Talking about comic books, TV shows, movies, sports, and the numerous other pastimes that make us Gentlemen of Leisure.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

A Weekend at SpringCon

The re-positioning of the two day MCBA comic book convention from its traditional fall dates to ones in mid-May posed several questions: would we be able to book enough big-name creators (one of the stated reasons for the switch)? Would enough people attend, given the 20+ year history of having the two day show in the fall? Would basement-dwelling geeks be able to resist the lure of gorgeous Minnesota May weather?

Thankfully, the answers to all three questions was "yes", as the inaugural SpringCon was a smash success, with a record number of attendees and money raised for MCBA's twin charities, the Lupus Foundation and the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund. The crowd was bigger and more diverse than ever; while the stereotypical comic geek was out in force, there were also many women (and not just bored girlfriends), children and families interacting with creators, attending panels, and perusing the dealers' wares.

As has become the norm, for me, most of SpringCon flew by in a blur. Mrs. Teebore was back again, ably manning the check-in desk, dispensing info and taking no guff, making sure dealers and creators were handled appropriately. Costumed attendees were out in droves once more, including the local Imperial 501st chapter of Star Wars enthusiasts and the regular crowd of (mostly) DC characters.

In addition to the Batmobile, there was also a customized DeLorean, right out of Back to the Future. I could almost hear Doc Brown screeching "1.21 gigwatts!"

The Propatorium was back, with their collection of nifty, handmade movie props, including a Ghostbusters trap and Robocop's gun.

The creator everyone was buzzing to see this year was Jim Shooter, comic scribe, former editor-in-chief of Marvel Comics and a giant (literally and figuratively) of the comic industry. Shooter remains a divisive figure from his days as EIC at Marvel, where he ran things with a firm hand and often overruled creators (personally, I miss the days of the tight, cohesive Marvel Universe of Shooter, though I'll freely admit some of his editorial fiats were intrusive to the creative process and/or downright bizarre). On Sunday, after Shooter finished signing the entire box of comics the douche-nozzle ahead of me had him sign, I asked Mr. Shooter to sign my copy of the Secret Wars paperback (one of Shooter's more commercially-successful brainchilds) as well as three issue Avengers story he wrote in which the team faces off against a super-charged Count Nefaria (one of my favorites).

When he come upon the Avengers issues, Shooter began paging through one of them, remembering that John Byrne had done the art on that story early in his career. Shooter then proceeded to share with me and the other people waiting in line a story about how, when he first received Byrne's art for the story, Shooter had to talk to him about not making the action like a kung-fu movie, in which each Avenger approached Nefaria one-on-one, instead of en mass, as a team. Which then led to him explaining how both Byrne and Frank Miller would give him the same kinda look when he critiqued their art, a look which seemed to say "you're crazy, and the way I drew it is better." The whole time, I outwardly nodded and smiled, doing my best not to come off as a major geek, while inside, I was completely geeking out, squeeing that JIM SHOOTER was telling me a story from the old days of the Marvel Bullpen!!!

I also said hello to Jeff Parker, a fan-favorite writer at Marvel who specializes in fun, back-to-basics stories and is currently charting the course for the Hulk's line of books. I asked him to sign my copy of X-Men: First Class and got a nifty Cyclops sketch to boot (without asking--it's like he KNEW, somehow, that I loved Cyclops).

Also in attendance was Georges Jeanty, the phenemonal artist of Dark Horse's Buffy: Season Eight comics. Mrs. Teebore and I picked out one of the prints he was selling and had him sign it for us.

Then we swung by Anthony Hary's table, one of our favorite local artists, and I commissioned what turned out to be a gorgeous Cyclops sketch.

Along the way, I picked up plenty of swag for myself. I am an uber-geek for Marvel's encyclopedia-like Official Handbooks, and found a volume I needed heavily-discounted, along with a handful of black and white Essential volumes.

I added to my Avenger's collection with issues 99 and 121...

...and lucked out immensely, scoring four more old school X-Men issues for a song (#13, #30,#52 and #55).

#13 (the second appearance of Juggernaut) now holds the distinction of being the oldest X-Men comic in my collection. The copy is by no means in mint condition, but in much better shape than the $10 I paid for it.

As with Fallcon in the past, SpringCon finished out its final hours with the annual charity art auction, and I snagged a pile of great stuff for an embarrassing price. Amongst the highlights was this gorgeous Hulk sketch from Terry Beatty...

...and this cool Lost picture....

After that, there was nothing left to do but go home and bag-and-board some comics!


  1. when Jeff parker drew Cyke's eye beam, did he use a ruler? because those lines are ridiculously straight...

  2. @Falen: He did not, but you're right, those are hella straight. Maybe he's a robot...

  3. Although I am not a comic book reader (yet, I feel myself being drawn inexplicably toward it, probably from the influence of you and Blam) but this looks like it was SO much fun :D

  4. @SonshineMusic: I feel myself being drawn inexplicably toward it, probably from the influence of you and Blam

    One of us, one of us!

  5. I love the fact that he psychically drew Cyke for you. Crazy!

    @SonshineMusic- just pick up a book and start reading- you'll never stop!

  6. This is awesome! You got a picture of Orbo! I want that Ghost Buster trap! I have had 4 cups of coffee and so mine fingers doth tap the exclamation point readily! And verily! And I am not even sure what verily means but I think it means truthfully.
    I would love to see people dressed up as comic book characters doing regular things. Playing it totally straight while at the bank, buying a watermelon or what-have-you.

    the Lupus Foundation and the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund

    Which at first sounds odd but make no mistake, they are the most natural of bedfellows. In fact, if you are out in the woods, quiet enough and lucky enough, you'll see them constructing nests together. A marvel I tell you!


  7. @Anne: It WAS crazy. Even Mrs. Teebore was impressed.

    @Joan: I think you need to get amped up on coffee and come by every morning!

    And yes, verily means truthfully (in truth, technically) and is one of those words comics (specifically Thor) first taught me.

  8. Here ya go Joan. It's kind of what you are looking for.

    Glad to see you had a good time Teebore. I got a Darth Maul sketch from Grant Gould. I might have showed it to you on the way out on Sunday but I don't remember. If not I will have to get it to you later. It is part of the Star Wars playing card deck that I am sloooooowly working on.

  9. Was there a McGuffin Exchange booth?! Did you see Greg?

    I've never been to a ComicCon...I probably should go one of these days. I also haven't been to the Source in ages! I miss it. I need me some new comics and also I need to catch up on reading my old ones...whatevs. I still want new ones!

  10. @Phantomas: Yeah, I did see the sketch you got. I like Grant's stuff. "I have a prequel characters in the original New Hope poster layout" print of his framed, and a cool Buffy/Spike/Angel print as well.

    I'd also love to see your playing card deck someday.

    @Palindrome: Was there a McGuffin Exchange booth?!

    Sadly, no.

    Did you see Greg?

    Sadly, no. Apparently he's not hanging out at the Source anymore.

    I've never been to a ComicCon...I probably should go one of these days.

    You totes should. If you want to go to SpringCon next year let me know and I can try to set you up with some tix.

  11. @Phantomas - Ahhhhhh! I LOVE IT! The Storm Trooper in the shower :D I will now always secretly hope that a Storm Trooper will be waiting like that for me in the morning. Thanks for the link, it's just what I wanted!


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