Wizard World Mid-Ohio Comic-Con was the first convention I’ve done
in years where I felt comfortable within myself. Beau Smith, that
wise old man of comics, once remarked that one’s convention persona
is most successful when you are yourself ramped up to “11" or so.
You can be more cheerful/effusive/outgoing than you are the other
days of your lives, but I think your convention persona still has
to be...you. You can fake anything else. However subtlety, your
fans and fellow professionals will sense that something isn’t quite
honest about you.
Writing Grim Ghost showed me and others that I could still write
some damn fine comic books. Heading towards 60 has taught me what
is and isn’t important in my life. I’ll need to devote an entire
blog to this discussion in the near future, but, in my own life, I
am a happy man. The destructive actions and positions of the Tea
Party Republicans and the other Republicans they’ve so thoroughly
cowed concern me and my hope for my nation’s future, but, my life
is still a mighty good one.
I am concerned about what’s going on at DC and Marvel, especially
for the friends I have working at those companies. But my interest
in working for those companies again is virtually nil and there’s
really nothing either company can do that can actually hurt me in
a meaningful way. They can anger and annoy and even cheat me, but
they can’t lay a glove on the real me and my life.
I have my medical issues, including the need for some expensive and
deservedly painful dental work, but I’m in pretty decent shape for
an overweight dwarf racing towards 60. I feel an urgency to deal
with these medical issues, but not a crazed obsession. They will
be dealt with and I will be around to annoy those deserving of such
for many years to come. Bwah. Ha. Ha.
So Mid-Ohio-Con 2011 began for me with the inner knowledge that I
knew and liked myself...and that the convention was already my most
financially successful convention ever. I could kick back and have
a great time with my many friends in comics, some of whom I would
be meeting for the first time.
As good fortune would have it, my Artists Alley table was next to
that of my good friend Thom Zahler, the superhumanly-talented guy
who writes and draws Love and Capes. Which is, of course, one of
the best comic books being published today. I love watching Thom
interact with potential customers and regularly marvel at the lad’s
time-management skills. This old dog picked up a few tips watching
this young master at work.
Mike Grell, another old friend, was at the show. Mike is editor-
in-chief of Atlas Comics, but you probably know him best for such
great comics as Jon Sable Freelance, Warlord, Green Arrow, and
Legion of Super-Heroes. We talked some Atlas business and we are
hoping some good things come out of those talks.
Digression. The previous weekend, at the New York Comic Con, I had
a number of business-type discussions that I’ll be following up on
the rest of the year. I hadn’t expected to do much of that at Mid-
Ohio-Con. Much to my delight, I had a number of similar talks in
Columbus. While there’s no guarantee anything will come out of any
of these discussions, I’m guardedly optimistic that some excellent
things will come out of them. End digression.
Chuck Rozanski and his Mile High Comics were at the show, selling
great comics at bargain prices. I always enjoy talking to my pal
Chuck. He’s one of the smartest and best businessmen in the comics
industry and, as importantly, he’s never lost his love of comics.
I always learn something when I get together with Chuck.
I wasn’t the only person from my Medina neck of the woods that came
to the show. Not far from my home is the Medina Antiques Mall, a
permanent garage sale of all sorts of stuff, including comic books.
So, over a hundred miles from Medina, for the first time, I met the
fellow who sells comics in the mall.
I also met Joe Dombi and his daughter, whose name I’ve unforgivably
forgotten. They live pretty close to me in Medina and she’s a
sophomore at Medina High School, which is less than two blocks from
my house. That was fun.
Bob Hoskins of Stormwatch Comics (West Berlin, New Jersey) was set
up at the convention with his assistant Laura Guzzo. I have been
doing business with Bob for years, but have only met him a couple
times in those years. This year, I got to spend more time with him
and lovely talented Laura and, as a natural consequence of that, I
had great fun with them.
When I say Laura is lovely and talented, I’m not just kidding. She
is a terrific artist and one of the five finalists in the category
of art in the 2011 Raw Philadelphia competition. You can see her
work at her website.
A few years back, James and Bill Henry bought Mid-Ohio-Con from my
pal (and show founder) Roger Price. They did a great job with it,
then sold it to Wizard World last year. They remain involved with
the convention and, on Saturday night, they threw a way cool after-
con party for creators and volunteers.
How much fun was it? It was so much fun this old guy stayed at it
until sometime after 1 am in the morning. I hung out with some of
the best people I know: Bob Ingersoll, Thom Zahler, Paul Storrie,
Scott Smith, Renee Witterstaetter, Bob Hoskins, Laura Guzzo, Sarah
Gray, Emily (whose last name I don’t know, but who was charming as
all get out), Ron Frenz, Max Ink, Michael Golden, and others whose
names are lost in my feeble memory.
There was much humor, ribald and otherwise. There were scandalous
goings on of which I shall never speak. There were amazing stories
of days past and present. Disparaging “nerd” barbs aside, comics
people bring the fun wherever they go.
Come back tomorrow and I will tell you more of this wondrous thing
called Wizard World Mid-Ohio Comic-Con, a moniker I was unable to
pronounce by the time I left the party.
© 2011 Tony Isabella