The Cliffs of Insanity: Boston Comic Con

boston comic con, dragons
The knitting dragon t-shirt, available from the website Make Me a Dragon, photo by Corrina Lawson

Of all the cons I’ve attended, Boston Comic Con is the most comicbooky.

ConnectiCon is full of young energy and passion and New York Comic Con is a massive commercial show. But I found Boston Comic Con, which I attended last Saturday, to be the most comic focused.

My whole four-person crew came with me and they all found stuff of interest. There were dragons discovered, Bryan Q. Miller Batgirl issues found, Firefly prints purchased, and much encouragement from all the artists my twins spoke to about their own art.

The first big sign Boston was going to be focused on comic books was the art talent in artist’s alley, which included Ming Doyle, Phil Jimenez, Brian Stelfreeze, Mike Mignola, George Perez, Colleen Doran, and so many other well-known and talented people that I can’t list them all. All with signed prints or commissions available for the asking.

The second was the sheer number of back issues comics on sale from various vendors. There were boxes and boxes of older monthly comic issues and trades, all on sale. Many of the DC and Marvel trades were half-off and the more recent issues were also discounted to as little as one dollar. One vendor had an entire display of DC’s New 52 books from the last year, all for dollar.

The panels were crowded but easy to attend, especially compared to New York Comic Con. My eldest daughter, 20, attended the DC Comics panel consisting of Dan DiDio, Scott Snyder, Brian Azzarello, Aaron Lopresti, and Tony Daniel. I was a good mom and headed to a how to create comics panel that my teenage twins were interested in, but my daughter’s texts from the DC panel were hilarious. I wish I could reprint them for you but she’d kill me.

In short, she wasn’t impressed by Azzarello, who is apparently famously cranky on panels (in Azzarello’s defense, he was recovering from a broken collar bone), and more than a bit disgusted at the characterization of the upcoming Superman/Wonder Woman comic as “hot.”  Her text called that “kind of gross.” (Tony Daniel has apparently lost at least one reader.) She did like Snyder’s comments about Lois being bad-ass in the upcoming Superman Unchained.

She was less than thrilled with the answer to the question she asked about the fate of Stephanie Brown, the previous Batgirl, who disappeared from DC when it rebooted almost two years ago with the new 52. “Waiting for the right story,” was the answer.

It was likely a lot more fun reading her texts than it might have been to actually attend the panel. This having minion things at cons is great. Alas, she’s now off doing her own thing for about a year, so I’ll have to work the twins up to it.

Other tidbits from Boston:

1. If you say anything bad about J. Michael Straczynski, Colleen Doran will give you the finger.

Doran is republishing her classic A Distant Soil, which has been out of print for many years. The task was made nearly impossible as the original printer lost the book’s archives during a bankruptcy. The new edition had to be digitally remastered from original artwork and other sources and this required some very expensive equipment.

Equipment that Straczynski bought for Doran. At her artist’s panel at the end of the day on Saturday, Doran said if anyone ever said anything bad about the creator of Babylon 5, she would give them the finger. And, no doubt, a large piece of her mind.

Ladies Making Comics has a great review of the first volume of A Distant Soil, and it’s a book everyone should buy, especially teens, as it was designed as a young adult story SF/F story. Doran began writing the epic story when she was a teenager. Be careful to look for the digitally remastered edition, which was just released this past week. Doran sold out of the copies she had at Boston Comic Con before I could grab one.

Gordon, Gotham
Jim Gordon by Ming Doyle, photo by Corrina Lawson

2. No matter how famous the artist, kids will gravitate to the art they love.

I couldn’t wait to pick up my original commission of Jim Gordon from Ming Doyle, which came out absolutely fabulous. (He’s kinda hot, which I love but my Jim Gordon crush apparently has no bounds.) Doyle went above and beyond, providing not only a head shot but a beautiful sketch of Gordon on the rooftop in Gotham, near the Bat-signal.

However, until seeing that art, my son was not impressed with Doyle’s credentials. (“Who’s that?”) After seeing the Gordon art, he went back and commissioned a gorgeous sketch of Miles Prower, Tails, from the Sonic Universe.

Sonic, Ming Doyle, Tails
Tails by Ming Doyle. photo by Corrina Lawson

However, his twin went right for the dragons, to the booth from Make Me a Dragon.

Goku_FBSo my younger daughter ended up with a beautiful colored drawing of Goku as a dragon, while I was focused on the Knitting Dragon t-shirt, which immediately made me think of several geekmoms who would love the shirt. You can order commissions, the knitting dragon shirt and others, at their website.

3. A special shout-out to Eric Carlson, the author of Tiki, P.I., who was so encouraging both during and after the “So You Want to Be a Comic Artist” panel.

4. Cosplay is a surefire way to meet people.

My eldest son, 17, cosplayed as Bobby from Supernatural at Connecticon but he went with a group of friends all dressed as the show’s characters. I was skeptical of whether he’d be recognized in Boston all by his lonesome.

Wrong, Mom.

People kept coming up to him constantly. Other cosplayers. Who hugged him. Who were girls his own age. And demanded pictures with him.

Supernatural
Supernatural cosplayers at Boston Comic Con. photo by Corrina Lawson

Smart kid.

4. Food is still a problem at the con but the Barking Crab is just a short distance away.

The single concession stand inside the World Trade Center, where Boston Comic Con was held, was open but mobbed. There was a Dunkin Donuts and a local convenience story right next to the World Trade Center but the food selection there is obviously limited.

We solved the problem by eating a huge breakfast, packing lunch, and walking down to the wharf area near the Boston Children’s Museum to eat at the open air restaurant, The Barking Crab. The seafood there was terrific. My son had clam sliders, my eldest daughter and I split a delicious order of fried sea scallops that melted in your mouth, and the twins settled for non-fish items that they deemed delicious. A little pricey but I’d eat there again, and our waitress was pleasant and efficient.

This is a con I want to attend both days next year.

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Writer, Mom, Geek and Superhero. though usually not all four on the same day. Author of the award-winning Phoenix Institute Superhero series and the steampunk novel, The Curse of the Brimstone Contract.