Erik Hodson

Mid-Ohio Con Becomes Wizard World Ohio in 2012

The 2012 convention season is in full swing!  The Ohio Comic Con, formerly the Mid-Ohio Con, is hosted by Wizard in the great city of Columbus!

Wizard Conventions are more of a pop culture celebration than a traditional comic con.  Their diverse guest lists tend to attract wrestling fans, sci-fi fans, and TV fans right along with those of us whose main reason for attending the show is to hobnob with the best creators in comics.

Tommy Castillo hosted the Drink ‘N Draw on Friday night.  This was a truly personal experience where amateurs and pros alike gathered to share some fun times over beer and Bristol board.  We exercised our creative muscles under the care and guidance of Tommy with his fellow judges, Primo Cardinelli and Stuart Sayger.  My table was challenged to draw “Batman vs. Stewie on a Farm in Late Fall/Almost Winter” while others had their own unique set of characters and circumstances to bring to life.  While this reporter didn’t place in the amateur category, I appreciated the friendly and personal environment that Tommy and Wizard created, clearly out of a love for artwork and the desire to present opportunities for unsung talent.  Mark my words; someone is going to hit it big after they win this event!  Jay Fife took first place in the pro category, winning a free table at an upcoming Wizard show.

Wizard has been criticized for changing the “Mom and Pop” atmosphere of the Mid-Ohio Con to its more commercially-driven present incarnation.  I present the Drink ‘N Draw as proof that a family vibe still exists at the show.  Bravo Tommy!  Bravo Wizard!

Neal Adams, mayor of New York (practically), is hard at work on First X-Men for Marvel, but took time out of his schedule to meet his fans, and hold a Q&A panel where he discussed his favorite character to draw, working with Stan Lee, breaking into the business, and fighting for creator’s rights to have original artwork returned to them.

Alan Davis flew in from the UK!  Mr. Davis is presently gearing up for a top secret Marvel project that he couldn’t release details on.  However, his modern work typically appears on special projects outside of main titles where Mr. Davis can place the utmost care into his pencils to deliver the highest quality possible, far ahead of looming deadlines (i.e. Justice League: The Nail and Avengers: Prime).  Note that Mr. Davis inspires such loyalty from his fans that a few good natured art lovers eagerly stepped up to the plate to assist in managing Mr. Davis’ endless sketch and autograph line.  Another thankful collector presented Alan’s wife, Mrs. Davis, with flowers to thank her for visiting our country with her husband.

Mike McKone attended!  McKone recently moved to San Diego.  After years of being a Wizard mainstay at east coast shows, this is a rare appearance for him on the right-hand side of the country.  Fans welcomed McKone with open arms, who said he was pleasantly surprised at how cosmopolitan the city of Columbus is.  Mike’s favorite characters are The Hulk and The Thing in that order.

Mexican superstar Humberto Ramos made it to the show!  Ramos remains one of the premiere Spidey artists and his work can be found there most months.

Jorge Molina came up from Mexico! Jorge was excited about the Cable cover he just finished, which will serve as the character’s first post X-Sanction appearance.  Cable will be sporting a new look without his machine parts for a short time while his character transitions between X-Sanction and the upcoming Cable and X-Force.

Tyler Kirkham is moving from Green Lantern: New Guardians to Teen Titans!  Issue 0, featuring Tyler’s artwork was just released.

Image Comics writer Dirk Manning arrived promoting the upcoming collection of his online column Write or Wrong and his current webcomic Tales of Mr. Rhee.

Local talent Sean Forney sketched for fans at the Hero Initiative booth!

Jordan Gunderson attended the show promoting his brand new “Ink and Blood” art collection.

Chad Cicconi of Action Lab is gearing up for a huge announcement on a new project.  Watch the news sites, fans!

Watercolor artist Carla Wyzgala stays hard at work on webcomic Surreality, but she’s never too busy to meet her fans!

Sketch card artist Erik Hodson has been in the comics industry for over 7 years as an independent publisher and creator.  Check out his light hearted webcomic Chad the Fat Kid.

I asked CM Punk of the WWE a question during his Q&A panel regarding his love for Ed Brubaker comics.  Are you curious for more details?  Check out the fitness guru’s answer at the 17:45 minute mark here:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gYeYIYidC7w&fb_source=message

My final thoughts on the Ohio Comic Con?  Let’s review what makes a convention great.  Fans interacting with creators?  Check.  Creators interacting with each other?  Double check.  Celebration atmosphere?  Wizard crafted a pop culture festival complete with tattoo artists!  This show was awesome.

   

Up next are panel wrap-ups from Q&As with Patrick Stewart and John de Lancie as well as Val Kilmer.

Special Thanks to Brian “Jimmy Olsen” Jones.

There are three things that make a con great, interactions with creators, watching creators interact with each other, and the overall celebration atmosphere that goes along with gathering a mob of fans in one location.  The third annual Cincinnati Comic Expo scored positive marks in each category!

The show floor was laid out in such a manner so that its aisles reached a pleasant crowd capacity.  Visitors could enjoy the feeling of attending an A+ event without being subjected to the claustrophobic feeling of a fire hazard situation.

Here’s what some of the guests had to say!

George Perez attended the show!  If you’ve never seen the great George Perez at a convention, it’s a good bet that he’ll impress you when you finally meet him. His work ethic and professionalism are only exceeded by his enthusiasm and friendliness. He arrives before the doors open to the public, then signs, sketches, and takes photos for and with his fans until the doors close.   Of the many times I’ve had the pleasure of seeing him at conventions in the past, this was the best I’ve seen Mr. Perez’ line managed, which is a huge gold star for the show.  George discussed how much he enjoys sharing art duties on World’s Finest with Kevin Maguire, while he feverishly works on commissions in anticipation of the many conventions he appears at throughout the year.

Georges Jeanty has been hard at work on Dark Horse’s Buffy: The Vampire Slayer comics over the past 5 years. The Buffy Season 9 comic is in full swing and is presently slated to run 25 issues.  Georges is great fun to catch at a show as he offers sketchbooks filled with behind the scenes information on his Buffy work that can’t be obtained through traditional retail outlets.

P. Craig Russell spent time following his tenure on Sandman adapting an opera called The Ring of the Nibelung to the graphic novel format, which he describes as his magnum opus.  He’s enjoyed promoting it these past few years and found opera culture to share many similar positive qualities to comic book culture.  He’s currently working on a comic book adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard.

Josh Blaylock,made a triumphant return to his hometown!  The president of Devil’s Due Entertainment showcased his recent collaboration with indie hip-hop artist Murs on the Yumiko: Curse of the Merch Girl hardcover graphic novel. The story follows a twenty something girl that works selling merchandise for a punk band that’s gaining fans and popularity at a rate too fast for their own good.  The story was conceptualized to capture the feeling of the lifestyle of a musician on the road.  Murs provided creative input and wrote a song to accompany each of the 10 chapters of the comic.

Josh and Devil’s Due are presently promoting the Kickstarter campaign for K. Lynn Smith’s Plume.  Check it out here: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/devilsdue/plume-help-k-lynn-smith-print-a-5-issue-miniseries

Whilce Portacio, Image Comics founder and artist of classic runs on X-Factor, Uncanny X-Men, Wetworks, and Stormwatch, was at the show sketching and signing autographs!  He’s presently working with writer Glen Brunswick on Non-Humans, a creator owned series about toys that come to life.  It’s due out October 3 from Image.

Mike Norton (Green Arrow/Black Canary, Runaways) was in attendance!  His web comic Battle Pugs is great fun!  Check it out at http://battlepug.com/

Geof Darrow just recently completed artwork for a Shaolin Cowboy novel.  It’s a prose story punctuated by Mr. Darrow’s hyper-detailed pinups, to be released this fall.  Mr. Darrow is also working on covers for the Marvel Now Deadpool comic.

One of my personal favorite parts of a convention is the chance to interact with up and coming professionals.  Local illustrators, graphic artists, and self-publishers are placed right next to DC and Marvel creators in Artist’s Alley.

Sean Forney had copies of his self-published comic Scarlet Huntress #2 on sale!  The lovely Stephanie Forney, who was promoting her custom superhero piggy banks and chef’s aprons, wrote the comic!  The cover was by Josh Medors, who was feeling good and sketching for fans!

Erik Hodson’s sketch cards were a crowd favorite!

Billy Tacket gave fans a chance to observe his process while working on a Swamp Thing painting in anticipation of Sunday’s auction.

Nik Havert, writer and president of Pickle Press, offered a bonus haiku when purchasing any of his comics.

Andy Bennett‘s gothic artwork competes with the best that Marvel and DC has to offer at a cost that’s much more accessible than that of many more well known creators.

Dave Aikins was positioned at a corner booth where he offered a fun juxtaposition of his children’s books directly adjacent to his zombie work.

Aikins also moderated the Swamp Thing reunion panel that closed the show on Saturday.  DC Comics’ early Swamp Thing creative team members Steve Bissette (his first show in 15 years!), John Totleben (his first con in a decade!), Rick Veitch (his first US convention in over a decade!), and Tom Yeates were on hand, invited as guests of honor.

The audience was treated to a tour of the careers led by these men.  It began when they attended first generation class of the Kubert School, continued as they began working with Alan Moore on his earliest US material, segued into creating John Constantine and subsequently fighting to retain creators’ rights on the character, and went on to discuss how they laid the foundation for what would become the Vertigo imprint.

The 2012 Cincinnati Comic Expo was a rousing success!  This show has a feeling of authenticity that fans and pros alike have picked up on and it’s demonstrated in attendance by the general public and the guests.

What do you think Short Box readers?  Did you enjoy the Cincinnati Comic Expo convention wrap up?  Are there any aspects of the show you want to hear more about, or parts of a show in general that I should focus on more thoroughly in my next review?