It was a day two years in the making, and it did not disappoint! In April 2017, I joined my friends Mike and Robert from Back in the Bronze Age (and formerly staff writers at Bronze Age Babies), along with one of their frequent commenters, Joe, at the C2E2 comic convention in Chicago. We couldn't pull it together to meet again in 2018, and alternate plans to meet in Indianapolis also did not materialize. But never say never, and through Joe's prodding we made it happen a few days ago. But the surprise of the day was the appearance of Colin Bray, all the way from England! Colin had been a mainstay at the BAB and then moved over to participate in the shenanigans at BitBA. On a whim, one day Joe offered Colin and Steve from Steve Does Comics to come on over - Joe would pick them up at the airport and put them up for a few days. Colin took that bait, and it was a total pleasure to meet him and to spend a few hours sharing our love of the Bronze Age, though separated by an ocean.
|Robert, Doug, Colin, Mike, and Joe at C2E2, March 2019|
The initial exchange of pleasantries over, we headed out to the Artist Alley. I'd had in mind that I'd like to continue to fill my copy of Les Daniels's Marvel: Five Fabulous Decades of the World's Greatest Comics with creator signatures. I was put off, however, that many of the bigger names were charging for their autographs. While I understand that practice, it did sour me a bit. There were some creators, however, who offered a free signature in exchange for any size donation to the Hero Initiative. I thought that was worthwhile, although I did not do that with anyone. So my initial goal of securing signatures from Art Adams, Neal Adams, Rob Liefeld, Kevin Nowlan, George Perez, and Marv Wolfman fell somewhat flat. My choice - I do not mean to cast blame toward any of those creators.
I did, however, meet Joe Staton. Joe's famous in my personal history for his work on the Justice Society revival in All-Star Comics in the mid-70s, and then on Green Lantern around the same time. My favorite Marvel job of Joe's is his inking of Sal Buscema in Avengers during the "Celestial Madonna" arc. Joe was at his table with his wife, and they were quite kind and friendly. I'd been on Joe's website ahead of the con in order to see what kind of prints he might have for sale. I'd seen a JSA print and really hoped that he'd have it. Lo and behold, he did! But when I asked about buying one, his wife said that I was going to get the last one! Score! I was quite happy to take it off their hands, and Joe happily signed it to me, along with my copy of the Huntress: Darknight Daughter tpb I'd brought along. I thanked Joe for the hours of fun he'd given me, and he seemed humbled by that. But I think it's important that we share our gratitude when we can.
After roaming the Artist Alley some more, and deciding I didn't want to wait in the very long line to greet Wolfman and Perez, I eventually made my way to the vendors. Those who've followed me through the years know that in 2014 I sold almost all of my comics and memorabilia collection. Having done so, it changes one's mood a bit at a large comic convention. I used to hunt for the Marvel Legends I'd missed, and there was a time long ago when trying to fill out my complete run of Avengers, volume 1, was really fun. Now, though... I often walked right past those vendors, sometimes with a longing glance, yes, but often with little notice. The places I did seek out, however, were those dealers specializing in trade paperbacks and hardcover collections, or at least with a significant stock. Once finding those folks (notably Torpedo Comics), I then hoped for the somewhat traditional group pricing. And did I find it!
As at any con these days, there is always some great cosplay. No shortage of that in Chicago last Sunday. Mike took these pics and shared them with the gang. I thought I'd pass them along to you, too. The Galactus outfit is off the charts!!
Monday was spent organizing all of my new purchases. As I've pulled comics to read, left some books out for use here on the BWBC, bought new things, etc., my book case had become somewhat messy. After C2E2 it seemed time was ripe for some reorganization. It took around an hour, and required a little thought first, pulling some things off the shelves, reorganizing an action figure display, and plotting out some future acquisitions that are on my radar. But after all that, I thought I put it back together nicely.
You'll notice the copyrights at bottom left of each panel. This is actually a series of bookmarks, featuring Barry Smith's Red Sonja. Robert got this from Smith back in 1975 at a convention in Indianapolis, IN. Robert was in high school then, and had held onto this gem ever since. I was floored by his gift - what a cool piece! Truthfully, it's worth more than the stay in our extra bedroom and a hot shower - but that's what friends do. I'm thankful for the time the five of us spent and the few hours of breaks we took to just talk comics and growing up in the Bronze Age. Oh, and we're already making plans for the future!