“why don’t you say something righteous and hopeful for a change”
Oddball – Kelly’s Heroes
I attended the West Virginia Pop Culture Con. I am assuming they called it “pop culture” instead of “comic-con” to attract people who are not only interested in comic books and in respect to the other things going on that were not specifically related to comic books,like sci-fi stuff, costume contests and that sort of thing. Ironically, this was more comic book related than a lot of “comic-cons”. No washed up actors or wrestling “stars” for example. I had never been to WV before, it was a nice town, as much as I saw of it. People think that traveling the country you get to see all sorts of landmarks and mingle around town. The reality is I see the interstate, the hotel, the closest fast food joint, and the convention center. I will say that everyone there knows how to drive. Not once did I have to lay on my horn because someone who actually lives there is driving like THEY are the one looking for an address.
My gas tank sprung a leak on the way there. Actually that may not be 100% accurate. It was leaking from a spot mid way up the tank and since I rarely fill my tank up that high (in a sad disillusion that at some point gas will drop back down to 2.00 a gallon and filling up until then would be an impatient waste of money)…so the leak could have been there at any point since my last road trip. Anyhow, I had to turn back around and borrow a car…a KIA which was fine, kinda rides like a skateboard but it had cruise control. The only downside was the custom license plate “wed cake” …All I knew of WV was from the mini series “the Hatfields and the McCoys” and based on that I doubt that a grown man driving a car with that plate wasn’t going to go over to well. There was no indecent.
AS for the show itself, it was well done. It was a medium to small show that I would bet is going to grow quickly. It has everything going for it that you need- Smart promoters, lost cost, free parking, quality guests, a good location and it is near a college or two. The guys running it care about the show and had been keeping a close eye on other shows…using what works, not doing what doesn’t work. This was only the second year of a show in an area that had ZERO shows in the past, so the promoters had their work cut out for them. We kind of take for granted that when you say “comic book convention” people know what that means, but when you are in an area where 99.9999% of the people had never ever seen one the term “comic book convention” don’t really explain much. “Comic book convention”…does that mean a bunch of locals selling their old stuff? Does it mean a glorified comic book club meeting? In the case of WV Pop Culture Con it means rows and rows of top-notch comic book professionals, lots of vendors selling old comics and collectables , costume contests , games, …everything you’d see at a comic book convention in any other decent sized city, and while the first hour people seemed to walk around in a bit of a confused daze as if to be saying “woah…how did all this stuff get here? HEY is that really the guy who draws (insert comic book here)?!”, they got into the swing of things pretty quick and I’ll say it was actually a lot of fun. The guys who put this together should be proud of themselves, they did a lot of things in place and running right by year two that I have seen ten and fifteen years show still not get the hang of. While “running right” sounds kind of dry…it is what separates a fun show that people are glad they went to from a show they wished they had taken a pass on. My guess is that the people who went this year are going to come back…with friends. WV is a pretty hospitable place for comic book people…hit this show up next time.
One other thing…actually let me tell you a quick story first. Years ago when Comic-Con International was small enough for me to actually take a break and wander around, my friend and I happened to see some guy dressed as Spider-man (not a big deal now I know bit this was one of my first shows and you didn’t see costumes as much). He was taking pictures with kids and really hamming it up. He was all squatted down into spidey poses and laying it on pretty think. Oh how we laughed…we laughed and mocked from the sidelines as a grown man pretended to be spiderman and was way more into the whole thing than the kids where.
Then…when the last picture was snapped…spidey stood up from his crouch…
He was 6 foot six inches, and the muscles were clearly not sewn into the suit. He stood up and turned in the direction of the laughter…only to see my hat spinning in the air like when someone flees in a bugs bunny cartoon. Neither I nor my friend had any interest in hanging around to see if this brute in a spiderman suit found our insults to be clever. I had another moment sort of like that at WV when I saw the trailer that housed all the gear for the 501st storm trooper division parked at the same hotel I was at. The 501st is the little club of grown men who dress like stormtroopers and march around at cons…whom I often mock…and by often I mean every single time I see one of them. I think to myself and sometimes out loud that if they want to wear 40 pounds of body armor and march around they should just enlist and baby sit a bridge in the middle east somewhere. Hell, they could even continue wearing the storm trooper costume instead of an army uniform if they want…actually that might be a good idea. A terrorist or two might just up and quit if he sees a f*cking storm trooper patrolling , or at least be confused enough to go home and rethink things. If that works at all we could float some hot air balloons around there that look like the death star…worst case scenario it’ll give them something to shot their RPGs at beside our several million dollar helicopters.
Anyway, the point is..not one of these guys has marched past me without getting mocked. Their trailer had all sorts of star wars logos on it…the pick up truck pulling it HOWEVER DID NOT. It was a very severe looking 4×4 painted in custom camouflage green and was full of hunting and gun stickers. Obscure ones that only someone who’s really into shooting living things would know about/have. SO…I won’t be mocking them anymore, or suggesting they go to the middle east. Based on the truck and it’s decorations one or two of them might have just come back…which leaves the possibility of a guy in a storm trooper costume with a (hopefully fake) gun whose level of PTS is in question. From now on “carry on oh loyal solder of the empire” is what I’ll say and make sure my path to the exit is clear.
Anyhow …good show..the NEXT show is in Cincinnati! There are two shows in that town this month THIS is the one I will be at
( I have no problem with the other show, they are good people but I am trying out this new show because they helped on my kickstarter)
***due to overlap on this weekend we will NOT be at the Baltimore show…this is NO reflection on the quality of the Baltimore Comic-con convention. Baltimore is a good show, run by quality people and a lot of fun. Plenty of good guests and plenty of reasons to go if you are in the area!***