MID-OHIO-CON is my favorite comics convention and has been for well over two decades. The show is put on by my good friend Roger Price and, for more years than I can remember, I've been involved with it in one capacity or another. This year, after taking a few years off to let new blood have some fun, I'm back as MOC's panel programming guy, creating and supervising the many events we'll be putting on at the show. More on that in a bit.
Mid-Ohio-Con (November 25 and 26) is at Battelle Hall within the Columbus Convention Center in downtown Columbus' exciting Arena District. The show will have way too many great comics and media guests and programs for me to cover in this one column, but you can get the whole story at the official website:
All I'm going to do today is touch on some of the enormously big fun planned for the show.
HERB, DICK, AND GARY
The comics of the 1940s and 1950s are endlessly fascinating to me, but I am a child of the Silver Age. It's the creators who were working in the 1960s, the decade before my entrance into the field, who truly ignited my passion for comics.
Dick Ayers was a favorite of mine even before I knew his name, thanks to the Presto Kid stories he drew and which were reprinted in Israel Waldman's RED MASK comics. It was a thrill to work with at Marvel and DC...and I still hold out the hope that I'll be able to work with him again.
I was already a total comics fanatic when Gary Friedrich and Herb Trimpe started writing and drawing stories for Marvel Comics. Not only did I enjoy their work, but it was just plain cool to know they were just starting out. New writers and artists were making their way into the field and that meant, impossible though it may have seemed at the time, that I might actually be able to follow in their footsteps someday. That turned out to be the literal truth in Gary's case as I followed him on his brilliant Ghost Rider book. It was one of my favorite gigs.
Imagine my delight that we have all three of them at Mid-Ohio-Con this year. I see Dick and Lindy Ayers (she's the cute chick he brings to the conventions) every few years, though that's not near enough as I would like, but I haven't seen Gary or Herb in thirty years or so. I am so pumped!
My good buddy Mark Evanier will be interviewing the terrific trio on Saturday afternoon at the con with some small kibitzing by yours truly. You'll be able to recognize me; I'll be the old guy with the widest eyes in the room.
WHO WANTS TO BE A SUPERHERO?
Watching Stan Lee and the Sci-Fi Channel's WHO WANTS TO BE A SUPERHERO? this summer was great fun. When Roger told me Feedback, the winner of that competition, would be a guest at Mid-Ohio-Con, I got downright giddy...though I did chide Roger for including the hero's real name on the con's website, thus potentially exposing Feedback's family and friends to peril at the hands of evildoers. What was he thinking?
Feedback and artist Matt Haley, who did the art for the Sci-Fi Channel series, will be on two Mid-Ohio-Con programs. The first is a panel on the show itself. The second...
...is the SUPERHERO TRIVIA CHALLENGE! This is a game show in which fan contestants will assume the identities of their original super-heroes and pit their knowledge of superheroes against that of their fellow contestants.
Feedback and Matt Haley will be the hosts of this contest with Bob Ingersoll and Joe Edkin as our official quizmasters. Joe will also be the show's announcer.
There will be two preliminary rounds of three players each and all contestants will receive a prize just for playing. The winner of each round will also get the first season of WHO WANTS TO BE A SUPERHERO? on DVD. But the grand prize will go to whichever of the finalists wins the championship round.
Mid-Ohio-Con's Superhero Trivia Champion will get an original Matt Haley drawing of himself or herself in their heroic persona. Just think how great that will look on your wall...or how much fun you'll have explaining it to visitors.
The Mid-Ohio-Con SUPERHERO TRIVIA CHALLENGE is scheduled for Saturday afternoon at 4:30 pm. Don't miss it.
SATURDAY AT THE MOVIES
It started out as a modest notion. Ted Sikora would show HERO TOMORROW, his cool independent film about a comics creator who is, perhaps, too close to his creation, at the convention. Then came Nathan Quinn with his UNCONVENTIONAL, an indy movie about two pals who make outrageous bets at conventions. Thus was born the first Mid-Ohio-Con Movie Night...which has since grown to include three more hours of cinematic fun earlier in the day.
Howard Brown, the special effects supervisor for the web-based STAR TREK: NEW VOYAGES, will be doing a presentations consisting of clips from his various projects, and also be showing, for the first time offline, a full episode of NEW VOYAGES. Howard's presentation will start at 4:00 pm and run approximately 90 minutes.
Next up will be Brian M. Kane, author of JAMES BAMA: AMERICAN REALIST, who, as part of his 90-minute program, is screening Paul Jilbert's Bama documentary, which is only available on DVD as part of the book's limited edition.
Then comes the screenings of HERO TOMORROW and UNCONVENTIONAL, making for a full evening of movie fun. Is there a popcorn bucket big enough for some much entertainment? And free entertainment at that? Time to buy stock in Orville Redenbacher!
I'm hoping this is the beginning of a yearly tradition at Mid-Ohio-Con. But, a heaping helping of the kudos for the movie night must go to my assistant Gary Herrmann, who has been wrangling the details on these cinematic presentations. We literally could not be bringing you these films if it weren't for him. So be sure to thank him when you see him at the convention.
TOO MUCH FUN FOR ONE CONVENTION
Year in and year out, Roger Price manages to bring an army of wonderful comics and media guests to Mid-Ohio-Con. Al Feldstein, legendary editor of MAD magazine and the classic EC comic books of the 1950s, will be interviewed by Mark Evanier on Sunday. Several dozens other comics guests will be on panels, signing comics, and interacting with fans at their Artist Alley tables. Check out the guest list here:
In developing Mid-Ohio-Con's programming, I tried to bring as much variety to the panels as Roger brought to a guest list of over 145 celebrities. It took over a thousand back-and-forth e-mails between the guests and myself, but I'm happy with the results. The Hero Initiative, the new Guardian Line of comics, the small press, the self-publishers, the National Cartoonists Society, rising star Mike Avon Oeming, and more are represented on our schedule:
Dozens of exhibitors and publishers will also be on hand, some of them - like Dennis Mallonee's Heroic Publishing - making their first-ever Mid-Ohio-Con appearances. Fans will also find a number of convention exclusives...
Fans attending Mid-Ohio-Con on November 25 & 26 will have the opportunity to collect some extra special convention exclusives. Leading the list, Pop Fun Merchandising has created a Mid-Ohio-Con "Toon Tumbler" featuring The Incredible Hulk and with art by Herb Trimpe. These beautiful glasses will be available, in limited quantity, at the Pop Fun Merchandising booth.
Toy collectors will want to stop by Bill's Bricks and Toys to get their exclusive BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER action figure of "Ice Cream Man Xander". This toy is exclusive to Bill's Bricks and Toys and has never been offered for sale at any other con.
Thom Zahler's LOVE AND CAPES #2 by Thom Zahler isn't scheduled to arrive in stores until early December, but fans at Mid-Ohio-Con can be the first to purchase their copy, and get it signed by the creator. Love and Capes #2 will be premiering at the Thom Zahler Art Studio booth, exclusively at Mid-Ohio-Con.
Is it any wonder I love this convention?
PARTY ON, DARA!
One more item for those of you planning to arrive in Columbus the day before the convention. It's a party announcement sent to me by Ferret Press publisher DARA NARAGHI:
FERRET PRESS SPONSORS FREE PRE-MID OHIO CON PARTY ON FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 24
Columbus, OH: Fans and pros alike were disappointed at the news that the legendary pre-con party sponsored by local comic-book store, The Laughing Ogre, was not planned for this year. But fear not, comic fans, as the mantle has been passed on to a new successor. Ferret Press, a Columbus-based publisher of small press comix, in association with the local writers/artists collective known as PANEL, will be sponsoring "Unmasked," a pre-Mid-Ohio-Con party.
The free event will take place on Friday, November 24, from 8 pm until midnight. The venue will be the oh-so-cool "Underground" at Barley's Brewing Company, 467 North High Street, Columbus, Ohio (directly across from the convention center). Comic-book fans and pros alike are invited to come mingle, meet and greet, see and be seen, talk comics, and just have a good time.
"This is our hometown convention and the pre-show parties have been a tradition," said Dara Naraghi, Ferret Press publisher and PANEL co-founder.
"We wanted to make sure we carried on the tradition in the fun, relaxed manner fans have come to expect. Plus, we're always looking for an excuse to get together with friends and colleagues and drink a beer!"
Admission to the "Unmasked" party is absolutely free, but a donation box will be set up for the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund in hopes attendees will contribute a small amount. In addition, the event will feature free appetizers, live music, free comic books, and other surprises. Barley's will provide a cash bar, which will include a fine selection of their micro-brewed beers. "By the way, the Underground at Barley's can accommodate around 150 people, but I'd still recommend you drop by early because if past years are any indication, we may have to turn people away if we reach capacity," suggested Dara.
Ferret Press was founded in 2002 and is a publisher of fine small press comics. It embraces the spirit of independent comics and self-publishing, enjoying a close relationship with the writers and artists collaborative known as PANEL.
For more information on "Unmasked," as well as directions to Barley's, please visit:
Though "Unmasked" is not a actual production of Mid-Ohio-Con, everyone at the show is thrilled that Dara, Ferret Press, and the PANEL gang have taken it on themselves to continue a tradition that started at Casa Isabella, back when the show was still taking place in Mansfield. The Mid-Ohio-Con love just grows and grows, each and every year. Have a terrific time at the party, drink responsibly, and, above all else, don't knock over the Tipster on your way to appetizers.
Thanks for spending a part of your day with me. I'll be back soon with more stuff.
ZERO: Burn your money before buying any comic receiving this rating. It doesn't *necessarily* mean there's absolutely nothing of value here - though it *could* - but whatever value it might possess shrinks into insignificance before its overall awfulness.
ONE: Buy something else. Maybe I found something which wasn't completely dreadful in the item, but not enough for me to recommend it when there are better comics available. I only want what's best for you, my children.
TWO: Basic judgment call. I found some value, but not enough to recommend it. My review should give you enough info to decide if you want to take a chance on it. Are you feeling lucky today, punk? Well, are you?
THREE: This denotes something I find perfectly respectable. There are better books out there, but I wouldn't regret buying this item. Based on my review, you should be able to determine if it's of interest to you. Let the Force guide you.
FOUR: I recommend anything earning this rating. Unless you don't like the genre, subject matter, or past work of the creators, I believe you'll enjoy this item. Isn't it uncanny how I can look right into your soul that way?
FIVE: Anything getting this rating is among the best comicdom has to offer. You should buy/read this, even if the genre/subject matter doesn't appeal to you. It's for your own good. Me, I live for comics and books this good...but not in a pathetic "Comic-Book Guy" sort of way.
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