This past weekend I was fortunate enough to have been invited to be a guest at the Cincinnati Comic Expo. Hal and I arrived at the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport which has the airport code CVG, the same abbreviation we use for our home convention CONvergence, which I suppose could be taken as a good omen for the weekend to come. We were met at the airport by Amanda Gilliam, which was the first time that I’ve ever had the driver-with-your-name-on-an-erasable-marker-board experience. Amanda wasn’t driving us though, she hooked us up with a pre-paid shuttle to our hotel in Cincinnati while she went back to wait for the next out-of-town guests due to arrive.
Friday afternoon was spent setting up my booth. We’re forever trying to find ways of streamlining my convention set-up, making it faster to put together and getting the most bang for the buck given the limitations of bulk and weight that is practical to bring to a convention by plane. This was the best iteration to date, but we’ve already got ideas of how to improve it for next time!
The convention was open from 5:00-7:00pm for a “preview night” for Exhibitors and VIP Ticketholders. I didn’t do a lot of business, but there was a lot of browsing and it was a great chance to meet some of the other folks there for the show while traffic was light. The cosplayers were already out in force, and we started capturing photos. When I say we, I mean mostly Hal. She’s the reason you see as many photos in my social media on a convention weekend as you do, as she’s both taking the photos and posting them while I’m busy drawing and talking to fans. Hals are very useful, I highly recommend them.
Friday Night was the Comic Expo’s Geek Prom, which had a Saturday Morning Cartoons theme,with many of the attendees in cosplay or pajamas.
Saturday Night featured an after party at the Mainstay Rock Bar including the second annual installment of an improv drawing event called Art of War. Artists went head-to-head in drawing challenges in an elimination structure. This year I was happy to just watch, but if I make it back next year, maybe I’ll participate!
I love meeting all fans, but I’m always especially amused by exchanges with costumed fans that revolve around their costumed personas. A Nightwing cosplayer asked if I would “sign his wing,” and then proceeded to lean over for me to sign the chest logo on his costume, playing it up like I was signing a female fan’s cleavage. (I never get asked to do THAT… maybe I should be grateful?) Judge Dredd and a colleague stopped by and were very concerned with whether the free candy being offered at my table met with regulations.
My favorite had to be when a Dalek glided to a stop in front of my booth. Its eyestalk examined my many Doctor Who prints and then informed me “YOU ARE CHAR-GING TOO MUCH FOR DE-PIC-TIONS OF A TIME-LORD.” I said there was a discount for Kaled Mutants. The eyestalk returned to the prints, then pointed back at me. “I WILL CON-SI-DER YOUR OFFER.” Then it glided away. I wish I had video.
I did a number of sketches while at the Expo, and you can see those below.
The first sketch request of the weekend was for one of the Super Pets, and I opted for Ace the Bathound. I’ve always loved the inherent goofiness of a masked crime-fighting dog, and enjoyed doing a melodramatic take on the beloved Bat-pet. Next up was a Young Justice style Zatanna. I’m convinced that the only reason she didn’t have her trademark fishnets on the TV show was the limitations of animation, so she’s got them in this sketch. Finally, I was asked for a Darth Vader by Cincinnati Comic Expo founder and director Andrew Satterfield. I don’t often get asked for characters from outside of comics, so this was fun to do. Big thanks to Andrew for bringing me to the convention!
One fan asked for a Justice League Unlimited style Huntress, which I was happy to provide. Next up was a quick head sketch of Young Justice’s Artemis which I did as gift for the daughter of Brian Tudor, who sent out a Tweet about wanting to see me in Cincinnati that got me on the radar of CCE Director Andrew Satterfield. The Darkseid sketch I did during some down time when I felt like drawing. I’ll have it for sale at my next convention for unless someone makes me a better offer first! :)
Two different fans asked for sketch covers. One had seen a Tigra sketch I’d done at another convention and liked that I emphasized her feral nature over her sex appeal, and asked for something in a similar vein. Another fan asked for Etrigan vs. Green Arrow.
And finally, I did one more sketch just to be drawing during some down time. I started drawing the Joker, and had gotten as far as deciding what kind of tie to give him – bolo, straight necktie, or bow tie – when inspiration struck. Between the Joker drawing turning out pretty well and the Doctor Who reference, this seems to have gotten a pretty good reaction on social media. I may have to do another version of this as a print! I’ve still got this original art, so it also will be available at my next convention unless I get a better offer! ;)
Before leaving town I had to visit the great comic book geek landmark of Cincinnati, Union Terminal which these days is the Cincinnati Museum Center. Back in 1973 it served as inspiration for the Justice League’s Hall of Justice on The Superfriends!
My thanks again to everyone that stopped by my table at the Cincinnati Comic Expo, and all the great volunteers who made the event happen and made me feel so welcome there. You’ve got a great convention and I’d love to come back!