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My First Comic Book Convention Memories

Monday, March 16, 2020 3:55:53 PM
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I was going through a box of comics and found some relics. Crazy memories.

I was a 19 year old in college in South Carolina. Charleston to be exact and I was attending Johnson and Wales University. Found a local comic shop because I needed my fix. I had just recently discovered Local Comic Stores because before that I was hitting up the grocery stores and pharmacy's.

Final Frontier Comics in Charleston, South Carolina was awesome. One time I went in there and they gave me a flier to something called a "Comic Fantasy Fair". I said, "what the heck is that?". They said, "Shut up and go there!". So I did.

Here is the evidence:

Cannot remember why I didn't get Mike Bair's signature. Might have been a long line or I had to leave, whatever - definitely regret it. Is he still around? Maybe I can hit him up at some convention with this and blow his mind. I remember that Kaluta was nice but Zeck was a little standoffish. But I only had like 30 seconds with each so whatever.

This one was crazy:

I just wandered in one Saturday and there were more people than usual inside. I asked what was going on and they were like, "Mike MIgnola is here".


He was so freaking cool. He would ask you who your favorite character was then talk to you while looking you in the eyes and simultaneously sketching that character for you. He did Orion for me but sadly that wasn't with the rest of this stuff I just recovered. Hopefully that will turn up in another box from the past.

Anyone else want to share early memories from your first comic conventions?

Howie's Saying of the Week

The truth hurts doesn't it. Oh sure, maybe not as much as jumping on a bicycle with the seat missing, but it hurts - Frank Drebin (Leslie Nielsen)

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Monday, March 16, 2020 8:25:17 PM
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The earliest one that I have concrete memories of is Wizard World Chicago in 1999.

We went all three days, staying in a hotel attached to the convention center. There are two reasons why I remember it so well.

The first was that was the first time I found out that there had been two Marvel Transformers comics in the 80's and 90's and I got most of the first 80 issue run at that convention, including #1 and #80 (and I didn't pay more than a dollar or two for them at the time), though it would be over 15 years until I would get the final issue I needed from the run (#74).

The second is I the sheer number of comics that I got at that convention. There were several dealers that had $0.25/$0.50 boxes with a fixed amount if you could fill a short or long box. I cashed in on that three times during the convention and left with six long boxes of comics total (that was a fun drive home since I had to share the backseat with them since there wasn't room in the trunk). I kicked my Spider-man and Superman collections into overdrive and for the first time dove into collecting Batman.

And I still remember those horrible badges that came in a cheap plastic sleeve that you had to attach to your clothes with a safety pin.

I do remember conventions before that vaguely. There was a local Baltimore small comic con that I can still picture the ballroom hall that it was in, but that's the only thing I remember from it, nothing about what comics I got there.
Thursday, March 19, 2020 8:40:53 AM
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My first comic book show (not convention--there is a difference!) I went to was in probably around fourth grade, circa 1988. My brother and I had just discovered our first comic book store, which is where we saw the flyer for the comic show. We never had much of an allowance, but my dad used to save pop cans from his work that we would turn in and he would let us keep the money for (Sixty cents a pound, back then). I remember he picked us up from school on Friday (it was a Sunday comic show) so we could turn the cans in for comic money. My brother and I came out of it with $15 each. But on the way home, my dad had to stop by the local hardware store, which had a pretty good selection of Transformers toys. I couldn't resist! I bought Blurr for $11, which left me with $4 for the comic show.

With only $4 in hand, I can tell you it was still an amazing experience. I came away with six comics for my four dollars. There was a time I could tell you what each of them were, but my memory can only now confirm four: Daredevil #258, Power Pack #2, Top Dog #4, Rom #51.

Today, when I go to a show and give the kids some money to spend, they will inevitably come back after blowing it all asking for more. I will then tell them the story of my first comic show, how I only had $4, and was HAPPY to have it, and HAPPY to be there!

At that first show, I had no clue that there were creator guests. That would come later, with many hours spent in line for autographs. I also remember the prevalence of vintage, key books at those old shows. The high-end dealers in the back would have multiple copies of Amazing #1, FF #1, X-Men #1, Avengers #1 on display. The average joe would have copies of Tales to Astonish #27, Tales of Suspense #39. Don't remember what the prices were, but they weren't hard to find at all. Being a Daredevil fan, I remember I could pick up high-grade early to mid-seventies issues for fifty cents. My brother was into Fantastic Four, and I remember him getting old issues in the thirties for three bucks each. But since that was the norm, neither one of us really stocked up on those at the time. Crazy how things change.

Like Howie, I too have many of the old comic show flyers stashed away in a box somewhere.
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