Media and Merchandise

October 27, 2010

Albany Comic Con: Another Great Experience!

Twice a year those of us lucky enough to be in Upstate NY are treated to one of the best comic conventions in the country: the Albany Comic Con. That’s right people, twice! One in the Spring and another in the Fall, and those of us in the Capital District couldn’t be happier. Aside from NYCC this is the con that I look forward to every year, and if you’ve ever been to one you’ll know why. Being that this is a smaller con it’s a bit more intimate and feels more like you’re getting together with a great group of friends that you haven’t seen in a while. Plus the smaller cons have much more of a focus on comics and the people that create them, and for six hours we get to just dive into the greatness that is Albany Comic Con.

Two of the new faces to the Albany Comic Con were Mark McKenna (Exiles, Star Wars: Old Republic) and Mike McKone (Exiles, Teen Titans). These guys, along withe Judd Winik, made Exiles one of my favorite titles back in the day. They were on a panel “From Pencil to Inks,” and along with sharing about the process we got a lot of good stories out of them. Topics ranged from who owns the actual physical artwork when finished, to inking in the digital age, along with various jokes about people confusing their names. As they closed the panel out, Mark also shared that he’s working on a children’s book titled Banana Tail, and Mike is looking forward to seeing The Hobbit when it comes out.

I would suggest that if any aspiring writer, inker, or artist has the chance to sit in on a panel and learn from industry vets at a smaller con, then do it. These guys drop gems about the business and are more than willing to pass on what they know. Just be respectful, shut up, and listen, because what you think you may know doesn’t compare to their actual knowledge of the industry. 

After the panel was over I hit the con floor as usual and ran into a few old friends before swinging over to pick up Omega Chase #5 from Keith Dallas, along with the Albany Con exclusive of Argonauts #3 with a cover by Christian St. Pierre! I ended up chatting with Keith for a bit, then headed over to get my Exiles Vol 1 trade signed by McKone and McKenna. While waiting, I noticed that McKenna had two sick lithographs that I have to own. One had a Predator standing atop a pile of defeated Stormtroopers and the other was Darth Vader fighting off Aliens! Now tell me who wouldn’t want that hanging on their wall. Something else caught my eye after getting the book signed, and it was Nick Tapalansky’s Awakening Vol 1 which I have been patiently waiting for. Lucky for me and the rest of the fans at the con we could also pick up the 2nd volume before anyone else! Needless to say, I couldn’t pass up getting these hardcovers, and having a conversation with Nick as well was worth the wait.

Pretty soon it was panel time again after I finished talking with Nick, as Todd Dezago (Super Hero Squad, Perhapanauts) and Matthew Dow Smith (Dr. Who) were going to chat about “What Makes a Comic Great.” Well things were altered a bit as Dezago suggested all of us just go around the room and talk about our favorite story arcs, writer/artist teams, or those moments in comics that just made your mouth hit the floor. Our picks ranged from Preacher to Spider-Woman to the Days of Future’s Past story line, to name just a few. I’m pretty sure we could have sat around for most of the day going over our favorites and picking on Matt for being a DC Comics kid growing up. There’s just something about getting together in a group with varying tastes and opinions and talking comics that’s just really damn cool.

Magdalena Artist Nelson Blake II

With the panel over I ended up running into Cosplayer Spotlight alum, Jen, sporting her awesome Magdalena costume, and she let me know that Nelson Blake II was in the other room.  This was probably the best news I had heard all day since Nelson wasn’t on the list of guests for the con and I’ve been a fan of his work for a while now. And guess who just happened to have their copy of Magdalena #2 and Witchblade #132 with them? Nelson was finishing up a couple of commissions when I got there but was more than happy to talk for a bit when he was done. Come to find out that he was going to be in the area during the time of the con and was invited by Ron Marz to come and hang out with us. After talking a bit more, Nelson signed my copy of Witchblade #132 which he did the cover art for and Top Cow printed my letter in, along with signing the Magdalena issue for me.

The great Joe Sinott had a table next to Ron and Nelson, and I always say hello to one of the industry’s legendary greats whenever I get the chance to. He’s always got time and a smile for his fans and there’s usually a pretty decent crowd around his tables every year. So after the wait I spent some time just checking out the other vendors and talking with fans while getting a chance to look at some pretty nice Silver Age comics during the process.

There were only a couple of hours left by now as I made my way past Boba Fett and a couple of Jedi to hit up the last panel of the day which was held by the cosplayers. Not being a cosplayer myself I’ll say that the amount of work that goes into these costumes is pretty daunting, but the payoff is high when you end up with a finished product that looks good. As ideas were exchanged and tips were given it was pretty amazing how many regular every day items had been turned into various pieces for some of the costumes and you would never notice. I did leave towards the end because I had to make sure to arrange a surprise for a certain editor of ours, and I was hoping the line had died down at this particular table.

Paul and his creations.

With things winding down I was finally able to make it over to several tables that were just too busy to get to earlier, and found myself hangin’ with the “toy man” himself: Paul Harding. You may not know the name, but many of his statues and figures line the shelves of collectors everywhere and it was good finally getting to talk with him. He’s responsible for the Batman: Arkham Asylum Wave 1 figures and other various Marvel and DC characters, and believe me, that’s the very short version of this man’s body of work. I also realized that I need to start reading Fables after listening to a fan and Paul rave about the series. By the time we finished talking, things were wrapping up  for the con and I closed it out having a great conversation with Todd Dezago and then Matthew Dow Smith. Not a bad way to end a great con if you ask me!

The Albany Comic Con was a few days ago and I’m still pretty amped from the experience as some might be able to tell. The terrific fans and long list of talented guests helped to set it off, and it was pretty damn cool that Marz invited Nelson and he was able to accept! From the costume contests, to the Magic Tournament sponsored by Aquilonia Comics, to the panels, this should definitely be on your agenda if you’re in the area. The next Albany Comic Con isn’t until April, but it’s one of the highlights of my year, and just like the cons before it, this one didn’t disappoint and just keeps getting better!

‘Till next year!

For more Albany Comic Con click here!

Infinite Speech



  1. ” I did leave towards the end because I had to make sure to arrange a surprise for a certain editor of ours, and I was hoping the line had died down at this particular table.”


  2. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Comic Attack, Gid Freeman. Gid Freeman said: @ComicAttack covers the Albany Comic Con! @COMICBOOKSHOW! […]

  3. Billy

    Sounds like a great show!

  4. @Kris Just a little “thank you” for all you’ve done! You make me look good on here!

    @Billy I would say it’s the best small con I’ve been to but it just keeps getting bigger every year. I will say that the vibe and atmosphere is just terriffic and anyone in the area should go. Plus it’s TWICE a year!

  5. Kristin

    I’m excited! Can’t wait. 🙂

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