Tag: cosplay

With Further Ado #296: Those Moments That Only Happen at Conventions

With Further Ado #296: Those Moments That Only Happen at Conventions

We just folded up the tents and struck the sets for ITHACON 47, the nation’s second longest running comic convention. It was a rousing success We have so many folks to thank. And I’m eager to write all about it too.

But I was struck by one conversation I had on the showroom floor, and it made me connect the dots on one big idea.

Just about every ITHACON exhibitor/dealer with whom I spoke gleefully explained their sales were strong and/or better than last year. That’s really important for a small show like ITHACON. We want to keep it comfortable for everyone, but we need to attract the right attendees. Folks who will be engaged in panels, cosplay, activities and who are eager to see what the dealers have brought.

However, one high-end comics dealer (who’s an ITHACON regular now) said that his sales were soft. But he blamed that on trends and not the show per se. He told me that his CGC graded comics have been selling better via online auctions that at comic conventions. That’s a fair point, and next year I would like to find a clever way to entice the type of customer he’s looking for to come to our show.

But it got me thinking about the amazing types of things that can only happen at conventions. And I have a great example for you. Continue reading “With Further Ado #296: Those Moments That Only Happen at Conventions”

With Further Ado #253: Now, That’s How You Throw a Comic Convention

With Further Ado #253: Now, That’s How You Throw a Comic Convention

I can’t believe it’s taken me so long to get down to HeroesCon in Charlotte, NC. At Bonfire Agency, I used to do a fair amount of work with comic shop retailers and attended a lot of comic conventions.  Shelton Drum’s comic shop, Heroes Aren’t Hard to Find (great name, right?) in Charlotte was always regarded as best in class and the convention he runs, HeroesCon, was always very well regarded.

Last year, I finally made it to his shop, and this year, I finally made it to his amazing convention.

HeroesCon 2023

There was an electric-but-easygoing buzz in the air. HeroesCon was full of so much excitement and optimism but with none of the crowded drama that all too often accompanies big conventions.   My family and I got our badges and made our way to the convention floor in record time. It seemed like all the workers were smiling and happy at each and every step.

This show brands itself as America’s Favorite Comic Convention, and I think they are right.  The focus at HeroesCon is on the comics themselves, less so movies, gaming and all the other amazing fandoms that typically find a place under the large tent of Pop Culture.  The exhibition floor was full of so many comic book dealers, comic book publishers (A Wave Blue World and AHOY Comics) and a ton of brilliant comic creators.

A few of my highlights included: Continue reading “With Further Ado #253: Now, That’s How You Throw a Comic Convention”

Rapid Con Review: HeroesCon 2023 Edition

Rapid Con Review: HeroesCon 2023 Edition

Heroes Convention, shortened to HeroesCon, and affectionately alluded to as simply “Heroes”, was put on this past weekend at the Charlotte Convention Center in Charlotte, NC. The show was a rousing success, as usual, thanks to the fine stewardship of the convention by Shelton Drum of Heroes Aren’t Hard to Find and the amazing talents of Karla Southern.

This show puts the “comic” back in Comic Con. There was a tremendous group of comic book creator talent on the show floor from all different levels of the industry. Also, there were back issue comic vendors as far as the eye could see. Some folks dealt in high end collectable editions while others had boxes upon boxes of $1 comics. The variety of the wares they were hawking served to have something for everyone.

One of the interesting parts about this year’s show was that there was a bit more to browse and shop for things other than comic books or comic book art. I really don’t know how they did it, but somehow they were able to fit in even more creators and still have so many comic dealers and yet add vendors of hand-made crafts, props, toys, and other geeky items.

Auctions and more Auctions..

A view of the Grand Ballroom at the Westin Charlotte as the auction was about to start.

One of the signature things of HeroesCon is the art auctions. There are several auctions throughout the weekend, but the Saturday night event was the jewel of the show. It was a fun and exciting atmosphere as one of kind pieces were up for bids. All the while, everyone was waiting for that one piece by Brian Stelfreeze that had everyone buzzing.

Great Panel Programming

Rich Fowlks, Michael Eury, and Ed Catto discussing The Team-Up Companion

The programming at HeroesCon this year was very interesting. We took in three discussion panels over the weekend. Two of them were related to TwoMorrows publications, including one hosted by PCS’s own Ed Catto. For the third one, we had a chance to sit in the room while Mike Grell educated listeners about the origins and behind the scenes stories of Jon Sable, Freelance.

Andy Kunka, Mike Grell, and Jeff Messer at the Jon Sable panel.

The panels that we didn’t go to also looked incredibly interesting and we heard great things particularly about the Comics Aloud! panel hosted by David Petersen of Mouse Guard fame that featured dramatic readings by comic creators of excerpt of stories with the characters they’ve written and drawn. It was a terrific lineup of diverse and interesting programing to break up the days and give your feet a rest.

Cosplay Too…

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the amazing cosplay that we saw at the show. While other shows may have more quantity and more elaborate cosplay contingents, Heroes had a great mix of enthusiastic people enjoying letting their geek flag fly. You can check out some of the cosplayers that we ran across below.

  • Storm Trooper Cosplay @ HeroesCon 2023
  • Apocalypse Cosplay @ HeroesCon 2023
  • Star Wars Cosplay @ HeroesCon 2023
  • Supergirl Cosplay @ HeroesCon 2023
  • Hope Summers Cosplay @ HeroesCon 2023
  • Optimus Prime Cosplay @ HeroesCon 2023
  • Illyana & Kitty Cosplay @ HeroesCon 2023
  • Dr. Mid-Nite & Dr. Fate Cosplay @ HeroesCon 2023

Hey, Don’t Forget It is June..

The fact that this convention takes place smack dab in the middle of June creates a magical trifecta of real world celebrations that make this a great place to spend a weekend. Father’s Day typically falls on Sunday of HeroesCon as it did this year, which makes it a great place to pick up that last minute gift for a nerdy Dad. Juneteenth weekend was also the same weekend of the Con, and that made taking Monday off  to recuperate an easier decision.

It is also Pride Month and there was a ton of things (books, toys, prints, other chachkas) that were available for anyone interested in that kind of merch. On Saturday, the publisher A Wave Blue World organized a group signing to celebrate the new retail printing of The Color of Always and the GLAAD Award winning Young Men in Love. From our experience, this felt like a very inclusive show.

Final Thoughts

We had a fantastic time at this show and are looking forward to going back next year. If you are fan of Comic Books, Comic Book Creators, or people who love Comic Books, this is the place to be.

What To Expect at Ithacon 46 – April 22-23, 2023

What To Expect at Ithacon 46 – April 22-23, 2023

You may have heard about Ithacon, the second longest running comic convention in America, before. Our own Ed Catto is a major force behind making it a terrific little comic show. It is going to happen next weekend, and as the weeks leading up to it are now down to just days, we wanted to let you know all the amazing things that will be there.

First of all Pop Culture Squad will be attending. Mike Gold is a Featured Guest and will be the subject of the discussion panel “Reinventing Characters with Mike Gold” on Saturday 4/22 at 11:30AM. You won’t want to miss it.

Also Bob Harrison will be representing Pop Culture Squad and hosting and participating in a bunch of panels at the con. Follow this link for a look at the complete programming schedule.

The list of Featured Guests also includes Will Dennis, Jamal Igle, Roger Stern, Glen Whitmore, Tom Peyer, and Stuart Moore. The full list of guests can be found here.

Here are some of the things to look for at Ithacon from their announcements that you may have missed.

Continue reading “What To Expect at Ithacon 46 – April 22-23, 2023”

TerrifiCon 2022 Thoughts and Cosplay Pics

TerrifiCon 2022 Thoughts and Cosplay Pics

We spend the past weekend strolling the aisles of TerrifiCon at the Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, Connecticut. It was the third time that we had been there and the first show we have been at back to back years post-pandemic.

The organizers did a great job putting on a show that attendees and vendors seemed to have a wonderful time. Saturday was the most attended day as is usually the case with most cons, but all three days were filled with people exercising their nerdy needs. We saw plenty of people meeting creators and celebrities. The vendor aisles had lots of activity and everyone that we talked to was having a good time.

Of course we did take notice of some of the cosplay that was on display. We were especially encouraged by the families that we saw cosplaying together. Check out some of what we saw below: Continue reading “TerrifiCon 2022 Thoughts and Cosplay Pics”

Cosplay Recap from FAN EXPO Philadelphia!!

Cosplay Recap from FAN EXPO Philadelphia!!

Pop Culture Squad was in the house this past weekend at FAN EXPO Philadelphia at the Pennsylvania Convention Center.. It was the first show in the City of Brotherly Love since FAN EXPO HQ acquired the former Wizard World show in that town. The mood of the show was super upbeat, and there was quite a bit of excitement among the attendees.

As spring in the Northeast desperately tries to climb out of frigid clutches of this past winter, the people at the show were proudly flying their geek flags and putting on quite a varied assortment of cosplay. We caught up with a bunch of folks asked them to allow their picture to be taken. Here is the result of some of what we saw:

 

With Further Ado #167: The Return of Conventions…?  NYCC in 2021

With Further Ado #167: The Return of Conventions…? NYCC in 2021

Conventions and trade shows are great places to find your tribe and celebrate your passions or professions. But for the first hours of New York Comic Con, just held last weekend at NYC’s Javits Center, I felt a bit out of place. At first, it felt, to me, like going to your college campus about 5 years after you graduated. The vibe was a bit weird, and I was constantly comparing and contrasting the show floor to what was there in prior years.

The good news is that I quickly ‘got over myself’ and really enjoyed the convention. There were so many good things bubbling up, and it felt terrific to see so many old friends in person again. Given the realities of the world, there were more fist-bumps than bro-hugs, but it was still invigorating.

Here’s a few highlights and observations from New York Comic Con 2021:

Serious About Vaccinations

I wasn’t surprised, but still happy that ReedPop, the company that runs the convention, took vaccinations serioucospsly.  The area that they had staged outside the Javits had rows of tents and workers, so it was quick and easy to prove you had the vaccination and that you were who you said you were. I had downloaded the Clear app, as was suggested, and it all was seamless.

Inside the convention center, just about everyone had their masks on and the crowd size was such that we weren’t all on top of one another. Part of that was smaller number of attendees, and part of it was the new Javits North Building

The new Javits building makes it seem like a real convention center.

So many convention centers worldwide, and stateside are grand and gorgeous. I am sad to say that the Javits Convention Center hasn’t been that way for a very long time. The joke has always been that the Crystal Palace, the main entranceway, is inappropriately named.

The new Javits North Building is spacious and grand. It overlooks the Hudson River and even the top of the ‘regular’ Javits building.  The openness and long areas to walk between conference rooms will surely help spread out the future attendees – and offer lots of opportunities for Cosplayers to pose for photos.

AfterShock was #1

Without the bigger, more established publishers (Marvel, DC, Image) officially participating in the show, the biggest comics publisher on the floor was AfterShock Comics. They’re a great company (full disclosure- I have many friends there) just celebrating five years in business and 100 published comics series.  Word was that they had their best convention sales day ever – on the Thursday of NYCC.  Sounds like a rousing success.

Captain America Cosplay

It was invigorating to see the many Sam Wilson Captain America cosplays on the show floor. As you may recall – I’ve been a big fan of the many iterations of Captain America (here’s an old column). And it was even nicer to just yell out “Hey, Cap” and have that instant connection.

Excited for Crime

My Hidden Entrepreneurs / Crime Fiction panels had fans lining up an hour ahead of time. That really surprised me, if I am to be 100% candid and frank. This panel was all about how authors, and crime/thriller authors in particular, have to not only be good writers but be also strategic marketers. Their publishers don’t really do the marketing anymore.   I was encouraged by the fans that were hungry to talk crime fiction and by my Hidden Entrepreneurs – J.C. Vaughn  and Charles Ardai.

Artist’s Alley Was Where It Was At

Another result of absence of big publishers was that Artist’s Alley seemed so vibrant.  Anchored by ComiXology Original’s debut of Scott Snyder/Best Jacket comic line, there was plenty of the usual suspects (amazing artists like Billy Tucci, David Mack, Art Baltazar & Franco – just to name a few) and new up-and coming creatives.

The coolest part of Artist’s Alley – for me- was buying old comics from longtime pro and visionary Denis Kitchen. How many hundreds (thousands?) of times has he done that? And he always seems to be “on” and happy to be there. There’s a lesson there for all of us.

 

TerrifiCon 2021 Was Fantastic

TerrifiCon 2021 Was Fantastic

Well, Convention season has returned. Following a year and a half of postponements, cancellations, and online approximations, there are actual in-person comic and entertainment conventions popping up all along the calendar. Vendors, creators, entertainers, and fans are attempting to return to a semblance of normalcy.  This past weekend, we went to the middle of the woods in Connecticut to attend TerrifiCon, and it was a welcome experience.

Mitch Hallock had a diverse and robust lineup of comic pros, toy and comic vendors, celebrities, and a nice artist’s alley. This was my second time at TerrifiCon, and like before, this show is in a single large hall. It was well set up to maximize the aisles widths and people flow. Overall the physical layout of the show was well done.

I do find it interesting how the lines and locations of certain “high-traffic” guest get modified between Friday and Saturday. This is not a knock on this show; it happens everywhere. Inevitably, there is some guest that draws a more than expected number of fans, and they need to be moved to an area that can handle the traffic. Often there are unexpected last-minute cancellations that help provide the space to let everyone enjoy the show with the least amount of congestion.

Is It Safe To Go Back To Cons?

Alright, let’s get to the big questions. How was the Covid-19 protection at the show? Were people wearing masks and social distancing? Is that possible at comic con? I have to say that I was impressed. There was a large segment of the fan base that were wearing facemasks. If I had to guess, I would say about half of the attendees. Keep in mind, there was no mask state requirement, and Connecticut is a state with high vaccination rates and low current infection rates. The show did request that all unvaccinated attendees to wear face coverings. Along with those positives in dealing with the coronavirus pandemic, there was a sense of responsibility among the guests and patrons. Continue reading “TerrifiCon 2021 Was Fantastic”

Cosplay Pics from Terrificon 2021

Cosplay Pics from Terrificon 2021

Hey there. Guess what? Comic conventions are making their way back, and we were at one this past weekend. As we decompress from our first three-day con in eighteen months, we wanted to share some of the great cosplay that we saw roaming the aisles at Terrificon!!

There was some amazing effort put into costumes and one of the best parts was that there were lots of families getting involved together. With all the pop culture properties that have been released during the lack of conventions, there were plenty of ideas to turn into reality.

While there were some tried and true staples of cosplay that we saw, there were a bunch of adventurous choices in cosplay. In terms of newer cosplay choices, we did see Red Guardian or two, but we are really looking for someone to nail the Alligator Loki cosplay.

We will be delivering our full report on the con tomorrow, (Spoilers… It was terrific!) but in the meantime enjoy these great pictures of some folks getting their geek on!!!

Baltimore Comic-Con 2019 – Cosplay Pics

Baltimore Comic-Con 2019 – Cosplay Pics

We are back from the fantastic Baltimore Comic-Con. As we walked the aisles and convention areas for three days in Charm City, we were treated to wonderful display of cosplay. There was a vast array of characters from every genre and medium that showed up at the event.  We collected a small spattering of the cosplayers we saw and are bringing them to you here.

The cosplay game at Baltimore is serious business. There are a bunch of meet-ups and you can see photo shoots going on all around the convention center. However, even the most basic costume is welcome and appreciated. It is a truly accepting convention. There is a very comprehensive Weapons Policy for the con and it is posted on its website in an easily located place.

As a special treat, we got a shot of the über-talented Afua Richardson in her Okoye cosplay.

If you are following us on Instagram or Facebook, you will find some bonus cosplay pics there.

 

 

Photography by Shari Harrison.

This is just our first post from the Con. Stay tuned for more…..