This past weekend I had the pleasure of attending my first ever Comic Con. I had never been to any type of comic book convention before this and as it drew closer I got more and more excited for this event.
If you have never attended a Comic Con before, some vary in certain ways, but most have a similar pattern. You will have celebrities that you can meet and have your photo taken with them or get something signed by them. There are artists upon artists at the event, mostly comic book, but there were also a few 80’s and 90’s cartoon artists at the event too who you could have sign something or purchase a printing of a piece of their work which they would sign. Wizard World also has a big gaming community and at their Namco and Capcom booths they were holding tournaments in Street Fighter, Tekken 7 and Naruto all weekend. And, of course, there were stalls upon stalls of comic books, graphic novels, Funko Pop figurines and others, Statues, t-shirts, hats, masks, posters and a number of other stalls.
If you are a fan of Superheroes, Comic Books, Sci-Fi, Cosplay, Gaming or Pop Culture in General then I would recommend going to a Comic Con in some shape and form and there are plenty out there where you can find one that suits your specific culture and interests.
So, lets journey into my 2 days at Wizard World Richmond.
Day 1 Started off on Friday with the event kicking off at 3pm (unless you were a VIP and got in early which we did not on this occasion). I was accompanied by my Brother-in-law, Jake, who is also a collector of comics and memorabilia like myself although this wasn’t a first for him as he has attended the Denver Comic Con (although he seemed to prefer this Con to that one). We walked into the convention Center and were met with some pretty amazing statues which you can see below. I have no idea what the lion is (if anyone does then please share) and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles from the new movie “Out of the Shadows” and a large Hulk statue which I never got a good picture of as the light behind it made the statue dark and hard to see.
Jake and I got our 3 day wrist bands joined the queue that had already started forming 1 1/2 hours prior to the event. The crowd was pretty quiet for this day which at first kind of lowered my expectations of what was inside but then I realized that I would love whatever was inside and less people meant one thing, smaller queues to get to the things I wanted.
As we headed inside, it may sound cliche, but I felt totally at home. Our plan on day one was to get a feel and layout of the place and hopefully head down Artist Alley to get our comic books signed and get some Wizard World Exclusive collectibles before they disappeared.
We made a be line for a stall on the map we got when we checked in called Convention Exclusives. We thought this meant exclusives to the Convention but quickly realized that this was just the name of the company and it was essentially a Funko Pop stall with very little else. He was selling an exclusive Stan Lee pop sporting a signed T-shirt based on Stan’s own signature and I decided that this was worth buying and was grateful as no one else in the convention was selling any Stan Lee Pops. Although apart from this Jake and I felt like he was trying to hoodwink us as a lot of his stock were being sold by multiple vendors and a number of them for much cheaper.
From there we looked at another couple of stalls before Jake became dead set on heading to artist alley as he wanted to get a couple of his comics signed by Arthur Suydam before there was a line of people to wade through to get to him. Arthur Suydam is nicknamed “The Zombie King” known for his art in series such as Marvel Zombie’s and The Walking Dead as well as numerous variant covers and sketches depicting heroes and villains as Zombies. Jake had two rare Deadpool variant covers by Suydam, one was a take on The Beatles Abbey Road and the other was a take on the Jaws original poster. Suydam was doing an interview at the time and while Jake waited for him I spotted another artist I wanted to get to sign one of my comics and headed over to meet legend Michael Golden.
Michael Golden has worked on a number of comics for different companies including many for both Marvel and DC and was a co-creator of Rogue from the X-Men comics. But I learned that he was also an artist on the Bucky O’Hare comic. I grew up watching the Bucky O’Hare cartoon so I knew getting a #1 of the comic and getting it signed would be the route I would go. It was an honor to meet such a legend and then I headed back to Jake who was just meeting Arthur Suydam.
I had a comic I wanted Arthur Suydam to sign too. It was a Marvel Zombie #! variant cover which showed a classic image of Spider-man now as a zombie. It is rare and cost me a lot of money to get. And as you can see Suydam happily signed it, although he asked we buy one of his prints which he would sign and then he would sign whatever we wanted. Jake decided to stick with his Deadpool theme (He might be slightly obsessed) and got a Deadpool Scarface style print from him where as I seen a Batman print he had done that really caught my eye. I’m not a big Batman fan but this stood out to me, and when he told me that it was a replica of a Make-A-Wish commission that he had done, I knew it was the one to get. Suydam was a nice guy but did come across a little but flakey and not entirely there, but then again, he is an artist so there was bound to be one of them like that.
After meeting the ‘interesting’ Arthur Suydam, we decided to keep working our way round Artist Alley as I had a number of other comics to get signed and our next stop was the table of another legendary artist from both Marvel and DC, John Beatty. I had originally brought a 4 part series in the hopes that he could sign them all but after learning that a number of artists were charging for signatures (and some more than anticipated) as well as offering certificates of authenticity for their signatures (which I decided were musts) I got part 1 signed, Batman #436, the first appearance of Tim Drake, one of my favorite characters in comics and who would take on the mantle of Robin and Red Robin in DC. Jake, as well as being obsessed with Deadpool just now, is also a big Punisher fan and decided to buy a print John Beatty had done of Punisher in a minimalistic style and had it signed by Beatty too.
We then went to the table of artistic legend Neal Adams, best know for his work in DC on Green Lantern/Green Arrow and Batman. He has been a legend in the business for a number of decades and I had a Green Lantern/Green Arrow comic from the ’80s for him to sign. Jake decided that because of his comic experiences and ability to draw multiple characters (a lot of artist can only do exclusive commission drawings for certain characters that they have worked on over the years and Neal Adams has so much experience he can do a number of them) he began a negotiation that would last the rest of the night to have a commission done by Neal Adams.
Jake inquired about prices for the commission and for a partial face draw less than full size was $200 and the prices for a full face, upper body and full body would take the prices up to $600. Jake told him he had about $200 but he would also have to discuss it with his wife and Adams told him to do that and he would see what he could do.
While calling his wife and working out his commission I decided to explore some of Artist Alley and some of the stalls around me and eventually found Jake debating whether to do this or not. He eventually went back to Neal Adams and told him his Wife’s instructions of the picture had to be $150, had to also have Neal Adam’s signature on it and to get a picture with him too (which cost $20 itself). Neal told Jake he had to find a blank cover comic for him to draw it onto but he would do it.
Also Jake had asked for a picture of Deadpool holding up Ghost Rider with a gun on him and this picture should have cost between $400-$600 in my estimation.
After the deal was struck we decided to explore a number of stalls and look at the gaming center. Jake and I got to play Tekken 7 before it’s release in the states next year and I have to say I, the button bashing king, beat Jake, the actual gamer, 3 straight rounds in the first match using Arcade controls. Jake did win the next one and we never had a rubber match as the machine blacked out quickly. We then played Street Fighter and I got destroyed when I had to use an actual controller.
We wandered through the stalls and I recorded a Live Facebook video, unfortunatly I can’t seem to share that video with all of you, which is a shame as it contained quite a bit of a look at the Con. I did find a Scarlet Spider Unlimited #1 and as I was a huge Scarlet Spider fan in the 1990’s and seen it for $2 and knew I needed to add it to my collection.
And I also found a Booster Gold Comic, which right now are apparently like Gold Dust to find in comic shops, and decided I had to get this for my collection as well.
At another Stall I found a variant cover for a Spider-Man 2099 which I thought was pretty cool and bought this as well.
And finally, I bought a Graphic Novel called “Invincible”. It is a Superhero comic from the company Image, rather than Marvel or DC, and is written by Robert Kirkman, writer of The Walking Dead comics. I had heard it recommended quite highly and thought I would buy it and see if it was as good as people were saying.
I still had a couple of artist I was looking to get signatures from and we found Steve Geiger, who had been doing a panel, now back at his table and I got him to sign Web of Spider-Man for me. He also had some rare Punisher sketches and Inks that he had done and Jake and I had considered that if he could get a little more cash for Saturday then we might get them together, I had decided that either way I would get them but would wait to Saturday as I had spent a lot and wanted to try and make my money last as it was only Day 1.
Also throughout the Day I had seen a number of Cosplayers. Here are a few of the costumes that were on show on Friday Night.
And to finish my night off, we walked through the celebrity tables and most were empty until Saturday and Sunday but there were a couple of Celebrities who were there already. Nichelle Nichols,Uhura in the original Star Trek TV Series, was there all weekend although I never got her autograph. She did, however get rolled past me in a wheelchair during the Con which was kinda cool.
One celebrity who I had considered a picture with was WWE Wrestler, A.J. Styles. I had decided against it as I have started to get out of and become really disheartened by wrestling recently, but then I seen him sitting at his booth signing autographs. I started to become a wrestling fanboy again and decided to rush and get a ticket and rush back. I have been a fan of A.J. since 2005 when I started watching TNA Wrestling, he is one of the best wrestlers in the world today and I didn’t want to miss this opportunity to meet him. Once I had bought my ticket to get his autograph I was hurried back to the table as the line was empty and he was leaving and I got to shake his hand and say hi, then out of fanboy geek out I was dead silent. I never said anything, but I was happy. And even more so now that he is the WWE World Heavyweight Champion.
That was the end of Day 1. Yet again this is a post that I intended to be one post and it will become 2 due to it’s length. But I will leave it there and look out for Part 2 coming in the very near future.
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