So Wizard World Portland starts tomorrow, an overpriced and inflated comic con that creates one of the most finely tuned financial rackets imaginable. Of course I’m going! Though it is over priced and not quite as “comics focused,” there are enough good creators there to make it worth it. I tend to be a bit of a comic signature hound, and at most cons I count out books and get them ready to get signed. Since there are quite a few, I tend to have a system where I put four or five books in a bag without the bags/boards, put the creator’s name on the bag, and then shuffle through them in a backpack in Artists Alley. It can be kind of an endurance contest, but its fun if you like talking to creators about your favorite books and getting a lot of signed ones for the collection.
At Wizard World this year there are a few high-profile people I’m looking to get books signed by:
Ethan Van Sciver
And quite a few more. I am going to experiment with doing a graded signing on one or two books, something that seems also like an overpriced racket, but it might be fun since I am getting old Batman books signed by Neal Adams. Adams tends to be one of the more difficult people to deal with at cons, everything he is selling is massively marked up, and he tends to charge around $20 per signature. This is in contrast to almost no one else who charges at all. The very first con I went to was a Wizard World, where I had him sign two books before being asked to pay $20 a pop for them. I didn’t realize I would be paying for them, and it was really disappointing. The signing he is doing today(1/22) at Things from Another World Beaverton he is charging $10 a pop, but the first book is free. So I am going to get the majority of books I want to get signed by him there instead of at the con.
Chris Claremont is equally a huge guest for most people since his X-Men run is defining for the series, in the same way that Neal Adams defined the future of Batman. I have a couple older X-Men books for him to sign, as well as some newer Nightcrawler.
I try to get a couple sketches when I get to cons, and the only one that I am going after for sure is Christos Gage doing Spider-Man(Influenced largely from the fact that I already have a Amazing Spider-Man #1 Blank Variant Cover).
As is my preference, I like to spend a lot of time with the indie creators and publishers. Happy to see David Chelsea there, and the LGBT publisher Northwest Press. I will make sure to spend plenty of time at Fantagraphics, Oni, and Image. I don’t usually go through back issues too much, but I do have a list of newish books and older Vertigo books to grab if I come across them. In terms of trades, it really depends on whether or not I find them significantly marked down.
Panels are not standing out this year, with most of them being really silly workshops or D-list celebrity focused. There is a writing panel with Michael Avon Oeming, Kurt Busiek, Danny Fingeroth, Brandon Seifert, and more, and they are really going to talk about the world of the professional comics writer, and there are a few other very creator-oriented panels I may check out.
Expect more notes from Wizard World Portland 2014, including a few report-back, photos, and me indulging in sketches and CGC’d books.