Monday, November 29, 2004

Mini Mid-Ohio report

Mid-Ohio Con is a curious little beast: It's large enough to draw some big-name creators like Jeff Smith, Adam Hughes and (last year) Brian Michael Bendis, but too small to get much attention from publishers. Still, it's a fun show whose crowds are manageable enough to allow you to chat with creators who would be overwhelmed at other conventions with requests for autographs and sketches.

The only "news" to come out of MOC already has been reported by Newsarama: At Sunday's "Marvel Chat" panel (which, for some reason, included Phantom Jack writer Mike Sangiacomo), Sean McKeever confirmed that Mary Jane will return in March for a four-issue limited series.

And now for observations that hardly qualify as "news," but are still somewhat noteworthy:
  • This year's convention initially was touted as a big 25th-anniversary blowout, but the guest list and attendance really don't reflect that. Organizer Roger Price had some health problems this year, which may account for a less-than-stellar show. There were no convention programs available, because they apparently were stuck at the UPS hub until today. But Price repeatedly announced on Sunday that he plans to hold another 25th-anniversary show next year. The explanation goes something like this: This is the 25th annual show, but 2005 marks 25 calendar years. Or something. Anyway, expect a much stronger MOC next year.
  • Although attendance was noticeably lower, I sold a lot more books this year. Of course, last year I had just one book to sell; this year I was pushing three. It didn't hurt that the Mile High Comics guys were swarming the tables Sunday, buying up stock.
  • Headliner John Byrne, in what was advertised as his "last convention appearance ever," walked around with his nametag turned over so it read, "Off Duty." Only when he was signing books did we learn that he was really, yes, "John Byrne."
  • The convention floor on Sunday was littered with anti-Byrne fliers that suggested questions to ask the creator, and tips for how to be John Byrne. One featured a photo of Byrne holding a sign, over which was scrawled, "I'm a Tool." Show staff removed a lot of the fliers, but they continued to reappear throughout the day.
  • Mike Sangiacomo, whose Phantom Jack was dumped by Image and picked up by Speakeasy Comics, had a sign at his table advertising for pencilers and colorists, presumably for another series.
  • As I mentioned last night, I finally met the delightful Steve Lieber, which was great, and caught up with folks I hadn't seen since last year's convention. I also chatted with the guys from Western Tales of Terror, who invited me to pitch them a little something. So, I may be cooking up a little Western/supernatural thingy very soon.
  • The $5 graphic novel table rules, as the kids say.
And that, I think, is that. I'm sure I'm missing something. I'll update later if anything comes to mind.

Update: Dara at the Ferret Press/PANEL blog also has MOC observations, including items on Byrne's nametag and smaller crowds. He promises a full report at The Pulse.