Thursday, January 6, 2011

What Lurks in the Longbox? #3

Convention Wrap-Up 2010! (Part 1)

2010 was a year of huge changes for both the convention circuit as well as the comic book industry itself.  Diamond’s announcement to offer Tuesday delivery of new comics to retailers; DC’s cover price reductions for their $3.99 titles; and IDW’s move to a “premium” publisher in Diamond’s Previews catalog, were just a few examples.  On the convention side, there were lots of new shows, as well as the expansion of many returning events.  Once again we attended a variety of different conventions throughout the year, all shapes and sizes.  The following report is a month-by-month summary of the shows we attended in 2010, which included local comic shows, regional comic and media conventions, and smaller collectibles/flea market type events.   

February:  W&D Productions promoted a Nostalgia & Paper Show at the Royal Oak Farmers Market, which also serves as a flea market on Sunday mornings.  A huge variety of items could be found at this show, including postcards, Big Little Books, movie memorabilia, tin signs, vintage toys, and of course comics, which included golden age all the way through modern books.  My wife found a nice stack of 40-50 Gold Key/Whitman comics in medium to low grade for only $8, which even included a few books from the late 50’s.  I also found some reasonably priced Bronze Age DC’s and Charltons.  Admission to the show area was $4.00, although there was no charge to check out the rest of the market. 

March:  Joe Pellegrino, a long-time promoter of collectible shows in the Detroit area, once again held his “Collectors Mania” show, which also took place at the Royal Oak Farmers Market.  Admission to this show was also $4.00.  Unlike W&D’s show the prior month, this event was more of a straightforward comic book and toy show, but still had a nice variety of merchandise.  Donna once again found the best deals, including a great deal on nine early issues of Iron Man, which contained Issues #2 and #3.  The Farmers Market is always an interesting choice of venue, as you can walk out with a stack of comics in one hand and some fresh produce or baked goods in the other.  We always recommend stopping by John Henry’s booth that features “farm fresh” meats and cheese, which come directly from Meinecke Farms in Millington, Michigan.  They also offer Amish Country Butter in a two pound roll, which may be the best butter you will ever have!

April:  Flint ComixCon was a new show organized by Randy Zimmerman, a local artist and Editor of the Flint Comix and Entertainment newspaper.  FC&E is a monthly publication that features a wide variety of comic strips both new and old, with everything from Popeye to Judge Dredd.  Also serving as an entertainment and dining guide for the Flint area, the newspaper is offered absolutely free through news boxes and various businesses in the local area, with paid subscriptions available through the mail for fans living outside the area.  Randy offered unlimited free copies of Issues #3-12 of the publication to all attendees.  Brian Germain of Dark Elf Designs was also at the show promoting his creator-owned work, as well as his own upcoming “XcapeCon” event that will take place in 2012.  The show had more of an emphasis on local artists and small press publishing companies, but did have a few comic dealers as well.  One local store owner in particular had a sale on a large selection of DC kids comics like The Batman Strikes!, Teen Titans and Justice League Animated. As we usually do when in the Flint area, we made stops at the Flint Flea Market and a local antique shop for deals on some additional old comics.  Many people do not realize how “comic friendly” Flint is.  There are several local comic shops, antique stores and a major flea market with a great collectible toy store owned by Andrew Jones of Discount Toys & Comics. 

In Part 2 of my “Convention Wrap-Up 2010” report, I’ll discuss my frustrations with a couple larger shows we visited, before finishing out the year with a brand new local show in my old hometown, and the return of one of the oldest conventions in the country. 

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