27 September 2009

Seven Things to Do at the Albany Comic Con

The next Albany Comic Con is Sunday, November 1st from 10 AM to 4 PM at the Holiday Inn on Wolf Road in Colonie, NY. This is, I think, the fourth time the convention has been held, and each time out it seems to get a little bigger and a little better. Here are seven things I recommend you do if you're attending.

* Buy some original art. I bought an amazing Archie drawing for my wife from artist Joe Staton at the show a year ago. This year, Staton returns and is joined by other artists like Fred Hembeck, John Hebert, Joe Sinnott, Herb Trimpe and Matthew Dow Smith, among others. Bring some cash, help support talented artists and bring home a one-of-a-kind piece of art. Writers at the show include Todd Dezago and Ron Marz (who I recently interviewed), who no doubt will be bringing some of their work as well, which you can, of course, get personally signed.

* Hang with your comics-loving pals. I met writer Tim Callahan at a previous Albany Comic Con and had a great chat with him. I also always try to find bloggers/FantaCo alumni Roger Green and Rocco Nigro, who I think have made every show thus far. The fact is, if you love comics and live anywhere within 200 miles of Albany, chances are you'll run into friends and have a chance to catch up and talk comics.

* Attend a panel discussion. I'm told the show will include a panel about a particularly timely issue to the artform and industry of comics, as well as an interview with one of the major artists in attendance. Convention panels are one of the unique things about comics conventions that you can't experience in any other way (as opposed to buying comics or chatting with your pals), and all the panels I've heard about for the November show sound like they should be fun and informative.

* Win stuff. Hang on to your ticket; all the previous shows have had hourly-or-so giveaways of great prizes donated by dealers attending the show, and I assume that will be the case this time around as well. Previous giveaways included high-end statues and hardcover comics collections, so it's always worth checking your ticket to see if you're a winner.

* Check out the costumes. The Albany area seems to have some very devoted fans who must spend a small fortune on their costumes. The Star Wars contingent is always amazing and very open to letting you get your picture taken with them.

* Get some amazing bargains. The economy hasn't recovered since the last time I attended this show, and many of the dealers seemed to be operating on the assumption that people don't have a ton of money to spend and adjusted their prices accordingly. I got some pretty pricey hardcover collections (brand new and still in the shrinkwrap) at 30-50 percent off the cover price. I'd bet the farm there will be similar bargains this time out.

* Get the convention-exclusive Witchblade written by Ron Marz and with a variant cover by Matthew Dow Smith. I've had a look at the cover for this special issue (and Smith posted a sneak peek here), which is the launch of a new storyline, and I can tell you it is the single best piece of Witchblade art I have ever seen. If you remember the art Smith did for Hellboy a few years back, he brings the same sense of mood and portent to the cover of this issue, and I'm hoping to snag a copy. As a bonus, Smith even worked Albany into the art into a pretty clever manner. Production was limited on this issue, so if you want one, be sure to grab it early.

Remember, the Albany Comic Con is Sunday, November 1st at the Wolf Road Holiday Inn in Colonie, New York. I hope to see you there!

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26 September 2009

Confidential: For Tom Spurgeon's Eyes Only

Tom Spurgeon isn't kidding about his email problems. I tried to send my Five for Friday entry to him, well, ironically now that I think about it, five times. Anyway, the question was "Name five great things about Steve Ditko." I hope you'll use this if you spot it before you post your entries, Tom, and I invite the TWC gang and anyone else reading this to post their answers in the comments. Mine are:

1. His depiction of New York City
2. His refusal to compromise
3. His work for Charlton
4. His Spider-Man run
5. His other-dimensional freakscapes

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