Akron Comic Convention 2013 - Review

As some of you may know, the ol New Hope Patriot Missile has been having some health problems. In fact, they have been so bad as to nearly make me cross this convention off my list. However, after experiencing the first event last year, and corresponding with the show promoters some this year, the Boogeyman and me headed north, not sure of what to expect for a sophomore attempt by this group. They had some great posters for the event, and building upon the success of last year, expectations were raised.

We were not disappointed. The show built off of its solid start from last year, with even more of a focus on Superman, this being his hometown area (Siegel and Shuster were from Cleveland) and it also being Supes's 75 birthday year. The guest list was impressive with Superman talent like Jon Bogdanove, Ron Frenz, Craig Boldman and others. Also in attendance were comics legends Darryl Banks, Mike W. Barr, Chris Sprouse, Mike Gustovich, Marc Sumerak Tom Batiuk, and talents like Sean Forney and Todd Beistel, Adam Beechen, Dave Aikins, Alan Sharp, Andy Bennett, and Thom Zahler. It was a solid second year show, with convention staff who were considerate and frequently asked how they could help make things better, from the show promoter down to the guy checking wristbands. There were many panels and activities, and the location for the most part was pretty good, but there was a minor stumbling block. First, the good stuff.

The event was held in the Univserity of Akron's Quaker Station. This was a good location as there was parking close by, including ADA parking (which unfortunately, I have to use now) as well as affordable food across the sidewalk at the Quaker Grill, I believe. The chicken parm grinder was tasty and affordable, with bottomless beverages. The venue had a steady supply of side rooms for panels, contests, and other events. There were multiple exits. There was even a place to get glasses of water for free. Just outside the entrance, there were also food trucks with various fare at reasonable prices.

However, there was a slight problem...One of the great things about last year's event was the spacing of the aisles and the overall layout. This year, this was a minor setback. The aisles were a little more crowded and the layout seemed a bit cramped. One great thing about last year was the places to sit just outside the convention to commiserate and chat with fans, or to get a rest before continuing on. That was missing this year. Also, the arrangement of Jon Bogdanove's table caused massive bottlenecking. I would suggest either a bigger room for the main show area next year, or some more creative alignment of the tables. However, this was small potatoes of a gripe compared to how excellent the show was.

The great thing about the Akron show continues to be the people. The founders of this show are heavy on being about "fans first, fans always," and they do not disappoint. Michael Savene and Robert Jenkins continue to show us what conventions used to be like before the "merlins" and such took over and made it about the quick buck. This convention, while being a big event, harkens one back to when cons were about getting together with fans and talent and discussing the medium we love and the characters we enjoy, as well as helping one another out. I am not ashamed to say I felt this personally as Mike Savene found me and asked about me at the Cincinnati Comic Expo as well as over the internet, making sure I got a special poster from the free comic book day event. This is what cons and fandom were always supposed to be about. Talking with the guests, they were pleased with how the staff of the show took care of their needs, from getting water or food to manning the tables for a potty break. Another top notch job by fans for fans!

Was great getting together with Craig Boldman, Darryl Banks and catching up. Got a sweet Thunderstrike cover sketch from Ron Frenz, who was gracious and witty as always. Also got a great sketch cover of Thanos and Captain Mar-Vell from Alan Sharp, who was drawing for his organization which teaches the young people and adults how to create their own comics as a literacy outreach. Mr. Boldman is working on yet another sketch cover for me.

Had interesting conversations with some of the artists, especially Jon Bogdanove and his wife, about things like the new 52. Since this is Superman's 75th anniversary, according to copyright law he will soon pass into public domain. This means that anyone can use his image and do stories, etc. Next year Batman will turn 75. Many artists speculated that DC Comics (and Marvel too, with their Marvel Now! reboots) are taking preemptive steps to develop their own versions of the characters that they can copyright and own for 75 years. In fact, some were saying DC was endeavoring to get copyright law changed so they could keep the rights to the classic characters and that if successful, we might see the end of the garbage that is the new 52 and a return of the real heroes of DC. I look forward to that day.

All in all, was a great day, got many autographs and great memories, had wonderful conversations. I don't care if it is a one day show, you need to experience it. It is a blast to the days when the cons were about fans and comics, and all the hollywierd and goofiness was in the costumes. It is a convention the way it should be. Fans first, fans always! As long as I can make the trip from the Cincinnati area to Akron, I will continue to go and recommend the Akron Comicon as THE Con to attend north of Dayton Ohio.

I give this year's con 4.5 out of 5 shields. If the room were bigger and aisles wider, would have gotten the ol perfecto!

New Hope Patriot Missile Rating:

4.5 out of 5 Shields
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