Bustin' makes them feel good!
I went to the Texas Comic-Con to support a new con, support my friends, and to check out what was there to see. The con’s homepage featured a menagerie of guests ranging from indie comic artists, actors, and even The Honky Tonk Man.
I wondered what else awaited me on Friday after lunch as I turned left onto Marbach Street on my way to the San Antonio Event Center. First-time events are something of a crapshoot. At best, everything goes off with a minimum of fuss, at worst, it can be painful to both watch and to be a part of.
Even though I was fairly sure I was not going to make it out Sunday, I purchased a three-day pass. I was disappointed to find that I did not receive a pass to wear around my neck, but instead I was given a red plastic wristband that I apparently would have to keep on my wrist until Sunday afternoon. Ew. To make that first impression even worse, the gentleman that took my money didn’t even help me put it on!
After I fumbled with the wristband for a few minutes, I entered the convention proper. The San Antonio Event Center provided a fairly large space, but one could tell its glory days were far behind it. As if to emphasize this point, I would find that some of the tables and chairs provided to the exhibitors were a bit on the rickety side. As is often the case with cons, Friday was a slow day, and indeed, some of the exhibitors were in the midst of setting up their tables as I walked around.
The Texas Comic-Con can best be described in two words: Nerd Gumbo. While the phrase “something for everybody” is frequently overused, it fits here. Just off the top of my head, there were comics, videogames, action figures, Star Wars, Lego, Ghostbusters from two cities (Houston and Dallas/Fort Worth), costumers, tabletop gaming, one retired wrestler and a few actors, including San Antonio’s own Jonathan Joss of “King of the Hill” fame. I wondered if “Comic-Con” was the right description for an event that had such a variety of things and people to see. To be fair, though, there were a number of booths featuring comics, collectibles and a artist’s area which included my friend Austin “Redbeard” Rogers of redbeardcomics.com
Austin told me that in order to get a table, an artist had to submit examples of his or her work and if they were “good enough” then they were granted a table. I don’t know if other cons do this, but it is an interesting idea and it seems like a good way for con organizers to maintain a level of quality. The dealers were the usual assortment of comic book stores, collector stores and the occasional person trying to make a few dollars by selling their personal collection.
Of particular note was Antarctic Press, a San Antonio-based comic company. They had many books for sale and some of their artists were present. I purchased some books and spent a few minutes chatting with Fred Perry and David Hutchinson about geeky things. I must admit though, I felt a little bad telling Mr. Perry that while I had frequently seen his popular “Gold Digger” comic in stores, I had never purchased it. What can I say? I’m just not a very good liar, so I don’t even bother trying.
One of the books I purchased was “Oz: The Manga” by David Hutchinson. I finished reading it last night, enjoyed it immensely and look forward to purchasing the additional books in the series. It follows L. Frank Baum’s story more closely than the movie “The Wizard of Oz” and was a great read as well as an interesting visual take on the classic tale. Next, I will take my first step into the world of Fred Perry’s “Gold Digger” as I start reading “Gold Digger MAX Vol 1.”
The con also held a Street Fighter contest on Sunday which I did not see, but they did have a few videogame consoles set up where folks could take a seat and play a round or two of Street Fighter or even some of the old classics like Mrs. PacMan.
Just like the anime conventions I have been to, there were plenty of folks dressed up in costumes, however, these were more recognizable, there were quite a few Green Lanterns, Imperial Stormtroopers, Jedi, and even GI Joe’s Baroness and Street Fighter’s Cammy.
Aside from the dealers and the artists were what I could call the “enthusiast” tables, these represented a variety of fandoms including a Stormtrooper platoon, a Halo costuming group, two Ghostbusters fan groups, the Texas Lego User’s Group and even a group of Sith that I apparently overlooked. Everyone seemed to be glad to be there and enthusiastically posed for pictures.
Some panels were held, but the lack of a room to host them in made it difficult to hear and see what was going on, especially when the more popular guests were presenting. There was also no seating set up, hopefully this is something that will be addressed for next time.
I think that the Texas ComicCon got off to a good start. There was a wide variety of things to see and buy, lots of great artists and fun guests. With some minor tweaks and adjustments (*cough* BADGES *cough*), I think this could be the start of something big, and look forward to attending next year.
NOTE: The author received no compensation for this review.