Tom Yeates

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?