It’s the first day of Gem City Comic Con in March 2012! Max spends the day at the Con with some companions and has some wild experiences, least of all meeting Mark Waid!
Super-Fly Comics & Games’ plucky sidekick Max Lake has embarked on a journey to read his collection of DC & other comics! Join Max each week every Friday 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 email@example.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 firstname.lastname@example.org or feel free to comment in the comments section below. Check out @maxdlake to follow Max on Twitter. 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.
Luck was a lady last night! I played poker with some friends, and we played tournament yle, where everyone pays in $5 and one person gets the pot at the end of the night. At best, I’d have money for Gem City Comic Con, at worst I’d lose $5. So we played into the night, though it got so late we went to play for everything based on one hand. I was a little disappointed, because I had a lion’s share of chips just due to good luck, but I couldn’t argue that it was late and we needed to resolve things. Turns out, I got the highest hand, with a “royal straight” beating everyone else out and winning $35. Score! Or as some Japanese video games like to say, “Get Bonus!”
So after a late, late night gambling, I was woken up by my friend Loren calling getting us up to go to the Con. So Maureen and I went to the Gem City Comic Con today and for the first time in its short history, the Con will be held for two days! Sadly, Maureen and I went only today with no plans of returning tomorrow after buying $10 one day passes. In the past, there have been discounts for college students and Military, though not this year disappointingly, and we figured we could get everything out of the Con in one day anyway.
I arrived at the con not planning to buy anything, but sure I would anyway. I wasn’t looking for anything specific, except for a copy of the rare book Shazam! From the 40s to the 70s, which reprints several classic Captain Marvel tales. I saw a copy at last year’s Gem City Comic Con and didn’t have the money for it, but this year I do, so I hoped I could find a copy. Of course, I was looking for cool comics and action figures and deals that I couldn’t pass up. Also we were there to meet Mark Waid!
We browsed the floor at first, and the first thing we saw at one of the booths was a bookrack with a copy of Shazam! From the 40s to the 70s! We checked it out as we could only see the spine at first, and there were small chunks of the dust jacket missing, one of them leading into a tear, but other than that it was in good condition. The price tag stopped me though: $150! Now that’s not an unreasonable price for that book, but in that condition, it wasn’t what I wanted to pay, so we moved on.
We then hit up the Super-Fly Comics booth. Tony and Jared were running it, and greeted us enthusiastically. Things were hopping for them, which we were happy to hear. I asked them if they had seen our friend Loren, and they had and pointed me down the aisle, where sure enough, there was Loren. He was looking for Punisher comics, as he is trying to complete his run of the first Punisher ongoing series. He looked a little busy, so we moved on down and decided it was time to meet Mark Waid.
We got in line and there was barely anyone in it! So we lined up, and even let the family with two young ones go before us, with the idea we could have a little extra time talking to Mark. Of course, as soon as we did this and lined up, a massive line started to form behind us—so much for that idea! We waited patiently as the family talked, took pictures, and Mark Waid drew pictures of Batman for the kids and signed them. He even got his girlfriend to take a picture of him holding the family’s baby! Very cool. They finished up, and then it was our turn.
Maureen and I went up and introduced ourselves and told Mark he was one of our very favorite comic writers and Maureen told him the first super hero comic she ever read was Justice League Year One. We handed over our books to sign and Maureen also told Mark how much she enjoyed Superman Birthright and I echoed her sentiments. Mark told us that of all his work, that’s one of the books he’s proudest of. Maureen complimented Mark’s girlfriend on her IT Crowd shirt and Mark continued signing our books. They asked how long we’d been married and I told them five years, though I accidentally told them the wrong date at first because I was so nervous meeting Mark.
Mark was super cool and nice though, and he mentioned he was launching his all new online comics at markwaid.com starting April 2nd. I had heard about that, mainly that Mark was selling all of his comic book collection to fund these new online comics. I told Mark I could never do it. He replied he thought that too ten years ago, but now he felt differently. His girlfriend chipped in to say that Mark was keeping all his trades though! This was a big relief to me somehow, as most of my comic collection is in my trades, and I could now comprehend how Mark Waid—comics’ historian—could make such a daring move. I made a mental note to definitely check out those online comics, and then we got a picture of myself and Mark Waid.
We thanked Mark for our time and then made our way away from the table. We saw Tony a couple people back from the front line, and he told us he was going to show Mark his Kingdom Come Superman tattoo—something he had been debating doing for at least a week. I had encouraged him to do it, and it turned out, Mark really liked it! I’m glad Tony made that decision. Before we went back in the main showroom, Maureen pulled out $5 for the Heroes Initiative box at Mark’s table that we had forgotten to contribute to (well, Maureen hadn’t) and I quickly ducked back and dropped it in. Mark was talking to another fan, but his girlfriend noticed and smiled.
Then it was back to the main hall. I ran into someone from my Japanese class who works at Maverick’s, a comic shop in Dayton, and asked if they had any half price trades this year. They didn’t apparently, because they thought everyone was going to bring them. Well, apparently, no one did! He did say “that one booth on the corner” of the aisle down from us had them, but that was it. Upon closer inspection, “that one booth on the corner” landed us back at Super-Fly’s booth! And sure enough, they had half-priced trades—or sure fire Max comic convention bait.
I looked around and found both Scalped Vol. 7: Rez Blues (Scalped is kinda like The Sopranos on an Indian Reservation) and what (I believe is) the final Stephanie Brown Batgirl trade, The Lesson—and both for only $15 together! That’s what I call a deal!
We looked around some more and then Maureen said we should ask the dealer with the Shazam! From the 40s to the 70s book to make a deal, like maybe offer him $100 instead of $150. I was a little nervous to do it, because I doubted he’d discount it $50 off, and I didn’t want to pay $150 for the book in that condition.
“Well, let’s just ask!” Maureen insisted.
“Nah,” I said, “I just don’t think he’ll go for it.”
“Well, I’m asking anyway!” Maureen said definitely, and walked up to the dealer and started talking to him. Then I heard her go “Really?!?” and turn to me and say “Max, it’s $75!”
Well, she had my interest then, as I’ve seen a pristine copy of the book go on ebay for $200, and I wasn’t particularly picky about the cover for that price. We went up and talked to the dealer, who told us that some people were trying to pay full price on comics that were clearly marked half-off, so he said he could understand our confusion. Of course, my confusion came about from there being nothing marking the books as being discounted and the only price on the book reading “$150.” Regardless, I now own the book, meaning I now have completed my Shazam/Captain Marvel trade and hardcover library!
Toys were scarce and the guys who had a decent action figure deal (buy 2 for $10 each, the third is free) had slim pickings at best. They had a lot of figures I had already, plus a few Qward Weaponers (enemies of Green Lantern) and a Jimmy Olsen action figure. I passed these up, but later regretted not picking up Jimmy Olsen just to have a civilian floating around. However, we did come across a table full of DC Universe Classics figures put out by Mattel. My action figures are mostly by DC Direct, but several (and increasingly so) are Mattel DCU Classics simply because their line has had a breadth not even attempted by DC Direct. They had a few figures I was interested in, including a Forager figure and a Ted Knight Star Man, but what really caught my eye was a Mantis figure—something I had on my want list for a while now. He was $35 though, so I said out loud to Maureen.
“These guys are way too expensive!” Then I turned to leave.
The booth owner intercepted me, letting me know that figure prices were negotiable. I threw out a $25 offer for Mantis, which he readily accepted. Maureen handed him $25, and then he said:
“I woulda let you have him for $20.”
Well, crap! I wasn’t too upset though.
“That’s fine,” I said. “I’ve been looking for him for a long time.”
We departed the booth and right then I decided we had better get out of there before I spent any more money. Maureen agreed, and we went to collect Loren. Finding him, we decided to go to lunch after leaving, and departed for our cars. We met up at One Eyed Jack’s across the street from WSU and enjoyed a good meal regaling each other with tales of the Con.
After lunch, we dropped Loren’s car off at his place and he rode over to our house, where we went over our spoils. I set up my new action figures with Loren helping out by putting Mantis on the top of my bookcase where I have all my villains, which is where all my Apokolips characters are. Loren looked through his Punishers and I checked out Shazam! From the 40s to the 70s which I thought was more of a book about Captain Marvel and the Marvel Family, but in fact, it’s almost 99.5% all reprints from, ironically enough, the 40s, 50s and 70s with an introduction by Norman Birdwell being the only prose on the Big Red Cheese & co. Sadly, almost all the reprints are in black & white, but this still gives me stories I didn’t have before and most certainly didn’t have collected in a book, which makes the volume and its contents viable for a part of the Read My Library project. The dust jacket isn’t in the best shape, but handled carefully it should be okay. I may take it to a book repair shop to get a plastic sleeve to cover the dust jacket.
The day wound down and I took Loren home after a bit and just got home a bit ago to blog it up. We didn’t buy second day passes just because of money issues (not just the extra $10 it would cost for both of us to get second day passes, but the potential of spending more money on a second day) but Maureen also has plans tomorrow anyway. Overall it was a great con, though it wasn’t as exciting as other Gem City Cons with the exception of Mark Waid being there; there weren’t as many deals, or as much stuff—though I easily spent the most out of any Gem City I’ve been to so far. At least I had won that little extra spending cash earlier this morning! Still, it was a great con and I kind of regret not getting that second day pass. I’ve already realized I forgot to bring my Justice League Midsummer’s Nightmare to get signed by Mark Waid. Next year I’ll definitely go both days. However, overall it was a fun time and a con I won’t soon forget!