On September 19-21, 2014 we saw the many fans from all walks of fandom that made their way to Cincinnati, Ohio for The 5th Cincinnati Comic Expo. First off, the show was fantastic. The show floor was broken up into sections. It provided ample space for Artist Alley, exhibitors, entertainment guests and the numerous comic legends. The only time the place seemed cramped was when the lines for the concessions backed into the show floor.
Leading right into my favorite part of the convention was the many comic legends on hand, which included Mark Bagley, Bob Layton, Marv Wolfman, Neal Adams, and George Perez to name a few. I met Mark Bagley first. I had seen Bagley twenty years ago at a Mid-Ohio Con. The years seemed to bitter him just a tad. He had a signing schedule which was nice for the crowd. He did talk to the line about his up-coming Hulk story line which he really enjoyed discussing without giving too much away.
George Perez was next on the list and had this really awesome ticket system in place where you could take a ticket and come back later after enjoying some of the show. I arrived at 10 AM and didn’t get to talk to him until 3 PM. George is the person I wanted to see and meet again. George sat at his table all day Saturday. He does sketches for people for a nominal fee. He signed comics for people for free. George was humble and enjoying the fact that everyone still loves him for his art. Personally, he signed my copy of Incredible Hulk: What Savage Beast, which is a novel written by Peter David. George mentioned he enjoyed drawing the panels in-between the chapters. Definitely the high point of the convention.
The next few stops were a little faster. Marv Wolfman was next on the list. Marv has been working scripts for tons of things including the animated Teen Titans. You can really tell how proud he is of his Titans. Bob Layton was on deck next. If you don’t know Bob then you really don’t know Iron Man, as he has worked on the fan favorite story line Demon In A Bottle. I asked Bob if he has read any of the more recent Iron Man series. He told me it was like watching you children being raped in front of your eyes. Its hard not to understand his point, but characters have to grow. He did think the first Iron Man movie was the best comic origin film ever. Granted, he worked on the movie so it was not surprising that he said that about his baby. Neal Adams was my last big stop and I didn’t bother trying to get anything signed from him. I had heard that he was really expensive for an autograph and that proved correct. Honestly, his booth was huge and he was selling prints for way too much money. Drop the price about ten dollars a print and you’ll see more sales, at least from me. Plus the guy handling Neal said, “Neal was the biggest guest there,” which seemed like a bit of an overstatement. To each his own, though
Moving through the convention, Artist Alley was next which included 64 artists, writers and studios all trying to buy your love or get love and money. I met some incredibly talented indie creators while I was there. I can’t wait to read some of the things I picked up such as Impureblood Comics, Scott Comics, Lauren Jankowski’s novel, Stache Publishing, Mike Leon’s KILL KILL KILL (which he referred to as the most offensive novel ever), and several more who I loved hearing their stories.
Over in the vendor side, it was a mix of various things for sale along with additional artists. There were 31 comic dealers, 4 cosplay guests, 24 more comic book guests, 22 toy vendors, and so much more. The 501st was there holding off the Star Wars Zone which included a large Dewback and Stormtrooper combo for you to snag some photos of. Bricks by the Banks had a monstrous Lego set up that was extremely impressive.
If you needed a bit to eat and a rest, Tom+Chee catered to the guests with grilled cheese on Doughnuts. I had just a normal grilled cheese but I was informed the doughnut combo was excellent. They also had a Kid Zone in this area for the younger fans that probably couldn’t stand or walk around for hours on end drooling over the next comic buy as much as their adult counterparts.
The entertainment guests that made the show this year was a diverse mix. There were Power Rangers, a Cat, a Doctor, the Fonz, two dwarves, two bounty hunters, a rebel pilot, a certain cast member of Serenity, a little girl with a now famous voice, and even a Hulk. You could get your photo taken with the entertainment guests for around thirty dollars, give or take depending on who it was, and they put in a digital background to improve the shot. It took them about an hour and a half to get the pictures developed, which sounds like a long time but is really about right.
Now taking a closer look, who were these guests? The two Power Rangers in attendance were Jason David Frank and Walter Jones. They were having tons of fun with their fans in line and signing away. The Cat was Julie Newmar. She looked like a full-blown movie star and still looks classy and fantastic. The Doctor was Paul McGann, the eighth Doctor Who, and fans were going insane over him. The Fonz of course is Henry Winkler. Henry was fully engaged in the his fans and provided tons photos and conversations. It was nice see a non-comic living legend at the convention. The first dwarf I mentioned was John Rhys-Davies, or Indiana Jones’ sometimes partner if you prefer. His line was packed all day long. From a distance I could hear his distinct voice and remembered how glad I am he is part of our entertainment world. The second dwarf was William Kircher. I got the signed picture for my geek out moment. William shook my hand and was nice as hell. I will now have to go back and watch much more closely his scenes in the Hobbit. Oh, and I love that accent! The little girl was the voice of Anna on Frozen, Livvy Stubenrauch. Do you want to build a Snowman? Stubenrauch was adorable and you could see how much she enjoyed all the people dressed up as Anna and Elsa. Next we have the Hulk, my Hulk, your Hulk, our Lou Ferrigno. Lou is still ripped after all these years and I’m pretty sure he could take Arnold easily now.
On the space side of things, the two bounty hunters were Dickey Beer and Daniel Logan. Dickey was Boba Fett in Empire Strikes Back and Daniel was the young Boba Fett in The Clone Wars. I didn’t see Dickey on the floor at any point but Daniel was all over. He was on the show floor and at his booth quite a bit of the Expo and he didn’t seem to mind the crowds at all. The Rebel pilot in question was Dak Ralter, John Morton, who was Luke’s gunner and was killed on Hoth. I didn’t actually see him at all on Saturday which was very disappointing as I love Empire Jewel Staite was the amazing actress from Firefly, Kaylee Fyre. We still love her, and when will they learn they need to bring back the show already! She stayed all day on Saturday for many excited Firefly fans.
The show was amazing and when it was time for it to come to and end, I wasn’t quite ready. There was just so much to see and do, there just weren’t enough hours in the day. Whether you came to meet a celebrity, get a comic signed, or pick up that last issue for your collection, chances are you had an amazing time just like us. If you were not able to attend, make sure you save the date for next year. Cincinnati Comic Expo proved easily that it is still one of the best conventions for fandom in the area.
Ticket Price: ★★★★☆