I went to the Boston Fan Expo over the weekend, Sunday August 12th, and had a really great time. Over the previous couple of years I thought this convention had really gone down hill, with last year being the least enjoyable of the now six or seven times that I’ve been able to go. Last year the convention seemed to focus too much on the television and movie celebrities and not enough on the comic book talent and dealers. This year was a vast improvement. More floor space was devoted to the artist alley so the writers and artists could spread out more and have better line management. There was also more room for dealers and other booths selling various wares. Finally there was still plenty of space to have the long lines for the TV and movie personalities. Overall it was a much more enjoyable year and I think the families, cos-players, celebrity hounds and comic nerds would all agree.
The Greg Capullo Fan Experience
This year I was finally able to meet Greg Capullo and get his autograph on a couple of comics and I really had fun doing it. A couple of years ago when he was signing in Baltimore, when the New 52 Batman run was at its peak of popularity, and his lines were way too long. Last year he had to cancel in Boston for a health reason. This year was the year though. This was also the case for several people in the line that I talked to, many of whom had purchased the fan experience last year. Mr. Capullo turned out to be a very nice guy. When he arrived he walked the line greeting all the fans. Once we were all seated in the room he started with a good thirty minute Q&A session.
He was asked some interesting questions and gave some interesting and funny answers. One person asked him how he got the job working on Spawn. He told a great story about starting out at Marvel and Todd McFarlane calling him offering him work on Spawn. At first he turned it down but when he did not get promoted at Marvel after becoming successful on Quasar he ended up leaving and going to work for McFarlane. He did a pretty funny impression of him as well. He talked about working with Scott Snyder and more than once called him crazy. After reading the first four issues of the new Justice League I can certainly believe that. When the Q&A finished the Fan Expo staff did a very good job of organizing us eager fans to make sure that everyone had a chance get their stuff signed and move along in a timely manner.
When it was my turn I had the chance to ask if the issue of What If? that I had brought was indeed his work. He said that it was one of the first things that he did at Marvel and that the cover wasn’t his, the new guy didn’t get to do the cover. I was okay with this, I like the idea of getting a writer or artists early work signed. I asked him if he was enjoying the convention and he said something that a lot of the creators I’ve met say. He told me that works in a very solitary job and that he really enjoyed getting out to meet the fans that enjoy his work. I think it is really great to have the opportunity to interact with these artists who appreciate the fans as much as we appreciate having the chance to meet them. It certainly makes me feel like I am not wasting their time. Overall I was very glad to have finally meet one of DC’s biggest artists in recent years and get a couple of comics signed while I was at it.
Over the years I heard a lot of great things about Wednesday Comics from DC and how wonderful they were. I’ve seen the over-sized collection but never really looked into it. Digging through a dealers cheapo bin I can across seven issues of the series. All were neatly bagged and were only a dollar each. I bought the lot of them and am excited to see what was so great about them.
I’ve never been a big fan of Texeira’s work but I did enjoy the first few issues of Black Panther that he worked on for the Marvel Knights line. It turns out he was a super nice and glad to chat with the fans seeking his autograph. He was pretty funny and really seemed to enjoy talking to the fans. What was especially nice is that he took the time to do a small sketch on the covers of the comics that people were giving him. It seemed like since he was asking for five dollars for a signature that the fans ought to get a little something for it. In the pic above you can see the Black Panther profile that he did in black and silver sharpie.
He also wanted to take pictures with the fans and the comics and post them to his Instagram account. So far I’ve been unable to find him on the app otherwise I’d link it here. I’m planning on bringing this comic to Terrific Con next weekend hoping to have it signed by Christopher Priest.
Dragon Magazine and Ecto Cooler
Dragon Magazine and ecto cooler sounds like a perfect combination for a Friday night with friends. They also happen to probably the oddest things I picked up today. While strolling through artist alley I came across a large statue of a green outfitted superhero with four cases of Ecto Cooler in front of him. In case you were wondering Ecto Cooler is a delicious citrus juice made by HiC and re-released in the last couple of years to coincide with the release of the new Ghostbusters movie. In this particular case the makers of the comic Vortex Man were giving away cans of the fantastic fruit juice with the purchase of a comic. After talking to the gentleman promoting Vortex Man it was an easy decision to try the comic and obtain a can o’ juice.
The Dragon Magazines was a little more straight forward. Again while in artist alley I walked by a table that was covered in old issues of Dragon Magazines. With no one right behind the table I asked the closest person and it turns out they were indeed his. Whomever I was speaking to was previously professor at MIT. When he was younger he and his friends were apparently into Dungeons and Dragons and Dragon magazine was something they all read. This former MIT faculty however never actually played and was now interested in cleaning out his basement. I was able to pick up six issues of the magazine for twenty bucks including one issue with a dynamite cover by Tim Hildebrandt.
It is no secret that I enjoy Peter Tomasi’s writing on Superman. The Superman Rebirth title was easily my favorite. I had the chance to meet Mr. Tomasi for a second time and ask him to sign my Action Comics #1000. Since there was not one waiting while he was signing my comic I was able to talk to him for a couple of minutes. I told him how much I enjoyed his work on Superman, Super Sons, and the Super Sons / Blue Falcon one shot. I also asked him about how he was able to get DC to let him write the way he did, the one and two issue story arcs, the issues where there is almost no fighting, and the not writing for trade paperbacks in general.
I told him how much I liked the county fair, Gettysburg / Washington D.C., Manchester Black, and Dinosaur Island stories. He told me that he really had to fight to get those stories in. He said his editors complained that there was not enough action or that Superman was not in costume enough. I told him that I did not think every comic has to have a fight in it, there are other stories that can be told occasionally and he agreed. We also lamented the cancelation of Super Sons and I told him I was glad it was coming back for a bit. He said that was a fight too. He said that he was able to get it back with the argument that it is one of their only entry levels books for younger readers. He’s not wrong about that. Not wanting to take up anymore of his time I moved on but it was a nice conversation, even if I did gush a little.
In search of…
I was able to find a couple of comics that I was actually looking for, as opposed to pulling out fun things from the dollar bins. The first item is something I’ve actually been looking for for a couple of years, Thanos Quest #2. I was able to get this one off a fifty percent off wall and was more than happy to pay ten dollars for it. I found issues #2 & 3 of 2001: A Space Odyssey. This is Jack Kirby’s trippy interpretation of the Stanley Kubrick movie. It’s truly a weird comic. Finally I found a great copy of Plop #1 and then later pulled Plop #9, 17, and 19. It’s always great to cross a few off the list when searching through boxes and boxes of comics.
I’ve saved the best for last. There were lots of great writers and artists I was looking forward to having something signed, Peter Tomasi, Michael Cho, and Sam Humphries to name a few. Frank Quietly was the guy I most wanted to get though. He rarely does conventions so this could have a been a once in a lifetime opportunity. I happened to catch him with a short line and was able to chat with him, the fans in front of me, and his handler.
I had All-Star Superman #1 for him to sign but I was also able to buy a wonderful print of Daredevil and Elektra that he did. When it was my turn in line he signed my comic and then started to sign the print. He suddenly stopped after writing “Vin”. He looked at his handler and then at me. He said he started to sign his real name. It turns out Frank Quietly is a pen name he adopted early in his career when he was doing an underground comic and wanted a name to, in his words, “hide behind”. I told him go ahead and finish signing his real name. The poster was for me and going up on my wall, not for sale or anything. I told him I knew who had signed it so what did it matter. I ended up with a great comic signed by a great artist and a cool poster signed by Vincent Deigham.
All in all I had great time this year at the Boston Fan Expo. I was able to meet some very friendly artists, put a couple more signed collectibles into my bins, and walk away with some real treasures. Next weekend I’m headed to Connecticut’s best comic convention, Terrific Con, and I hope to have another great report after that.