If there was one weekend which could rival San Diego in July, it would be this third weekend in May. No, there isn’t one big convention happening to rival Comic-Con International, but numerous smaller shows, some catering to a general crowd, some to specific audiences and topics.
Of course, it’s been busy for weeks now! There was C2E2 a month ago, which shared the weekend with the Wildcat Con (held at a university!) and Wizard World Toronto! The next weekend had the Pittsburgh Comicon along with SPACE and the Boston Comic Con. Then we had Calgary and MoCCA and Stumptown! Free Comic Book Day followed the next weekend with minicons held at stores, along with Kids’ Comic Con in the Bronx! The weekend after that? A trifecta in New York, with the Bronx Heroes Con! (Three NYC cons, three weekends in a row!) Plus two “beach” cons were held on opposite coasts, at Long Beach and Asbury Park. (Long Beach had better surf, Asbury Park had better music.)
The Beatrix (AKA “Her Royal Heidiness”) has already mentioned a few of these elsewhere on these pages, but I’m gonna include them all, because this might just be a seminal benchmark event in the comics history! Has there been this much comics awesome sauce ever before? Is anyone staying home this weekend and doing work?
- Ethan Van Sciver
- Joe Staton
- Mike Royer
- Mike Grell
- Peter Bagge
Who’s showing up here? A line-up worthy of the Grandstand!
Terry Beatty · Zander Cannon · Peter Gross · Gene Ha · Jamal Igle · Dan Jurgens · Doug Mahnke · Don Rosa · Bill Willingham
Up the coast in Maine, on Sunday, is the Maine Comics Arts Festival in Portland. (There’s programming on Saturday at the Portland Public Library, and the festival’s on Sunday at Ocean Gateway.)
- Kate Beaton
- Kazu Kibuishi
- Colleen AF Venable
- Dave Roman
- Mike Lynch
- Raina Telgemeier
- Rick Parker
- R. Sikoryak
- …and many more!
Keith Knight, Jonathan Hickman, and Paty Cockrum will be there, with lots of other interesting guests!
Tyler Kirkham is the 2012 Special Guest of Honor.
Power couple Paul Guinan & Anina Bennett will be in attendance, as well as Michael Avon Oeming & Taki Soma!
This is a COMIC con, with lots of great guests and a sold-out Artist Alley! Kids get in free, and if you can’t afford the $6 general admission, you can save a buck by bringing canned food.
Down the coast is the Big Wow! ComicFest in San Jose, California, at the convention center. Who’s here? Some guy named Jim Lee. Don’t recognize him? Well, there are other well-known professionals, like Kevin Nowlan, Bernie Wrightson, Steve Niles, Frank Cho, Joe Jusko, Steve Leialoha, Ron Lim, Trina Robbins… ah, just go to the link! If X-Con is an old-school SF con, then this looks like an old-school comic-con. (Yup, back when you could use a hyphen in “comic-con”!) It seems they’ve been around as long, doing shows under the “Super-Con” name.
There will be an awards show: The Stan Lee Awards! Nominees can be found here. (Wow, two comic book awards shows on the same weekend!)
Yes, “Spectrum” as in “Spectrum Art Annual”! Yes, the exhibitor list is a JPG, but WOW! (oops, sorry, that’s already been used…) JEEPERS! This could be the “Basel” of fantasy art!
Vellejo. Mignola. Coop. Dorman. Schultz. Stout. Plant. Whelan. Wheatley. Tobin. Templesmith.
(Any other weekend, this would be THE Show! KC wins the talent show, but Chicago wins the Grand Prize.)
Meanwhile… there are other, more local, smaller shows around this great nation:
Collectors Showcase Comic and Toy Convention
When: Saturday, May 19, 2012
Where: Best Western Plus, Morristown, TN, US
FREE Comicon (formerly Wonderful Woburn Warehouse show)
When: Saturday, May 19, 2012
Where: Best Western New Englander, Woburn, MA, US
MOBICON XV Science Fiction and Fantasy Convention
When: May 18 – 20, 2012
Where: Ashbury Hotel & Suites, Mobile, AL, US
Sci-Fi in the Valley Con
When: May 18 – 20, 2012
Where: North Central Recreation Center, Ebensburg, PA, US
[Their first year! Congrats!]
Shoff Promotions Comic Book Show
When: Sunday, May 20, 2012
Where: Crowne Plaza, 1960 Chain Bridge Road, Tysons Corner, VA, US
Oh, and as I was taking a break, checking Facebook, I discovered:
Jim Starlin, Joe Sinnott, Ron Marz, Matthew Dow Smith, Richard Clark, Jennifer Meyer and David Rodriguez will be there, helping raise money for the school! $5! Sunday, Noon to Five PM. A comic con! In a school!
And for those who like to think about comics, there are TWO conferences scheduled this weekend!
Who: People interested in teaching and in comics.
What: Sequential SmArt is a conference that features presentations and workshops by comics creators, librarians, and by educators who use comics with students from early childhood to the college level.
Matt Madden is the co-author of Drawing Words & Writing Pictures and author of 99 Ways to Tell a Story: Exercises in Style. Matt will be leading the pre-conference event on Friday night and participants will get a chance to explore the broad possibilities that open up when one makes comics.
Eric Shanower is the creator of Age of Bronze, a series of graphic novels re-telling Homer’s Illiad, and two-time winner of the Eisner Award as Best Writer-Artist. Eric is also the writer of the Wizard of Oz adaptations from Marvel Comics. As a follow-up to Eric’s talk, Shannan Stewart will be presenting about the ways in which she has integrated Age of Bronze into her courses.
Hosted by Jay Hosler, associate professor of biology at Juniata College and author of numerous non-fiction graphic novels, this conference aims to help educators use comics as instructional media. (“Teaching Muslim Women’s Lives through Persepolis“, “Using The X-Men to Teach Mutation”, “Comics in Classrooms and Libraries: Using Graphic Novels across the Secondary Curriculum”)
And for those who just want to think about comics…
In a three-day conference featuring a range of events — lectures, conversations, panels, and workshops — cartoonists will come together at the University of Chicago, long a location of word-and-image study, to take stock of their own ground-breaking work and the future of comics.
How awesome is this line-up?! At least two Guggenheim fellows, multiple Eisner Award winners, each and every one a future hall-of-famer! This is comics’ All-Star Dream Team! (Maybe the Commander-In-Chief can sneak away from that other conference and check out this much cooler and interesting conference. (If he needs an excuse, he can check his home in Kenwood, just a few blocks north of the Logan Center.))
Me? I’m taking a breather. Just gonna relax and read some of the awesome comics I bought at C2E2, MoCCA, and Asbury Park.
If I overlooked something, feel free to mention it below.
If you attended any shows this weekend, we’d love to hear from you! Just click the CONTACT link over on the right. Tell us what we missed! Tell us what you wished you had missed!