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Friday, June 08, 2007

Con report - Paradise Toronto Comicon

I went to the first day of the Paradise Toronto Comicon today, the only day I'll be going. The show continues for two more days, which will probably be a lot more eventful and crowded. I prefer the more relaxing pace of the less crowded day.

First thing walking into the hall that I noticed was Blake Bell. Seems I can't wander into a convention without running into him. After a short talk with him, I went to check out the artist alley section. Lot of guys hadn't set up yet (or were weekend only), but Marv Wolfman was there, with a short line-up. Wolfman was one of the main reasons I decided to go to the show, and I had brought a few things for him to sign, including my incredibly well read copy of NEW TEEN TITANS #1 from 1980. Wolfman's writing meant a lot to my younger self, so it was nice to thank him for it.

Looked at a few more tables, and came across David Day. He had a number of pieces of art, mostly from role-playing game and card work, available for an absurdly cheap price. I was a bit surprised at the work, not being too familiar with his solo work, and I guess associating him too much with his late brother Gene, he of the absurdly exact ink line. David's work is much more loose and organic, and I found a great piece that I mentioned to him would go great with some of the few other pieces of original artwork I have, dinosaur related sketches by Steve Bissette and Sam Glanzman. Turns out David was quite a fan of Glanzman (really obvious in the piece I got, which should be up top on this post), so I enjoyed talking to him about that. If you go to the show this weekend, I strongly advise seeking out his table and looking at what he has for sale. Great stuff at a great price (I went back and picked up two more pieces at the end of the day).

Later in the day the other guest I wanted to meet was at his table, so I got to say hello to Jerry Robinson, and pick up a signed print of a Joker sketch by him. Nice guy, and I got to thank him for the excellent COMICS - AN ILLUSTRATED HISTORY OF COMIC STRIP ART book that I used to take out of the library over and over, and he mentioned that the updated edition (which had been scheduled for last year) should be out later this year. O Frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!

Other than that, it was mostly bargain shopping. A few places were blowing out some overstock for $1 an issue (and sorted stock, not random like some bargain bins), so I was able to scratch a lot of itches cheaply that way. One dealer had some recent stuff that I was marginally interested in, but not at full price (several issues of DC's SOLO, the Philip Wylie adaptation with art by Russ Heath) or had heard good things about after the fact (AGENTS OF ATLAS, SPIDER-MAN/HUMAN TORCH) or just wanted to sample. Another had a lot of older stuff, including a massive amount of 1970s Charlton comics with Ditko art. I picked up about 50 of those and still had to leave a bunch behind. Fortunately, they have a store, and while it's a bit of a drive out there, it might make a good lazy summer trip. I also picked up some LITTLE ARCHIE digests, which should be fun.

Among non-$1 stuff (and I swear, there are like 150 books in that pile...), one dealer had a number of modern fanzines fairly cheap, so I found a few ALTER EGO and COMIC BOOK ARTIST issues I had missed or skipped, and another dealer had some great prices on recent graphic novels and collections, so I spent way too much on stuff that was on my mildly interested, get someday list. Don't regret any of it, other than the sheer mass of reading material I'm now facing.

I did look for a few more expensive back-issues, but didn't find much that I really wanted. I was sorely tempted by a fairly-priced low-grade copy of SCRIBBLY #2, but couldn't bring myself to break the $100 barrier in back-issue buying (although I know full well I'll have to someday if I want to get a run of SCRIBBLY).

So that was my day. Now my feet hurt, and I'm facing a mountain of books to sort through and read, but I'm happy. I liked the low key nature of the show, and the general comic focus (not heavy on screen and animation guests like some shows). I imagine the retailers would have liked bigger crowds, but hopefully those will come over the weekend. The crowd levels suited me fine.

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