CON REPORT: Wizard World Atlanta 2010
This past weekend, I attended Wizard World Atlanta. It was the inaugural show and only my second time exhibiting as a vendor, so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. The general consensus among other artists and vendors was that business was a bit slower than expected and I experienced the same thing. Foot traffic through the aisles was surprisingly light and I was sitting just three tables down from Gaijin Studios, across the aisle from Michael Golden, and kitty-corner from Bill Sienkiewicz and David Mack!
I think there were several factors that contributed to the attendance issures, such as the fact that it was the first time the convention had been held, so the convention had not established an identity of its own yet. Additionally, I’m not sure how many people knew about the convention, so Wizard World should make a bigger advertising push for next year. The rainy and cold weather, the SEC Championship game at the Georgia Dome that Saturday, and shockingly high prices of $35 per person for one-day passes may have also had am impact on attendance. I will say that it was well-organized and the vendors and artists enjoyed large tables. There was generous space behind them in which to set up displays and store their goods. The staff and volunteers were also friendly and extremely helpful.
Personally, I had a tremendous time, because I got to hang out for a while with my nephews, I met some great new people and re-connected with some old friends. My old roommate, Anthony Summey , came up from Savannah to help man the table again. John Aston, the creator of the Blaxploitation webcomic, Rachel Rage, met up again where we continued our bitter, bitter rivalry. However, at next year’s HeroesCon, we plan on putting our mutual hatred aside long enough to get a table or two together. I got to hang out a with old-school WORLD OF HURT booster and former Savannah-ite, Doug Gross. Also, I gotta give a shout-out to Little John (not Lil’ John, though), a long-time Blaxploitation fan who may be the only cat who’s more into the strip than ME! Also, I had fun meeting up with the fellas from the podcast, SiDEBAR, Dwight, Swain, and the newest addition to the cast, Adrian. SiDEBAR is the reason why God gave comic book fans ears. It’s smart, literate, yet fun, accessible and down-to-earth at the same time. Awesome fellas who I can just shoot the breeze with like I’ve known them forever.
Other highlights include:
- I was honored to be invited by Dr. Jonathan Gayles to participate in his film project involving Black masculinity in comic books. On Sunday, he conducted an interview with me where he let me pontificate about everything from WORLD OF HURT to Luke Cage. The interview lasted about 40 minutes and perhaps in a little bit of an omen, as we were winding up on the last question about the history of Blaxploitation, Richard Roundtree wanders into the background of the shot. The hallway was otherwise empty, but he just ambles by, as cool as you please. You couldn’t ask for a cooler moment. I met John this year at the East Coast Black Age of Comics Convention in Philadelphia, PA and he was kind enough to follow-up with me. He’s a really great guy and I urge you all to check out his site at BlackSuperheroDoc.com. He’s doing really exciting work (and I’d say that even if I wasn’t in it!)
- Actor, Nick Jones, stopped by the table. He recognized me, because I follow him on Twitter (@njfuture), so he decided to come by and learn more about the strip. For those of you who don’t know, Nick Jones plays John Stewart in the upcoming Green Lantern film. (I have to admit, I didn’t ply him for more details about the movie, and I’m kicking myself for that now, but I did try to sell him on playing Pastor if they ever do a movie.) I mean, the dude’s classically handsome and LOOKS like a movie star, but doesn’t act like it at all. No pretensions or entourages. He’s just a tremendously, tremendously cool guy and a lifelong comic book fan who was content to just chill at the show and take in the sights.
- Meeting Fred “The Hammer” Williamson (Black Caesar, That Man Bolt, Hell Up In Harlem) and gave him my quick elevator pitch on WORLD OF HURT. Based on past interviews, I know he’s not a fan of the word “Blaxploitation,” so I carefully avoided it. He looked at me a little skeptically, at first, but he soon warmed up a bit, took one of my postcards and said he’d check it out. He was also nice enough to take a picture with me.
- Seeing Richard Roundtree (Shaft, Shaft’s Big Score, Heroes) in person. He just happened to be walking by the table on his way to somewhere else, so as I saw him coming, I grabbed a WORLD OF HURT postcard and introduced myself. Nice guy.
(P.S. I mentioned on Twitter that I’d be discussing Luke Cage today, but I’m posting that blog entry next week. I wanted to discuss a scene from New Avengers #7 which I had seen posted online in previews. I have not had the chance to purchase the issue yet, so I didn’t think it was completely fair to discuss the scene in detail without reading the entire issue.)