Wednesday, November 9, 2016


Previously in Tony Isabella’s Bloggy Thing:

I’ve been writing about the Grand Rapids Comic-Con, which was held October 21-23 at The DeVos Place in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Now we get to the last day of the convention.

Being an earlier riser, I spend Sunday morning answering questions for The Undefeated, a website that recently published an interview with me concerning Black Lightning. It was a pretty good interview and you can read it here.

Traditionally, Sunday is the slowest day of a convention, but that hasn’t been the case for me with recent appearances. I was signing Isabella-written items, answering questions and selling books from near the start of the day to near the finish of the day. I estimate I signed between 200-250 items over the weekend.

My best guess as to why Sundays have picked up of late is that we are seeing more families for which Sunday is the best day for them to attend en masse and workers who no longer get the entire weekend off. However, I did manage to get away from my table several times, thanks to the convention volunteers who were always willing to keep an eye on my booth.

The cosplay was in full swing on Sunday. There was an amazing Carol Danvers Captain Marvel, an incredible Mysterio, a Doctor Strange or two, Iron Fist, Spider Jerusalem from Transmetropolitan, Zatanna in her classic outfit and a couple of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I think I saw a woman cosplay as Lady Killer from the wonderful Dark Horse series of that name, but never got the chance to ask her if that’s who she was supposed to be.

Hands down, the biggest star at the convention with the longest and most enthusiastic lines was Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles co-creator Kevin Eastman. It did my heart good to see a comics guy getting the most attention at the event. I got a chance to chat with Kevin in passing and told him just that. He’s a nice guy who knows how very blessed he is. I couldn’t be happier for him.

Speaking of nice guys, I learned on Sunday that the convention had provided 500 free tickets to military personnel with each of those tickets being good for four admissions. That’s 2000 people who got in the convention for free. What a great way to thank our men and women in uniform for their service! My admiration for this event was growing with each passing hour. 
A highlight of the weekend was getting to meet and chat with Denise Crosby, perhaps best known for her role as Lieutenant Tasha Yar in Star Trek: The Next Generation. When we spoke I told her I thought her best work was in two other TV shows and said I bet few people ever mentioned them to her at conventions.

The first was the tragically short-lived but terrific Key West. She played Mayor Chaucy Caldwell. She said a few people have mentioned that series at conventions.

The second was her two-episode appearance in NYPD Blue. She played Lt. Susan Dalto, a tough and way-too-intense gay woman who was in charge of the detective squad for those two episodes until she was transferred. Someone higher in the department hierarchy was looking out for Andy Sipowicz and his fellow detective squad members.

Crosby’s face lit up. She told me that was her very favorite role. She has every right to feel that way. Her performance was nothing shout of award-deserving. She was one scary lady. She said Dennis Franz liked the character and her performance so much he wanted her to stay on. Alas, Esai Morales, who played Lt. Tony Rodriguez, the actual new squad boss, had already been signed to a long contract. He would appear in 66 episodes. Nothing against Morales, who is a fine actor, but I kept hoping Crosby’s character would make return appearances on the series.

It was so cool to see Crosby’s face light up that way. I felt like I had given something back to her for all the enjoyment her acting has brought me over the years.

The Grand Rapids Comic-Con fan were also a joy. A little girl was looking at Thom Zahler’s display of My Little Pony and other stuff. She said to her mom:

“I like his drawings!”

Across from my booth, I heard another young girl literally squeal in delight as she beheld a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles sketch that Kevin Eastman had drawn for her.

And then there was the enthusiastic Spider-Man fan who dreams of someday playing the character in a movie. The young man had a very convincing costume and just the right Peter Parker attitude in his voice. If such decisions were up to me, I would have at least given him an audition.

I tried to answer as many questions from the fans as I could. I hope they enjoyed talking with me as much as I enjoyed talking with them. Because they were great folks.

The Grand Rapids Comic-Con took great care of its guests. They fed us and kept us hydrated. I’m still using the convention souvenir  water bottle they gave us. In the final hour of the show, the crew came by his gift bags and to thank us personally for coming to the convention. They even mailed out thank you cards.

I felt the love. I’ll come back every year they ask me back. This is one of the best conventions in the country.

When the show closed, it took but two quick trips for Thom and I to load up my van and get on the road. It was a long five-hour drive back to Medina, but it didn’t feel like it. I was still flying high on the good vibrations from the convention.

In case you haven’t put it together, I heartily recommend the Grand Rapids Comic-Con to all my bloggy thing readers. Next year’s event is scheduled for October 20-22. Make your plans early.

I’ll be back tomorrow with a special bloggy thing, followed by my report on 2016's Akron Comicon. See you then.

© 2016 Tony Isabella

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