issue of Ozymandias should be considered the true end of Before Watchmen.

Harras introduced Soule, and joked that as Soule was the current writer of Swamp Thing he had better watch out with Swamp Thing creator Len Wein sitting practically behind him!  Soule talked about an upcoming Swamp Things storyline involving a “Whiskey Tree” a magic tree that sprouts in a town and excretes whiskey and it’s something Swamp Thing has to deal with.

Art & Franco talked about The Green Team, their new book staring teen trillionaires and their interactions with the DCU which was soon to be on stands.  Freddie Williams II talked about The Movement which he was drawing and how Gail Simone had created very memorable characters on the book.  Kyle Higgins talked about how Nightwing would be moving to Chicago as his new stomping ground in his book, which brought cheers from the crowd.  Brian Azzarello said Wonder Woman would be following Orion back to New Genesis for an upcoming issue of Wonder Woman,

“So we get to see what that’s like,” said Azzarello.

After a few more talking points it was time for questions from the audience.  While in the past, I have been anxious to ask questions of my favorite comic company, I couldn’t think of anything at that point and didn’t feel like wedging myself out from the middle of the row I was in.  I don’t remember all the questions asked, but there were a few that stuck out.

The first question came from a black guy with dreadlocks in a SHAZAM shirt who would come to dominate the Q & A session.  Fortunately, his questions all hit on some pretty cool topics.  The first thing he asked about was the Milestone characters and how excited he was that they were in the DCU, but he was disappointed they weren’t seen more often, with Static obviously but also Icon, Rocket and Hardware—especially as Icon is about as powerful as Superman. Bob Harras asked the crowd if they’d like to see more of the Milestone characters too and the room exploded.  Harras promised to talk to his people about it.  I mean, really! Talk about an underused asset!

Then there were a series of questions about Damian Wayne, from people asking if he was really dead, when he’d come back, and why he didn’t take the same potion from Talon that would bring him back from the dead.  Harras coolly explained they did not make a habit of publicly discussing their plans of resurrecting dead characters and if/when they planned to do so.  Azzarello piped up:

“Look for answers in Wonder Woman #25!” he claimed.  To this everyone laughed, and it became a popular answer when Harras was otherwise stymied by those asking questions.  Another popular retort from the DC creators was that the Whiskey Tree would somehow be involved in whatever people were asking about.  However, those asking about Damian were given special RIP prints commemorating the death of the character.

One person, who had visible burn scars on his face came up and said that he wanted to see heroes who were scarred, not just villains.  He said he had been burned and that it did not make him want to set fires like the Batman villain Firefly and that burn victims could be heroes too.  Charles Soule responded that he was absolutely right and that he himself would remember this as a writer going forward.  The brave questioner was also given a Damian RIP print.

The black guy in the SHAZAM shirt came up again asking about the recently canceled Young Justice cartoon and if there was any hope, even false hope, that the series would return again someday or get a direct to DVD movie.

“Well I can give you false hope!” Harras joked.

Harras then said that with Teen Titans coming back on the air as Teen Titans Go! Anything was really possible going forward and he knows that Young Justice was a beloved series.  But again emphasized that was all he could really offer besides the aforementioned false hope.

The guy in the SHAZAM shirt came up again, asking about the character Shazam and if DC had plans for him going forward, or Mary and Freddy.

“Well, we’re going to publish a collection of the stories that ran in Justice League. From there the character will be in Justice League and we have plans for him down the line.”

“And he’s Captain Marvel,” Azzarello taunted.

“He’s SHAZAM!” the guy in the SHAZAM shirt cried out.

That was about it for questions and the panel ended.  On my way out, I ran into Kenny from First Aid Comics again and he told me he had been up front and had sat up there since the Marvel panel previous to the DC one.  We both marveled how many people there were in the room—there had been quite a lot.

From there I made my way back down to the main hall, taking more pictures along the way.  I ended up back at the Super-Fly booth where Tony and Bryan were holding down the fort like champs.  I greeted them and asked how everything was going.  They seemed to indicate things were going quite well and that they were experiencing a fair amount of traffic.

From there I planned to cruise the show floor a couple more hours (I believe the panel ended at 5 pm and the show closed at 6 or 7 pm) and wait for a panel featuring Nick Spencer and his work at 7 pm.  I am a big fan of Nick Spencer, especially his run on T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents he did for DC not too long ago.

I decided to kill time by exploring and found at the far end of the hall that a costume contest was going on.  I ran into to Jay Garrick Flash cosplayers and then saw a row of cosplayers waiting to get up on a small stage, one at a time, each announced by someone over the PA.  I took a few pictures of people in line before being told I was not permitted to be back there.  One of the people I saw going up on stage was someone in an awesome Judge Dredd costume which was as magnificent as Mega City itself!  I tried to get pictures but they didn’t turn out so well.  Luckily, I would run into that cosplayer later during the con but of course didn’t know it at the time.

I really wanted to go to the Nick Spencer panel, but by the end of the day, I was too pooped to even consider going.  I was ready to take off my shoes and RELAX for a while.  I trudged back to the hotel through the hallway from the convention center to the hotel.

“HAVE YOU HUGGED A STORMTROOPER TODAY?” asked a C2E2 sign I saw overhead in the hallway on my way out, and thought to myself how weird it was I only saw one Stormtrooper out of all the cosplayers I saw.

When I made it back to the hotel room, Travis was already there chilling out.

“Oh man, I want to go to this Nick Spencer panel…” I began to lament.

“Well, then go dude!” said Travis, in an encouraging way.

“…But I’m too tired! The con REALLY took it out of me!” I said. “I’m beat!”

I kicked my shoes off and collapsed on the bed.  Before too long the rest of the Super-Fly crew filtered back into the room.  Gavin, Bryan, Tony and Jared entered until we were all reunited.  As we decompressed, we talked about the day and how it had gone.  After chatting a bit, thoughts soon turned to food.  Tony I believe brought up the prospect of pizza, having missed it the night before.

“Sounds good,” I said.  “But can we get a deep dish?  When in Rome…or Chicago in this case!”

“We’ll have to see how many people we need to feed, but I’m down,” said Tony.

Apparently we would be meeting up with POP people that night too, so we didn’t know who all was eating with us.  Tony indicated that he, as team Super-Fly leader, would like to get our group a pizza.  Whether or not it was deep dish depended on how big our group was.

While we waited for all the POP people we were going with, we waited in the hotel lobby.  Increasingly, people who were cosplaying were coming back from the con and into the hotel and hanging out in the lounge area of the lobby.  I saw a Nightwing and a Huntress, a Black Adam, a Kyle Rayner Green Lantern and a Taskmaster hanging out in the lobby and took pictures of all of them.  After a bit, we got our group together and set out.

What do ya know, we ended up right back at Pizzeria Brandi!  Once again, we went with a contingent of the POPulation as well as pretty much everyone in the Super-Fly crew except for Travis, who was really tuckered out and who had enough walking.  Once we arrived, Tony, Bryan, Gavin, Jared and I talked and it turned out we were the only ones eating the pizza, so it looked like we were on for a deep dish.  After conferring with the rest of the group, Tony set out to order.

While we were in line, a girl came in wearing a Bandette costume (though at the time I thought she was supposed to be Hit Girl—little did I know).  I snapped a quick picture.  Clearly, we weren’t the only C2E2 goers getting pizza tonight!

After a couple minutes Tony came back.

“So I ordered an X-Large Deep Dish Supreme Pizza,” said Tony. “And they gave me a hard time about it.”

“Hard time?” asked Jared.

“They’re all like, ‘You don’t want to order an X-Large Deep Dish! You want the medium!’ and I told them No, I definitely DO want the X-Large and they were just giving me a hard time, saying we’d never finish it…But I ordered it anyway!  I’m hungry dammit!”

We were all impressed with Tony’s determination and shared in his hunger.  As if to further defy the staff of Pizzeria Brandi, Tony also had ordered a side of onion rings, which was done pretty quickly.  Tony kindly shared his snack with the rest of us, as the deep dish had a 40 minute bake time.  We sat and joked about how we would show them!  We’d eat that X-Large pizza!

Finally, the pizza came, and it was massive!  On Brandi’s Supreme are the following toppings: sausage, pepperoni, prosciutto, bacon, ground beef, mushrooms, onion, green peppers and olives.  It looked fantastic and tasted even better, all hot, melty and full of toppings!  It was easily one of the best pizzas I ever ate, and certainly one of the biggest… And therein lay the problem.  I was able to eat two whole pieces, though I think I was the only one to do it, and I suffered a tummy ache for it.  Bryan, Tony, Jared and Gavin were all able to eat just over one piece, and not finish a second.  While I don’t think there was a piece a pizza untouched, there were certainly a couple pieces unfinished.  Despite our best efforts, Pizzeria Brandi had beaten Super-Fly.  We should have gotten a medium.  Oh well, we had a damn delicious time trying to eat it all!

Full of pizza, we hung out in the lobby a little bit with everyone.  However, before too long, I decided to go up to go to bed.  Travis and Jared had the same idea and we all headed up to the room.  Jared took a shower while Travis and I set up my laptop to play MST3k for the evening.  Then Jared came out of the shower wearing just two towels, one around his waist and one around his head and he immediately climbed into bed with his towel headdress still intact.  He looked exhausted, but it looked hilarious.  Travis and I took a few pictures, with Travis putting his on Twitter.

It was a funny end to a crazy day!  We had all had a great opening to C2E2, and still had two full con days ahead of us!

 

Pictures from Thursday and Friday:

(All pictures in this entry from all days not in chronological order, but in somewhat alphabetical order)


    SATURDAY

Once again, I ended up sleeping in waaaaay longer than I wanted to despite my every effort to get up.  I rushed along and got dressed, grabbed my camera and my gear and headed over to the McCormick Center where the con was being held.  On my way through the walkway, I ran into two cosplayers who were dressed as the Beaver Boys characters from Tim and Eric’s Awesome Show, Great Job!  Most people really love or really hate (usually the latter) Tim and Eric, but my wife and I are big fans, so it was a big thrill seeing these cosplayers and their costumes, right down to the shrimp logo on their hats.  Great job!

Not only was I late for the show opening, I was late to an autograph session.  I had wanted to be at the opening of the doors so I could get in line to meet Alex Ross in the one autograph session he was going to have during C2E2.  Unfortunately, I was getting there 15-30 minutes after the line to Alex Ross opened, but was still able to get in line before it was super long and/or cutoff.  However, it was still plenty long enough!  The wait seemed like it was going to take a while, but I just stood patiently, knowing I would be meeting the artist behind Marvels and Kingdom Come—and I had a copy of Kingdom Come for him to sign (and a couple other things too)!!! It was very exciting.  Still, the wait put my excitement to the test.

During the wait, I ran into a group of cosplayers who were dressed up as members of the guild from The Guild.  I was pretty impressed with their costumes, as they were really far out.  I think I may have gotten a picture, but I may not have, as they wanted me to wait until I could get the rest of their “Guild” in the picture.  I did end up running into them all later at the snack bar during Travis’ and my lunch break that day, and they were almost all together, but one of them was in line, so I said I’d come back in a minute to take a picture but forgot and never ended up coming back.

Also during the wait for Alex Ross, I noticed the signing booth next to Alex Ross’, and it belonged to Jason David Frank, who played the Green Ranger, White Ranger, and eventually the Red Ranger on various incarnations of the Mighty Morphing Power Rangers.  While the Alex Ross line was neat and orderly, Jason David Frank was whipping the crowd in his line into a big frenzy!  He would run up and down the line slapping fives with everyone, and was jumping around and generally very high energy.  I felt bad that Travis wasn’t there to meet him, as Travis loves the Power Rangers franchise as he grew up with it.

At long last, it was my turn to meet Alex Ross.  I introduced myself and shook his hand and told him I was a huge fan of his work.  Then I handed him the books I had brought for him to sign.  As Alex Ross was signing my books, I was telling him how his Wonder Woman book he had done with Paul Dini was my niece’s introduction to Wonder Woman and how it had made WW her favorite hero—except I guess I kinda confused him as he had to ask if he were signing the books for me, and not my niece.  After clarifying, he signed my books, we shook hands, I got a picture with him, and then I moved on.  I was so happy to have met him as Alex seemed like a genuinely nice guy.

After that, I went around looking at cosplayers and taking pictures.  Right after being in line for Alex Ross, I saw a Firestorm with a pretty awesome costume.  Then I saw a set of Wonder Twins which made me laugh, especially when they posed in the “Wonder Twins Powers Activate” pose.  Once again, I was really impressed with all the costumes and how much work so many people had done making their costumes perfect.  And at least from what I saw, everyone was being respectful and had a good attitude regarding cosplayers.

Not far away was Peter Tomasi, and I had several books for him to sign too.

“I really liked the Mighty,” I told him.

“What’d you think of it?” Peter asked.

“It was different!” I said.

“Yeah!” he responded. “Everyone thought it was going to be like Superman, but that’s not what I was going for.”

Peter signed my books and after a little more chit chat, I thanked him and turned around to see my next target: Freddy Williams II, who had drawn the New 52 Captain Atom book I was so fond of.  However, there was someone in line before me, and I overheard Freddy talking to him.

“You know, I do Marvel, DC, indies, I don’t like to be pigeonholed into one thing,” I heard Freddy say.

“I just love your work man!” said the long haired fan, and after a little more gushing from him, he moved on.

Then I introduced myself and told Freddy how much I liked his work on Captain Atom.

“Thanks!” he said.

We talked for a few seconds, as Captain Atom Vol. 1 was all I had for him to sign, but I told him to keep up the good work and was on my way.

Next up, I met Len Wein briefly and got him to sign my DC Classics Library volume of Swamp Thing collecting the original first Swamp Thing stories that Len wrote after creating the Swamp Thing character.  Len happily signed and then said:

“That will be one dollar for the signature.”

“Absolutely.  Coming right up!” I said, fishing a dollar out of my wallet.

Previously when I met Len at a Mid-Ohio Con (when it was still the Mid-Ohio Con and not Wizard World Ohio), he had given up to five autographs free before charging a dollar per signature, but who’s to quibble with such a luminary writer?  A $1 a signature was hardly breaking my bank and it was well deserved!  Len Wein is a fricking legend, creating not only Swamp Thing but Wolverine as well!  I only wish he was going to be at the 2014 C2E2 as well, as since returning home from the con last year, I have come across a couple other things I should have brought to get signed—which I would have gladly paid a dollar a piece per signature for.   At any rate, I asked Len what he was working on at the moment if anything, and he said he was doing some Batman Black & White stuff and a couple other projects after wrapping up the Ozymandius series that was his part of Before Watchmen.  I thanked Len and made my way down through artist’s alley and then just behind it to catch a break and walk to the far end where I saw Jimmy Palmiotti and his wonderfully talented wife Amanda Conner were set up.

As I was making my way, I ran into a security guard and a police K-9 officer with a dog on my way to artist’s alley and stopped to thank them for keeping us safe during the con.  The Boston Marathon bombing was still fresh in everyone’s minds at the time and so it was pretty reassuring to see a police presence along with the security guards who were doing a fantastic job of monitoring the con and protecting everyone who was there.  After that I made my way to the Amanda Conner booth and saw her offerings of prints she had for sale.  I quickly texted my wife Maureen to make sure she was home and free.  Then, as per previously given instructions, I took pictures of Amanda’s prints and then sent the pictures to Maureen’s phone, and then called her.  Although my wife couldn’t be at the con, she definitely wanted a hand in picking out which Amanda Conner art work I would be bringing home and putting on our walls.

A pretty cool little side story:  Maureen and I met Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti years earlier at a Wizard World Philadelphia show, back when Jimmy was co-writing Jonah Hex and Power Girl with Justin Gray and Amanda Conner was doing the art to Power Girl.  Jimmy and Amanda were probably two of the biggest draws for Maureen and I, as Jonah Hex was our favorite comic and we also loved Power Girl, with Amanda’s art being a big part of that.  With my wife being an amateur artist herself, we thought it would be fun if she drew a picture of Jonah Hex for Jimmy and a picture of Power Girl for Amanda in her own super deformed style and give them to them as a token of thanks for all the great stories.  Well, the first day we met them both, and got a lot signed and bought a Power Girl print from Amanda—but we forgot Maureen’s drawings back at the hotel.  So we promised Jimmy and Amanda we had something for them tomorrow.  They were like “Sure, sure,” just common con talk, but the next day we managed to bring them the pictures.  Maureen gave Amanda her picture first (since Jimmy was away at that moment) and Amanda—bless her heart—thought Maureen was looking for a professional art critique.  So when Amanda started saying how the proportions were a little off, Maureen shook her head.

“No, no.  It’s for you.  I made it as a gift,” Mo said.

Amanda apologized about the confusion and then was really impressed and taken aback.  She thanked Maureen so much.  Then we went to buy a Supergirl print, and Amanda stopped us.

“Since you made me a picture, you can have one of mine,” she said.

Now it was our turn to be thrilled.  We thanked Amanda and showed her the Jonah Hex picture Mo drew for Jimmy.  Amanda was sure Jimmy would love it, and sure enough, Jimmy showed up again in a few minutes and was very impressed by Maureen’s picture.

“Wow!  Don’t take this the wrong way, but I’m going to hang this on my fridge! This is awesome!” Jimmy exclaimed.

Shortly thereafter, Jimmy and Amanda had a panel together and we caught it, and when we cheered for Jonah Hex and Power Girl, Jimmy and Amanda gave us a shout out, telling the room my wife drew them some stuff and they loved it.  We visited their booth(s) (they were adjacent) multiple times during the con and they were just super cool, super friendly people.

So cut to C2E2 2013, with me about to approach Amanda.  I call Maureen to see what prints she wanted.  Maureen told me she wanted to get new versions of the Power Girl and Supergirl prints (as our originals got damaged a little unfortunately) along with a Wonder Woman print.  What was cool was that it was $20 a print, but 3 for $50, so that worked out awesomely.  I told Maureen I’d say hi to Amanda for her, on the off chance she remembered me.  I waited in line for Amanda, which curved around her booth.  As I was waiting, I saw a young lady in a Tigress costume (the Young Justice Artemis version) and took a picture with her directly aiming her crossbow at me, which was awesome.  Then in line, I saw another woman in a Catwoman costume, and asked if I could take a picture.

“Hey, don’t forget to take a picture of me too!” came a voice from beside her.

It was a guy “dressed up” like Tony Stark (more like “looked like”) in a suit and tie with an Iron Man gauntlet and chest repulsor thingy, who was in line nearby.  I don’t think he was in line with the Catwoman, but wanted to photobomb and look/act like suave Stark to Catwoman all at the same time.  He was puffing and preening the whole time I took the picture, making cocky comments, such as:

“Don’t you think I’d have the ladies? I’m Tony Stark!”

It was all in good fun.  Then moments later I was in front of Amanda.  I probably sounded like a creep.

“Hey, I’m sure you don’t remember me…” I began.

“Well, your face looks familiar,” she offered.

“But my wife and I met you at Wizard World Philly a few years ago, and my wife drew you a picture of Power Girl….”

“Ohhhh! Yeah!  Hey!”

And everything was smooth from there.  I told her I thought it was cool she was actually doing some writing with Darwyn Cooke in Before Watchmen and she asked me if I read it.  I told her no. Then her friend(? Assistant?) came at me:

“Well, why haven’t you read it?!?” he asked playfully.

“Waiting for the trade.” I said—halfway fibbing.  I mean, I do want to read Before Watchmen sometime, but I’m not in any rush.

Amanda signed some of my books and also told me that she and Jimmy are doing some creator owned comics now because they think that that’s where it at, and specifically mentioned a project called “Captain Brooklyn.”  It sounded awesome.  Thereafter, I bought the prints and Amanda signed them all. I  thanked her, and began to move away.

“Tell your wife I said hello!” she said.

Then I moved onto Jimmy Palmiotti. It was a little bit of a repeat.

“Hey, I’m sure you don’t remember me…We met years ago at Wizard World Philadelphia,”

“That was a long time ago,” said Jimmy, stopping me.

“Oh yeah, I don’t expect you to remember me, but I was hoping you’d remember my wife.  She drew a picture of Jonah Hex for you.”

Jimmy remembered Maureen’s picture fondly too.  Then he proceeded to sign all of my books (there were quite a few), including drawing me a Jonah Hex smoking a cigarette in my Jonah Hex: No Way Back hardcover!  I couldn’t believe it!  Jimmy told me that All Star Western was doing very well, and I was happy to hear Jonah Hex’s adventures were still successful, making Jimmy’s and co-writer Justin Gray’s future with the character bright indeed!  After signing my books, I thanked Jimmy and wished him all the best, and began to move on.  Before I left earshot of Jimmy, he called out to me:

“Be sure to tell your wife her pictures are still on our fridge!” he said with a smile and a wave.

Wow!  I was blown away with that, and I thought to myself how I couldn’t wait to call and tell Maureen that! When I did tell her later, she was pretty flattered!

After some more prowling the show floor, I eventually went to the 2000 AD booth, and it was really great!  2000 AD has really had an impact on my and my wife’s reading habits since we saw the movie Dredd, and fell in love with the Judge Dredd character and comics.  Previous to seeing Dredd we had already purchased Judge Dredd: The Complete Case Files 001 out of curiosity about the legendary comics character.  However, upon seeing the film, we not only read the book, we wanted more, and had picked up other Judge Dredd related books at Super-Fly previously.  But that still wasn’t enough, so the 2000 AD booth was the perfect place to find even more Dredd-y goodness.

So I chatted up the guys at the booth, including a nice guy with a waxed tip mustache, and planned to stock up on a lot of 2000 AD books, looking over just about anything I could with Judge Dredd in it.  I forget what my motivation was, but after I hit up the 2000 AD booth, I went back to the Super-Fly booth and asked Tony if he had been to the 2000 AD booth, as Super-Fly Comics & Games is one of 2000 AD’s US distributors at conventions and at the store (like I was saying, my wife & I had already bought a few Judge Dredd books from Super-Fly).  Tony had not, and asked me where it was, since he needed to give them back a banner.  I led him over to the booth and introduced him to the guy with the waxed tip mustache (I think his name might have been Steve?).  Tony thanked the guy for all of 2000 AD’s support so far, but was ready to return their banner, and handed it over.  Mustache Steve told Tony that Super-Fly was doing such a great job and that 2000 AD was only doing a couple cons in the US that year, so would Tony like to keep the banner and keep being a 2000 AD distributor? As he asked, he handed Tony the banner back.  Tony agreed, and as it turned out, at the end of C2E2, he stopped by their booth again, and bought up all their remaining stock (which wasn’t a lot).  Meanwhile, after Tony and Mustache Steve’s exchange, I tried to finagle a deeper discount for the books I was buying, since I was buying so many, and hey, I was with Super-Fly…?  But no dice.  No problem, they were already heavily discounted, so I happily paid for a stack of 2000 AD goodness and made my way back to the Super-Fly booth to talk about how cool the guys at 2000 AD had been.

Still, I was pretty drained and the day was almost over.  It was time to go back to the room.

I came back to the hotel room, once again exhausted after a long day conning it up.  My feet ached, my body was sore, and I was just pooped.  I decided to take a hot bath, since I was one of the only people in the room besides maybe Travis.  My bath was totally amazing. It felt so good to soak in the tub and have the heat ease my aching body. After my bath, I got dried up and dressed quickly.

Suddenly, out of nowhere there were a bunch of people in our room, which was quite a surprise to worn out and wet self.  I recognized some of our friend Andrew’s co-workers from the First Comics booth, Jen and Jeremy and two bearded fellows in cowboy hats who were total strangers.  Having just climbed out of the bath and still quite sore and tired from the day of conning it up, I was a little taken aback by this sudden intrusion.  However, they came bearing liquid refreshment (cheap beer! GET BONUS!) so how could they be turned away?

I soon came to learn that the gents in cowboy hats were none other than the friendly Fillbach Brothers, Matt and Shawn Fillbach, who are comic creators perhaps best known for their run on Star Wars: The Clone Wars series from Dark Horse, though I would soon come to find out they were working on their own projects too, including one coming up for First Comics.  I had never heard of them before, but they were super nice, and were easy to get to know quickly since they were so outgoing and I ended up talking to the two of them over some beers while Jeremy and Jen waited for the rest of our Super-Fly crew to arrive.  They did before too long, with Tony excited to meet the Fillbach boys (as he has carried some of their comics at the store) and Gavin and Bryan ready to join in the festivities, with Jared just being possibly the most worn out of all of us from DJing the show yet another day.

Since there was practically a party going on, Tony put on a very fancy shirt, that was kind of poofy like a pirate shirt, but kind of Latin in that it had a bunch of red dingly balls all over it.  He truly was a fancy lad that night!  We took quite a few pictures to celebrate the occasion.

Tony in his fancy dancy shirt!

Tony in his fancy dancy shirt!

I told the Fillbach Brothers about my wife Maureen being an artist who drew mainly wildlife and had some of her pictures on my camera, so I showed them some examples of her art.  I also talked about meeting Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Conner and the Fillbach Bros told me they were on a First Comics panel with the couple because they were working on a creator owned project for First.  The brothers also talked about some of their creator owned work that they had done, such as Captain Freebird, Maxwell Strangewell, and Roadkill: A Jim Kowalksi Adventure which all sounded interesting.

Although the drinks were just getting started and there was talk of dinner, the Fillbach Bros. had a date with some female filmmakers known as “The Twisted Twins,” aka Jen and Sylvia Soska, who had also been working at the First Comics booth, and the Fillbachs were pretty excited about it, because the twins were apparently pretty good looking and had been pretty flirtatious with the boys.  The Bros told me to stop by the First Comics booth the next day to say hello, and I said I’d do just that, and wished them well on their date.

So before long, the Filbach Brothers were on their way to their date, and we were left in our room with now the full Super-Fly crew, as well as Jen and Jeremy and Andrew from First Comics with a bunch of beer.  But there seemed to be a missing component to said beer…PIZZA!  Tony immediately decided to rectify that and ordered some pizza for delivery from where else but Pizzeria Brandi!  Tony was nice enough to treat the group again, and before long we were all chowing down on ‘Za, sitting on our hotel beds, sipping suds and sharing stories from the con so far.  It was a really good time, but after finishing our food and slugging down a few brews, it was getting late.  Despite my refreshing bath, I was still pretty worn down from my day at the con, and had a big day ahead of me.

We went down to the lobby for a bit, where the POP! gang was hanging out, joined by a very tipsy Dirk Manning.  I said hello to Dirk and POPulation key figure Jason Kerouac, who was only there for the night with his girlfriend as he couldn’t make it to C2E2 for the con that year, and it was good to see both Dirk and Jason, both of whom have brightened the Super-Fly Comics & Games store with their presence in the past.  I’m not sure if it happened then, but this might have been the night that Mark Waid (who was not a guest at the con, but was apparently in attendance) walked through the lobby, with several of us waving at him too.

I think I had another beer or two and hung out with the crowd for a bit, but eventually made my way back up to the room and stayed there for the night.  I may have been one of the few, because several other folks in the group stayed downstairs and drank more alcohol.  I do think Jared was one of the few who also turned in early though…meaning it was going to be a low down snore down between him and I—especially from me since I had been drinking.  Of course, it would turn out that we weren’t going to be the only two out cold that night.

 

Pictures from Saturday:

    SUNDAY

Sunday was probably the worst day of C2E2 for me because I woke up slightly hung over from the previous night’s revelry.  Not too bad, but we all had been drinking somewhat the night before (except Jared, who doesn’t drink) and I felt slightly icky.  Not enough to make me want to stay in bed and miss out on the last day of C2E2 though!!!  Realizing this and ignoring all hangover symptoms, I propelled myself out of bed and started my day.

Apparently, the drinking got a little out of hand the night before.  Not necessarily in the room (though most of us had some alcohol in us, save Jared) but outside the room after most of us went to bed.  Tony, and Tad, and Jeremy and Jen were partying and drinking outside the room, and apparently at one point, Tad was being such a jerk and Jen was so drunk, that she began to choke Tad!  While Tad escaped with his life, I guess following that, all of us in the room were so zonked out that Tony could not get in the room, no matter how hard he knocked or screamed…And eventually he had to go down to the front desk and get another key before he could get into our room and get some (but not much) sleep.  Poor Tony!

The day started as Travis and I went out to the front of the hotel so Travis could have a cigarette.  Just as we went out, it seemed like just about EVERYONE in a Marvel Comics related costume was gathering on a set of stairs for a giant group picture.  It was spectacular to behold, as there were a lot of great costumes on display, and as Travis smoked, we watched them gather as a professional photographer took multiple pictures of this Mighty Marvel Group!

When Travis and I made it to the show floor, we headed around the booths at the back of the con—a place I had previously not ventured far back into during C2E2.  There were all kinds of interesting things for sale: “Mystery Boxes” (with contents valued from $10-200 or something), t-shirts, plush renditions of various anime and cartoon characters—just all kinds of various odds and ends.

Travis wandered by one booth, that had all these t-shirts with electric light-up displays on them, that would flash and blink and such.  Travis was immediately intrigued and started asking the ladies at the booth about them.  Apparently, there was a little battery pack attached to them that were concealed on the inside of the shirt.  The battery pack could be unplugged, so the shirt could be washed (and there were special washing directions) and they advised to wear an undershirt underneath to reduce the number of times it needed to be washed.  Sold on this, Travis bought two shirts: one with the Autobots symbol from Transformers and another one with Iron Man’s repulsor chest emblem.  He was really excited about those shirts, and said he was going to freak everybody out at his job with them!

Luckily, as we were wandering around, I ran into that Judge Dredd I had seen a couple days before in the costume contest and got a GREAT picture of him.  It was awesome!  I felt so lucky I got to see him again!

I stopped by the Super-Fly booth and they were all getting ready for their panel of their podcast.  I was really tempted to go, but at the same time, this was my last day at C2E2 and I still had so many people to meet.  Besides, everyone (except Tad) is already in my hometown practically, so I see plenty of their antics and can listen to their podcast anytime. I still had a lot of books to get signed and people to meet.  I asked Tony if this was OK with him and if there were any hard feelings and he said of course not, to go and have fun.  I wished them luck, just as Tad marched up and began recording them for their panel.  They were off, and so was I, as Gavin and Bryan stayed behind at the booth to mind the store.

I began walking through the Artist’s Alley section to look for creators I wanted to meet.  I think the first person I hit up that day in Artist’s Alley was Joe Eisma of Image’s Morning Glories.  I was hoping to catch Nick Spencer there too, as he was scheduled to be right next to Joe, but no such luck.  I told Joe I loved his work on the book and the book itself, and asked him when Nick might be back.  He didn’t know, but he signed my first three volumes of Morning Glories so I thanked him, got a picture with him, and I was on my way.

I walked up and down the aisles of Artist’s Alley, kind of mapping it all out, seeing where everyone was.  Then, I ran into a creator I wasn’t expecting to see at all, as his name wasn’t on the giant display map listing all the creators at the show, making me think he wasn’t there.  But yet, right in front of me was Andy Diggle!

“Hello Andy!” I said, “My name’s Max and I am a huge fan of yours!  I didn’t know you were going to be here!”

“Well, I got my registration in late, so I wasn’t listed in the programs or on the Artist’s Alley layout.  But I’m here!”

I got in a very nice conversation with Mr. Diggle, about how much I loved Green Arrow: Year One and especially Adam Strange: Planet Heist was disappointed he left his Action Comics run before it could even begin.  Then along with other books I was having him sign, I handed him a copy of Lenny Zero & the Perps of Mega City One.

“Oh! Have you read this?” Andy asked.

“Not yet, I just got it before the trip for you to sign.”

“It’s one of my first works, and I’m very proud of it.  It’s pretty wild,” he said, signing it.

“Awesome, I’ll read it soon!” I said.

Shortly after that, I bid Andy Diggle adieu and walked my way down the line.

Then I realized I had heard during the DC Panel that Brian Azzarello was supposed to be signing at 12 PM or 1 PM that day, I believe at the CBLDF (Comic Book Legal Defense Fund) booth but it may have been another charity.  I got there as Brian was there mid-signing.  I got in line, and when it was my turn I thought someone was trying to get ahead of me.

“Excuse me, I think I’m next,” I said.

“Relax,” said a guy behind the counter. “Brian will have time to sign everybody’s books.”

“It’s cool,” said the guy behind me.  “I can wait.”

I was a little embarrassed then, but I introduced myself to Brian and told him how much I was a fan of his work, especially his New 52 Wonder Woman since it was such a mix up of mythology and horror elements and kept me guessing.  I had a HUGE stack of books for Brian to sign, but he patiently made his way through them all.  Then we made it to Sgt. Rock: Between Hell & a Hard Place –a book Brian had written and Joe Kubert had drawn.   Since Joe had just passed away over the summer of 2013, I had just missed meeting him a second time at C2E2 2012, which Maureen didn’t let me go to.  Well, after Joe died, I decided I’d be damned if I missed another C2E2.  Luckily though, Maureen and I had met Joe Kubert a few years back at another Mid-Ohio Con, and he had signed and dedicated our volume of Sgt. Rock: Between Hell & a Hard Place “To Max and Maureen – Joe Kubert.”

“Wow, you met Joe?” Brian said, when he saw this.  “Did you meet him last year?”

“No I couldn’t make it last year,” I said. “I met him years ago at a Mid-Ohio Con.  Could you dedicate it like he did?”

And sure enough, Brian signed it “To Max and Maureen – Brian Azzarello.”

Not to mention, Brian was dedicating all the books he was signing “To Max” which I thought was AWESOME!  He even posed for a quick picture.  Someone made a joke that I don’t remember, but it caused us both to laugh as the picture was being taken.  I thanked Brian for his time and told him I’d keep reading Wonder Woman and to keep up the great work!  Then I made my way back into the crowd.

I was still taking pictures of cosplayers every chance I could, with just about every cosplayer who crossed my path.  However, as great as my camera was, I didn’t have a strap, and I had lost my case during the DC Panel.  So when I went to take a picture of a guy dressed up like the Joker and the camera slipped out of my hands… It landed with the lens extended and then would not retract the lens, when turned off.  I had successfully trashed Maureen’s and my camera.  D’oh!  So much for any more pictures!  This was very disappointing, but what could I do but press on.

I wandered around and looked at some various video game plushes, trying to find something to buy Maureen.  Finally I decided on a print which showed several Studio Ghibli characters waiting for a bus together.  I thought this would be a perfect gift for her, though as I would find out several days later after I got home, Maureen appreciated the thought but decided it would be a better gift for her older sister, so we stored it carefully until we could see her sis.  Back at C2E2, Travis had to get back to the booth to help out with Super-Fly again, so I decided I’d make a blitzkrieg attack and try to get as many books signed as I could by as many creators as I could on this last day.  I was determined to stop by Joe Staton’s booth and pay him back $10 his wife had short changed herself at Gem City Comic Con 2013 when I bought an E-Man Classic book First Comics had just put out from them.  I also wanted to stop by Dirk Manning’s booth, and the First Comics booth to say “hi” to the Fillbach Brothers. Little did I know that my goals were a little loftier than what my hung over body was capable of.

Then I walked over to where John Layman and Rob Guillory of Image’s CHEW were hanging out, and I told John Layman how much I liked CHEW and how unique it is.

“I’m also really excited to read your run on Detective Comics, but I’m waiting for the trade.” I said.

“You know that’s not coming out till November,” John said, as if he wasn’t pleased about that, signing my books and then handing them to Rob to sign.

“I just get most stuff in trade,” I said. “And I’m looking forward to it. Thanks so much, guys!” I said, as I got my books back.

Right around that area was Paul Cornell, whose work I had come into contact with during DC’s New 52 books Stormwatch and Demon Knights and I loved both.  I had books of both series for Paul to sign, as well as some other books my buddy Loren wanted me to get signed by him.

Now after I seemingly offended John Layman, Paul Cornell was a breath of fresh air as he was SUPER nice and very talkative.

“I’m bummed your runs on Stormwatch and Demon Knights weren’t longer,” I said.

“It’s alright, because I really got to do what I wanted to do, especially in Demon Knights, where I got to take it to exactly where I wanted to take it and wrap up all the loose ends I wanted.”

“Wow! That’s great!” I said as he finished signing my books.  “Hey, these are for my friend Loren,” I said, giving him Loren’s books.

“Sure!”  said Paul cheerfully.

Not only was Paul signing my & Loren’s books, he was dedicating them to us.  He also let me take a picture with him, which I got someone in line to do with my phone.  I also heard someone in line say Nick Spencer was over at the Marvel booth signing, but that would be my last chance to see him, and I didn’t take it, foolishly thinking he’d eventually show up next to Joe Eisma.  At any rate, Paul Cornell was one of the nicest people I’ve met at a con, and it made me want to read more of his work—even though he wouldn’t be doing anymore DC for the foreseeable future…

Brian Wood was also nearby this area, and I had brought all of my Northlanders books to sign, a series my wife and I love!  I met Brian, and he seemed a little wary of me, especially when I forgot the name of his artist on Conan, but I told him how much my wife and I loved Northlanders and he happily signed my books.  It was lucky I caught Brian when I did, as he said he was just getting ready to leave the con.  I thanked him for the autographs and made my way onward.

I stopped by Joe Staton’s booth, who was the artist who co-created the Huntress with Paul Levitz and is the co-creator of indie cult hero E-Man with Nicola Cuti.  Joe wasn’t there at the moment, but his wife was, allowing me to take care of some business that had bugged me since that year’s Gem City Con back in Ohio.

“Hello again!” I said to Joe’s wife.

“Oh hello!” she said.

“I guess Joe’s not here?” I asked.

“No, he went to go wander around.  He’ll be back in a bit.”

“That’s OK, I actually can talk to you.  You see, when I bought that E-Man book from you back in Ohio at the Gem City Con, I think you gave me back the wrong change so I got back $10 extra.  I didn’t realize it till after I left the show, but I wanted to pay you back for it now.”

“Oh! Well, thank you!” she said, as I handed her a $10.  “You must be very good with money.”

“Actually, I’m the exact opposite!” I said, “But I didn’t want you guys to get cheated since I’m such a fan.  I’ll come back when Joe’s around!”

“Okay, and thanks again!” she said.

I walked away and set about getting the rest of my stuff signed.  I had brought a ton of books for people to sign, and I had just about found everyone except for Steve Niles and Jeffery Brown, who I had been unable to find all weekend.  So I made the rounds to everyone else who I knew I could find, starting with Ethan Van Sciver.  I’ve met Ethan at least twice before (I think) so I had almost all my books signed by him, and only had one book for him to sign.  I am Facebook friends with him though, so I decided to introduce myself that way.

“Hi Ethan! I’m Max Lake and I’m one of your Facebook friends and a big fan!”

“Thanks for coming out,” Ethan said.

“I just have one book for you to sign,” I said, handing it over.  “I was also wondering about this Plastic Man thing you’re doing with Gail Simone.”

“It’s actually not a Plastic Man thing,” Ethan corrected me, “It just has Plastic Man in it.”

“Oh,” I said. “Do you think DC will ever let you do anything with Plastic Man?”

“Probably not,” he said matter-of-factly.

“Thanks for the signature! Can I get a picture with you?”

He said sure, and I got someone in line behind me to take a picture with my phone.  Unfortunately, I forgot to save it, so it was lost in the ether.  Oops!  I thanked again Ethan and moved on.

I then made my way over to Tony S. Daniel, and I had just bought the first volume of Detective Comics that he had written and drawn for DC’s New 52 as well as Batman RIP just for him to sign.  I greeted him and told him how much I enjoyed his work.

“Will you be writing anything else coming up?”

“Just finishing off Andy’s issues of Action; but no, I just want to draw for a while.  Maybe do some more writing in the future, but I want to concentrate on drawing for now.”

“Well you’re an amazing artist and a pretty good writer too.  I hope you don’t wait too long to write something again!”

He signed my book and posed for a picture and I was on my way again.

By this time, I was sweating alcohol, feeling very weary and tired and still quite hung over; I was hating life.  But I still had stacks of books to sign, so I pressed on, moving farther up to the top of artist’s alley to find Dough Mahnke, for whom I had a bunch of JLA and Justice League Elite as well as my Final Crisis hardcover books to sign.  I went up and introduced myself, and asked him if he minded signing some books.  He said fine, and since I had so many books, I had quite the conversation with Doug!

“Doug, how do you pronounce your last name?” I asked.

“It’s MAHN-KEY” he said, “It’s German.  Oh hey, Justice League Elite!  I really liked that book, I thought Joe [Kelly] had a really cool idea here with this book.”

“Oh yeah, the Elite are great characters.  ‘What’s so Funny About Truth, Justice and the American Way?’ is one of my favorite Superman stories.  I actually ran into Joe Kelly a few years before it was turned into an animated movie [Superman Vs. The Elite] and he told me they were making it!”

“Oh cool.  Yeah, great book.  Too bad it was just limited to this twelve issue limited series,” then as Doug signed another book: “Oh Plastic Man.  I loved drawing him!  He’s such a crazy character.”

“Yeah, he’s one of my favorites!  I wish he would join the current Justice League in the New 52.”

“Yeah, I don’t think Geoff is going to let that happen.  But it’s nuts he was even ever in the Justice League, he’s such a fricking clown!  But so powerful!” said Doug.

“Supposedly one of the most powerful in the League!  I think he’s a perfect member for the League,” I said. “If you asked me, I’d say he always belonged there,” I said.

It was really great talking to such a great artist as Doug Mahnke just about comics he’s drawn and his opinions on them, but my hangover was really rearing its head then, and I was about at the end of my rope.  Finally, Doug finished signing all my books.

“It was really nice meeting you and talking to you Doug! Enjoy the rest of the Con!” I said.

“Yeah, thanks,” he said.

I still had so much I wanted to do and there were at least two or three hours of the con left.  But I didn’t know how much longer I could stay standing, I felt wiped and disgusting from my hangover.  Something had to give.  Still I pressed on, and made my way over to Joe Staton’s table again.  I told myself Joe would be one of my last stops;  then stop by to say “hi” to Dirk Manning at his table and then see if the Fillbach Brothers were at the First Comics booth.  I could do it!  Still, I had to check one last time if Nick Spencer was back by Joe Eisma…

For a second, I thought Nick was at his table by Joe…But completely mistook Joe Eisma for Nick Spencer in my hung over haze.

“Nick?!?  Oh!  No! “ I said, realizing my mistake too late.  “Sorry Joe!  My bad.  I’m out of it.”

I think after this point, Joe Eisma removed Nick Spencer’s nametag from the table beside him, as stuff like this must have been happening all weekend.  About out of energy, I decided I’d try for Joe Staton again.

This time, Joe Staton was back at his table, and I greeted him again (I had met him and his wife at the Gem City Comic Con that year, and had told them I’d see them at C2E2).  First, I gave him a couple Justice Society and Millenium graphic novels to re-sign, as at GCCC2013 he had signed the outside covers, and his signature had just wiped away, so this time I got him to sign the inside of the books.  Then I had brought virtually my entire run of E-Man to the show for him to sign, and asked if he minded signing them.  He said he did not.  It’s actually a run I “inherited” mostly (and added to) from a family friend, Elliot Kennel (who I know reads the blog sometimes), so Elliot, if you’re still reading, know that your old E-Man collection is still under good care, still very much loved, and now is signed by Joe Staton.

As Joe was signing, I talked to Joe and his wife a bit.

“Is it cool seeing all these girls dressed up like the Huntress?” I asked.

“Yes, it’s very cool,” said Joe, signing away. “I get my picture taken with every one of them, and tell them I co-created the character.”

“What do they say to that?” I asked.

“Some think I’m crazy.  Some think it’s very cool.  I have fun either way.”

“How do you pronounce your name? Is it STAY-TON, or STAH-TON?”

Joe told me, but I’ve since forgotten.  ARGH!

Joe kept signing each comic as I pulled more and more of them out of bags and boards.  As I did, his wife was very impressed.

“I haven’t seen some of these covers in years!” she said.

“Oh really?  Wow!” I said.

“What are you working on right now, Joe?”

“I’m doing the Dick Tracy comic strip currently.”

“Are there any plans to bring back E-Man?”

“Nicola and I are always talking about it…”

I almost felt bad for having Joe sign so many comics; but the effort had been a trip down memory lane for the Statons, so I thanked them profusely.

“You know guys, I think you’re about my last stop for this con.  Thanks so much and best of luck to you!  Have a safe trip home!”

“You too!” said his wife.

By this time, I was practically staggering.  I started to make my way over to Dirk Manning’s booth, but it looked crowded, and by my figuring, I didn’t have enough money to buy his three Nightmare World books anyway (hopefully this year Dirk!), so I decided to skip it.  That left the Fillbach Brothers, so I stumbled like the crumb bum I was over to the First Comics booth and asked if they were there.

“They just stepped out to do an interview actually,” I was told.

So much for saying hi and getting their contact info…  That’s it, I decided.  STICK A FORK IN ME, I’m done with C2E2!!!  I went out with a whimper and not a bang, but it had been a great con overall.

I think I may have stopped by the Super-Fly booth on my way out to let them know I was going back to the room.  Travis let me know that after the show, the crew would break down everything and pack it all up, and that I could just stay in the room and chill.  It sounded good at the time…

As I dragged myself through the overhang, there was the sign “Is It Over Already?” that only seemed appropriate now.  Yes, it was—and it had been amazing.  I just was a little bit worse for wear.  On my way to my room, I saw a guy, who I had seen as Green Hulk earlier in the con, now dressed/painted as Red Hulk.  I got a quick picture with my phone.  Then on the elevator, I saw a trio dressed as Ryu, Chun Li, and the Red Skull.  Thank goodness my camera phone was still working!!!

Hours later, I was all by myself going a little stir crazy back in the hotel room.  I had rested up plenty, and now wished I was down helping with packing up or something.  It seemed to take forever!  It was dark out at this point, and I called Maureen to tell her about the con and kill time until the other guys got back.  I still had a long time to wait.  I ended up listening to the Aquabats on Maureen’s MP3 player she had loaned me for the trip, and that helped keep me sane while waiting.

Finally, the Super-Fly crew returned to the room and made a plan to hang out in the lobby with what little of the POPulation that remained.  Once we got down there, it was decided we’d order Chinese food, and perused menus and made decisions.  I talked to Andrew a bit, who had worked with First all weekend, about his real job, which at the time was at EA customer service.  He told me things weren’t going so well since EA released their latest Sim City game before it completely worked and was required to be online and how awful that was both for players and him as an employee.  Not long after this, our food came and we were soon all eating delicious Chinese takeout.  I ordered some kind of spicy noodle dish that I was unfamiliar with (I wanted to try something new) but it was very yummy.

Not long after dinner, we retreated to our room and made somewhat of an early night of it.  We had a long way to go in the morning back to Ohio and back to Super-Fly HQ, and while it hadn’t been the best show for the store, it had been a lot of fun.

Pictures from Sunday: