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Tuesday, October 18, 2005

The Syracuse Comic Book Expo: Remarks

Your beloved Gnu was at our first really successful comic book convention in Syracuse NY. Syracuse has been trying to have such a gathering for a long time but this one finally pulled it off. Our town has become a real center for comic book and game hobbies especiall for upstate NY. A new store opened up just in time to participate in the weekends festivities. This convention was held in the newly restored local landmark, the Palace.

I proved to be a real comic addict and wound up staying until the closing of the tables. Unfortunately, I talked my friend into coming with me and it turned out to be a real waste of time and money for him. The fee was ten bucks which is not to terrible for a convention except that your basicly paying for the priviledge of spending more money. (Oh the money I spent!) But it was my birthday week so there's your rationale, right?

The best thing about the con was just being a trip down memory lane. I was more interested in recovering issues from past days about comic storylines that I really cared about at the time. I found some cheap old Marvel Amazing Adventures, featuring Killraven, a kind futuristic Sparticus who seeks to free human kind from the evil tyranny of the Martians. There was a run in recent history trying to ressurect the Kilraven line but seemed toi me to fail to get the vibe right. I also picked up Starlin's "Dreadstar and Company" run from the newbie Epic comics, even though I've already read that years ago. Also some "Howard the Duck" from Steve "born out of time comics-wise" Gerber. And also some Mike Baron titles; "Magnus", "Nexus", and the Badger story line where we finally meet "Larry".

I also got my money's worth in celebrity conversations. I got to speak with Scott Beatty ("Nightwing Year One") which was interesting since I manged to fit Kurt Busiek into the conversation. But the highlight was certainly getting to shake the hand of Russell Streiner and meet John Russo who both have producer and screenwriter credit for Romero's "Night of the Living Dead". Mr. Streiner also played "Johnny" the first casuality of the zombie attack at the begining of the movie but who still manages to return to take his girlfriend out for dinner. Finally, I met a guy who claimed that he knew Mike Baron before he began to write comics. he told me that one day they were both in an office together and Mike said, "The comics they put out these days are crap. They should put out something that is more intelligent." And the guy said, "If that's what you think, then you should go out there and write your own comics". And Mike said, "Alright, I will!". I shook the guy's hand. Just in case he was telling the truth, we owe him a huge debt.

I also spoke with the wife of the individual who arranged the whole thing. They were not a local shop owner, just a couple with a huge stack of comic books in their garage that her husband faithfully collected over the years and who do most of their comic trade on-line. Thank you for your support of the hobby in Syracuse.

Finally, I got to talk with the owner and operator of the local SRS (formerly Sub Rosa) productions, a local film company that does trade in the distribution of tons of B-movie hack and slash films but also makes some of his own original movies through the company right here in town. A lot of this work is not necessarily of any redeeming value, some of it was straight up porn, but I was interested in local enterprises and he cast a very useful perspective on the scene. I picked up a disc for one of his original pictures that he filmed here and told me was aimed at a higher standard of entertainment than some of his other works.

Except for the new store, every shop with which I was already aquainted with had a stand at the con, and also just some people dealing outr of their garage. There were suprisingly few costumes. I wore my "Dr. Doom" tie. I also picked up some very cheap copies of Gary Gygax material.

Was it fun? Well, it was nostalgic, enticing, and distracting, but not necessarily the full joi de vie. It was a lot of beat up old guys like me with fond ten-year old memories we rarely take out and l;ook at. I think it was more the male fellowship over our geekyness that was working for me.

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