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Lake Effect Comic Con 2018

This past weekend, I went to the 9th annual Lake Effect Comic Con, in Mentor, Ohio. (Think northeast Ohio, a couple miles south of Lake Erie–hence "lake effect!"). The convention started out at the Great Lakes Mall (still in Mentor)…I don’t recall the first couple–they may have been inside the mall itself, but don’t quote me! The ones I remember were in the movie theater lobby, of the theater sharing a parking lot with the mall. And several years ago, this con outgrew that space and moved to the Holiday Inn where I believe this is the third year.

It’s hosted by Comics and Friends, a comic shop in the Great Lakes Mall that I sure as heck wish had been around when I was a kid!

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With various things going on in my personal life, I wasn’t originally "sold" on attending. But when I found out that Dirk Manning was going to be there, I was "sold."

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Since the last time I’d seen him (at Fantasticon back in March), he’d put out The Adventures of Cthulhu Jr. and Dastardly Dirk #1…which I’ve been wanting to get (and ideally in person, at that!). So I snagged that, as well as Then It Was Dark, which is an anthology volume he’s got a story in. (I resisted Tales of Mr. Rhee as I backed a Kickstarter at a level that includes all the volumes of that series). And of course, signed, which is a fun bonus to getting these in-person!

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And for the first time since I’ve been catching him at conventions, I had stuff that I took with me to get signed!

Back in December 2017, at a sale at RuppsComics, I’d come across the first issue of Nightmare World #1 from Ape Entertainment and got that…easily a diamond in the rough! Of course, I couldn’t find the thing back in March, but had managed to in time for this convention. Very cool having this early edition of such an early issue.

And–fun to learn–Dirk showed me where one of the pieces in the issue is different from the final collected version due to a situation with the art that had to be redrawn. I’m pretty sure this is the first instance I have–specifically–of that sort of thing, and I really dig it! To be able to compare an original "version" with a redrawn version and see how they hold up against one another…a rare opportunity!

I also had my Kickstarter edition of the Nightmare World Omnibus, which even though I think it came with a signed bookplate, is not the same as getting the actual book signed in-person!

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Though I’ve meant to previously and didn’t, this time I finally got a photo of Dirk! He’s got quite a selection of stuff available, in multiple formats, and I love seeing his displays. Especially now, with Hope and Cthulhu Jr. included!

Sadly, in trying to be quick so as to not block an aisle or hold anyone up trying to get by…I did not properly frame the photo,cutting off part of the table, as well as Dirk‘s name from his banner…which otherwise is almost perfectly positioned!

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And along with the first photo of Dirk, got my first photo with him, as well!

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In my further wanderings, I came across the guys who do Canada Bear, which was quite cool–I’d already gotten the first two issues from Comic Heaven last year, and hadn’t realized that they had the third issue out already. They also had some prints, and I really liked this Thanos one, so ended up buying it along with the comic.

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I wasn’t all that impressed with the general comics or collected volumes selections at the con. Or at least, I wasn’t seeing much that would spur me to somewhat "randomly" buy something I wasn’t specifically "on the hunt" for. Nothing was matching or beating the selection and pricing I get regularly at Comic Heaven and Kenmore Komics, two stores that really set the standard for me.

But then I did find some bins with books $5 each or 5/$20 that actually had some "worthwhile" books–that is, not Marvel Premiere Edition hardcovers nor exclusively skinny 6-issue books. While $5 (or $4 with the bulk price) is not bad, it’s still not generally "worth it" to ME on "typical" Marvel paperbacks.

But then, when they’re these massive $35+ paperbacks for that $5, they’re absolutely worthwhile to me. And then with the "bulk" price…I got these for the price of any standard Marvel comic presently being published.

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Along with the paperbacks, on the way out there were some Heroclix figures on the freebie table, so I snagged Nebula…because why not?


lake_effect_comic_con_2018hAs said…I wasn’t originally "sold" on attending this convention, but ended up going because Dirk Manning was going to be there.

Though I wasn’t myself interested in many of the booths, I saw a lot of comics as well as comics-related stuff. I saw several costumes–though I was in and out/gone a couple hours before the cosplay stuff.

If I was on-point looking for pre-1990s comics, I’d’ve likely had my fill…but I wasn’t looking for single issues over 50 cents apiece.

I lucked out with my timing on getting to the hotel, and found an empty (and valid) parking spot just to the side of the building, so didn’t have too far to walk to get inside. No problem with getting in and paying for admission, and being directed to the convention space itself.

The overall space was a bit tight, and I’m glad I got there on the early side, as I hardly want to imagine much more of a crowd present, as I don’t tend to do well long-term with small spaces and lots of people. Getting around was fine for me as an able-bodied individual…I didn’t really look for and so couldn’t begin to say in terms of getting around as part of a group, or disability or such.

I do think this one’s outgrowing this space as well, at least as a casual/outside observer.

There was another convention in Akron on Sunday as well, but for where I’m at personally, I would not have made it out given the distance (and lack of Dirk). This Lake Effect convention was about as "local" as I could ask for, so ultimately as the comics person that I am, there’d have to be something really wrong for me to not actually go (even if I’d be in and out in 20 minutes).

It’s also quite cool to see the "community" in the space. I’m more of an "observer" than "active participant," so just "showing up"–especially by myself–is actually a fairly significant thing for me.

I don’t know if I’d quite use the word "fun" for myself for the con–but that’s COMPLETELY me and being quite the introvert. But I am glad that I went, and definitely look forward to the 2019 con!

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Halloween ComicFest 2017

Over the weekend, we had Halloween ComicFest. Basically like a Halloween-themed Free Comic Book Day with participating retailers. Same sorta thing–publishers put out specific comics that retailers can order, that are intended to be given away. Retailers, of course, can opt to do other stuff as well.

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Since I was not in costume, I was part of the crowd that qualified for picking 5 of the "free" issues. I’m definitely in a Thor mood lately, and Ghostbusters and The Tick caught my eye. I rounded it out with Darth Maul and Hellboy and the BPRD. I also snagged three "back issues" of Action Comics from the New 52-era (#s 37-39), which MIGHT leave me "only" missing #s 36 and 40 or so from that run, and thus effectively means I’m a mere 2 or so issues shy of having every issue of Action  Comics from #583 to #990!

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Along with the Halloween issues, Carol & John’s also had several bonus things to choose from with a purchase. I opted for the Thor by Walter Simonson vol. 1.

Later in the day after some non-comics personal stuff, I was able to stop by Comic Heaven, where I picked up Atomahawk #0 to try, and the fourth volume of Criminal (I think there are 7 volumes). I was also able to get the Walking Dead reprint of #1, Wizard World edition from 2013. Pretty nifty.


Thanks to a couple friends, I learned that Dollar General had some sort of pack of skeleton miniatures. Took some hunting (and finding multiple DG locations) but combined with figures I already had, I was able to take the following photo (done up meme-style at another friend’s suggestion).

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After all…this week (I believe) we get the first issue of a new (and this time weekly) TMNT/Ghostbusters comic series. And this would be a scenario (sorta) the Ghostbusters might just be able to help with, no?

Free Comic Book Day 2011

IMG_0454Today was the 10th annual Free Comic Book Day–a day that’s been organized in the comics community to celebrate comics, and provide a very specific event for comic shops to promote themselves and what comics have to offer. After all…maybe a sale will draw in some people, but a free comic will draw in more.

Offhand, I’m pretty sure I’ve been out to (a) comic shop(s) for all 10 years so far. The first two years I would have gone to JC’s Comic Stop in Toledo, OH. I really don’t remember any specifics from that one–I may have gone alone, though I suspect I at least had my friend Drew with me.

In 2003, I remember heading out with Drew for the 2nd annual event, and getting held up when we bumped into folks who needed some help setting up for a social event on-campus, though I’m pretty sure we just made it to the shop before they closed.

In 2004-2006 I would have gone to Sports ‘n More and probably Comic Heaven–alone, unfortunately–to snag whatever I snagged those years.

In 2007 I recall making the rounds of the comic shops with my friend Hillary. In 2008 we reprised the trip, with our friend Andrew along.

2009, went out to several shops with my friends Michael and Bridgett. In 2010 we had an abbreviated outing to a couple nearby shops.

This year, we were able to get our friend Earl into the mix, and made it out to 4 different shops in 4 cities.

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Favorites of Walt: The Comic Shops #5 – Comic Heaven

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Comic Heaven goes back almost to the beginning for me, my experience with comic stores and the "direct market."

This was a store that I discovered due to being in a plaza with an arcade friends and I would go to on occasion.

Yeah.

An arcade.

Back when we’d go out to these places with all these video game machines, get change from the dollar-changer, and play the games. Before the home gaming systems completely took over.

But that’s neither here nor there, overall.

Comic Heaven didn’t seem like much at the time, to me. It was "another comic store" among the many in the area. They’ve pretty much always had a solid selection of new comics, a very respectable back issue stock, as well as carrying the various collectible cards and games as well as action figures, t-shirts, and so on.

My initial love of this particular comic store was that they carried Spellfire (the old collectible card game based on the worlds of Dungeons & Dragons). I still remember buying booster packs there, and some of the great cards pulled from those.

This shop’s never had a discount program that I’m aware of; nor have they ever been my "primary" or "home" comic shop. Yet, they are one of the greatest, most stable comic shops I’ve known.

Locationally, they’re very easily accessible when I’m heading in to visit or leaving from a visit to my parents and where I grew up–making them often a "backup" shop–and as almost all comic shops vary on what they carry and quantities stocked, they often will have that elusive issue that I missed elsewhere…or they’ll have something simply not stocked elsewhere.

They have a large back issue stock, though I hardly ever look through it. Probably my favorite part of the store is their collected-edition stock. They have a decent-sized (though recently drastically-reduced) manga collection; a sizeable collection of Marvel and DC stock, as well as stuff from most other well-known publishers; hardback and paperback.

There’s also a bargain section of the store with clearanced gaming supplies and books, several 50-cent/dollar bins, and a small selection of half-off collected editions.

Other than actual gaming stores, Comic Heaven has THE best selection of gaming miniatures I can think of. The collection is made up primarily of Warhammer (Fantasy & 40K), with a decent selection of Warmachine (though that seems almost halfhearted…but at least they carry it!), as well as Reaper/Dark Heaven minis, Battletech, and other misc. minis. They also carry quite a few of the Citadel paints.

There are a lotta memories I have associated with the shop. May not be my home/primary shop…but I’m extremely thankful to have them nearby and a fairly regular part of my comic-shopping routine.

NEXT WEEK: Ground Zero Comics.

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