Ah, Pittsburgh Comicon, another year has come and gone. As always you had your perks and your quirks...and a power outage.
Well, here I am for my annual (late) review of 2011's Pittsburgh Comicon. I had high expectations for this year's show. Phil Jimenez was on the list for the first time. George Perez came back for the first time since 2007. There were returning favorites such as Mike Grell, Ron Frenz, Scott McDaniel, Alex Saviuk and Joe Sinnott. Also a few more first timers like Jim Starlin, Chad Hardin, and Ron Wilson. I was disappointed that Jason Pearson and Herb Trimpe cancelled, but them's the breaks. And as always, there was a lot more than just the guests to keep me occupied.
My first day there (Saturday, I missed Friday due to work), it rained practically the whole time. I'm glad I thought to put a lid on my boxes of comics to get signed. Nothing worse than having Jim Starlin sign some soggy Dreadstar. The rain sputtered like an old jalopy. There were moments of pure deluge followed by spurts of relative calm. Those were a ruse to lure fanboys out in the open so their purchases could get waterlogged as soon as they stepped a few paces into the parking lot.
There were a few epithets like "Curses!" and "Richaaaaarrrds!" I may even have heard one Galaxyquest fan utter "By Grabthar's Hammer! I shall avenge you!" I was never able to see how vengeance was taken on the honor of a soaking copy of X-Force #1. Unbagged, of course.
Of course, the very guest I searched out first was Phil Jimenez. I expected his line to be the worst. Anytime a popular artist comes to this show for the first time, his line tends to be rather long. But I was surprised at how short it was. Even though Jimenez did sketches for anyone who asked free of charge.
Phil was doing head sketches with little bits of background for everyone. It was amazing the amount of detail he crammed in while only drawing for less that five minutes per sketch.
His line moved fairly quickly. He had developed a quick signature for those who wanted books signed. Basically a long scribble with which he could sign a stack of books in a few seconds flat. He was fast, but always had time for a smile and a thank you.
Of course, George Perez was seated next to Phil. Always a nice guy. Bursting with ebullience. I don't know how this show has managed without him these past few years. He had a guy dressed as Superman taking entries for the sketch raffle on Sunday. He looked so much like Christopher Reeve it was scary. Even more so on Sunday when he was dressed as Clark Kent.
Had a good talk with Jim Starlin, which I wrote about previously. Also did a short interview with Stumptown artist Matt Southworth, which I will transcribe soon.
Got a few nice sketches this year. Something I've been lacking in doing for quite a while. But as Phil Jimenez was doing them free, I indulged. Had him do Spider-Woman, Tigra, and a killer Thanos sketch. Also had Archie artist Dan Parent do a Ms. Marvel sketch. I was happy.
There seemed to be fewer retailers this year. Most of the mainstays were there. Many local. I did not see Crazy Ed this year. Maybe he was there and I missed him, but I did not see him on the floor. Last year he sold me some EC reprints at a good price. His absence was sorely felt.
I said "absence" not "abcess." Getcher minds outta the gutter!
It was a treat to see Joe Sinnott again. He looked more frail than last year. I have to wonder how many shows he has left in him. He almost reminds me of Mart Nodell in his last years on the convention circuit. If you've never met or talked with the esteemed Mr. Sinnott, please take the next available chance. He inked Kirby's FF, for Pete's sake.
Ron Frenz was a gentleman. Mike Grell was lovingly cantankerous. Scott McDaniel was genial as ever. Ernie Chan didn't say much, but he was very nice. I had no problems with any guest. Everyone was happy to be there. That feeling pervaded throughout the entire convention hall.
Unfortunately, that happy feeling could not quell the rumbly in my tumbly. Boy was I hungry. All that time waiting in lines took its toll. So I went to the vendor and ordered a hot dog, which was huge. The guy asked if I wanted sauerkraut on it and I said sure.
Then I took it to the cashier and she started to charge an extra dollar for the kraut. Wait, I said, the hot dog's supposed to be this much. She gave me a break, saying that guy is supposed to tell people about the dollar extra. I have a suspicion that someone got in trouble that night.
One thing that raised my eyebrow this year was the massage parlor. Yes, a massage parlor at a comicbook convention. Amidst the scads of tables loaded with back issues, were several scantily clad women who (for a nominal fee of $20) would take care of your back issues.
Have you ever heard the term "poker hot"? It's a term used to describe the only woman at a table of male poker players. Well, I think an appropriate term for these girls would be "fanboy hot."
One girl dressed as Silk Spectre. Another as Wonder Woman. The others as sundry fantasy characters in fishnets. All had skirts that showed a certain amount of butt cleavage. For most of them, that was the only cleavage they had.
I guess their faces were okay. But nobody there was concerned about their faces. Leave us say I'm glad I held onto my $20.
Oh and there is the issue of the power outage. Nearly an hour before the show ended on Sunday, the wind caused the power to go out. Emergency lighting went on after a shrill of "ooh's" came from the crowd. Phil Jimenez was working on my Tigra sketch, his last sketch of the show. Fortunately, there was enough luminescence from the skylights for him to finish.
I guess that's all I have in me for this review. That's the trouble with literary defecation. Once all the words have poured out, there's nothing to do but wipe and flush. Squeezing anything more out of this keyboard may cause a prolapse, and I don't want to clean that up.
Till next time, $k!d fans!
Written or Contributed by: Zenguru