First Posted Nov. 17, 2008
(Here’s the beginning of my narrative on the convention. I’ll be posting more as I have time.)
I went to the Big Apple Comic Book, Art, Toy, and Sci-fi Expo, or as they call it on their program, “The National.”
I saw lots of big names, you guys saw the list here weeks ago: Roy Thomas, Joe Sinnott, Dick Ayers, Chris Claremont, John Romita Sr. and so on.
I was at a small convention in Albany last month, but this was my first big convention and let me tell you it was amazing. I don’t have a lot of money right now so I didn’t look much in the bins for deals, but there were hundreds and hundreds of vendors.
The place was like a huge maze. They had most of the artists and writers in one place on the second floor, but they were spread out in different rows. There was no directory so for the entire day I was walking around asking people: “Have you found Chris Claremont? Have you found Jim Shooter?” I wasn’t the only one either because lots of people would ask me the same questions. To make matters more confusing lots of the “big names” were in another spot downstairs and Neal Adams was in an area in the lobby because he brought all kinds of merchandise like hardcover collections and painted models. His stuff took up about three tables. Anyway you can picture me walking around like an idiot back and forth between all the different areas.
In the end I had much success. My first stop was Dick Ayers, he signed the cover of my Fantastic Four Masterworks vol. 2. He signed under where Stan and Jack’s name was printed. It was great to see him; he’s 76 and still going strong.
Then I got online to have Joe Sinnott sign some things and while I’m waiting John Romita Sr. comes and sits right next to Sinnott and so I’m practically first in line. Now I’m gonna get major groans especially from collectors like Punk Funk, but I didn’t have much for him to sign. He signed a reprint of ASM 50, so now I have the grandest reprint ever. I also got him to sign his story in ASM 365 and Romita actually said as he was signing it that that splash page with MJ combing her hair is his favorite out of anything he’s ever done.
Then I got back in line for Sinnott and talked too a guy on the line all about the old days and how great comics were in the 60s and I told him to come to Comicboards, so hopefully he will.
Sinnott was doing some great sketches a guy ahead of me got a great looking Thor. The guy right before me had Sinnott sign over 42 comics, most of them FFs. He paid Sinnott about $30 bucks for his trouble, but still I thought it was a bit excessive. I had him sign FF 148, 158, 159. Sinnott was in a great mood and I told him I just saw him up at Albany last month and he said, “Thanks for coming again. Good to see you.”
Then I went downstairs and found my brother because I had his ticket and we saw Stormtroopers and Wookiees outside on the street.
Then I got Neal Adams to sign two Batman tpbs I have and I got Rich Buckler to sign FF 158, 159 and Spectacular Spider-man 103 and 108. Both of them were friendly but not talkative with me anyway.
I saw, Steranko and Infantino, but I didn’t have anything for them to sign.
And I walked past Peter Mayhew aka Chewbacca’s booth, and George Lazenby’s and Bond Girl Gloria Hendry’s too, but I was there for the comic guys!
Then I went downstairs because after walking around and around someone clued me in that there was a “Big names” section down there. That’s where I met Roy Thomas who signed copies of FF 158, 159. Meaning I now had them signed by writer, artist and inker. I thought that was pretty cool.
I also had Thomas sign Avengers 41, and 54. Roy was a really great guy; he was very talkative and enthusiastic. I told him Avengers 54 was one of my favorite Avengers and he kind of paged though it and said he guessed it was pretty good. Then he read a line or two: “You are younger than I expected Black Knight.” “Should I have phoned your mother?” And he said, “I stole that line from a movie, no one noticed though. I did that all the time.”
Than I looked around upstairs and downstairs, that’s the theme of the day. Then my brother asked me who I was still looking for and I said “Chris Claremont, Jim Shooter, Larry Hama…” “Larry Hama, I saw him downstairs, you should have told me who we were looking for.” So we went downstairs, but my brother had only seen Larry Hama’s nameplate which was sitting on an empty table. But while we were downstairs in walks Jim Shooter. My brother spotted him, thank God he was wearing his nametag cause neither of us would have known him from Adam. By the way, as I said, I had just seen Peter Mayhew, Jim Shooter might be just as tall. The man is huge! I had Shooter sign Adventure Comics 346, the first comic he did when he was 13. He didn’t think much of it, “Yeah you could tell how young I was when I did that.” Then he signed Adventure Comics 352 and he said “I was just starting to really get it when I did this one.” He signed Avengers 161 for me next and he said, “ Someone in the business told me the other day this was their favorite Avengers. That made me feel pretty good.” “It’s definitely my favorite too,” I said. Then he signed Avengers 171.
Then I wandered around again and browsed back issues and came back downstairs about ten minutes before the first panel because Roy Thomas had said that he didn’t know where the panel was, but that someone was coming to get him and that I could follow him over. But before the panel I saw that Larry Hama had just arrived. He was drawing a GI- Joe character holding a bow for someone in front of me and he talked at great length about the finer points of Japanese archery, such as how you can hold your next two arrows in-between two of your fingers so you can fire them quicker and that you couldn’t do that with a British bow. “This guys puts Hawkeye to shame,” I thought. I had him sign Avengers 329, 332, 333. (Hawkeye isn’t in any of those) “I forgot I wrote these,” he said. “Actually I really liked 332,” I said. He thumbed through it and said, “Oh, yeah I remember this Doom is in it… They have a big party and Rage brings the cookies.” (yes nitpickers when I looked it up later it was Cupcakes he brought). I didn’t really know who Hama was too well, but he was intelligent and engaging and made me want to pick up a lot more of his stuff. Him and storyteller Roy Thomas were the best guys I met all day.
Part two of the Convention is still to come. I'll report on two panels and post lots more pictures.