Saturday, November 5, 2011

The best little Comicon you've never heard of Is the NC Comicon.

The stars have aligned and this past year has manged to be my year of conventions. For the 1st time I managed to go to the Heros Convention in Charlotte and had a great time. Bought a few things,no real noteworthy books, hole fillers for my Tomb of Dracula run. I met Neal Adams and had him sign my Green Lantern #76. Had a delightful experience there and hope to return.

(FWIW - Sheldon Drum, the guy that puts that on does a fab job and hes super to talk to. In fact he sold me my Minty X-men 94 for $60 back when this book guided for about $50. I still have it!!)

I was also devious enough to plan our Family Summer trip to Chicago to coincide with the BIG Comicon they have there every year. That was too big for my tastes. SO overwhelming, it almost leaves you numb afterward. THAT was too much. I'm a simple country boy; wall to wall people creeped me out. When it was time to leave, I was kinda glad. (more on that)

By far, the Best Con experience of 2011 was the NC Comicon. It was close enough to the center of my universe that I could drive to it and not have to stay overnight in a hotel. (MONDO appealing) And Cons seem to be somewhat regionally priced, so things were more inline with my budget. Being in the South, things just felt cheaper closer to home. (Another BIG plus)

Upon arrival  took a general walk around to get the "lay o the land". There was something here for everyone. 1st stop: Men's room. While washing my hands I struck up a conversation with a dude who drove his son 150 miles from SC to attend this event. He was tired and cranky but overall being a good sport about it for his kid. Good for them. Good for them for making the trip that's nice to see.

What's that you don't like comics but like games? They had that. Check.

Artists Alley.
They had some notables there hawking their wares. But I'm an old school guy and this is the headliner and the guy I came to see. Howard Chaykin in the house..
Whats Shakin Chaykin?

While hard at work making sketches he had plenty of time to talk to fans and answer Questions. I asked him "When he watches "Mad Men" does he look at it and say: "Thats #$!!#@ American Century"! And he was like "You know, there's a story there...." he ALMOST wound up making an adaptation for the TV show.

He was good to talk to and graciously signed my Star Wars # 1 thru 4 and an Extra Star Wars #1 I had picked up for a very good friends birthday. My friend is into Star Wars more than comics. He recently showed me his Death Star play-set and Han Solo blaster from when he was a kid.
(Ladies this friend IS single for a nominal fee I can hook you up)

Signed I tell you..

They had more than you can stand. More than I could possibly describe. Golden, Silver Bronze and Modern. I picked up the following books here. I bought all of these from the fine folks at Tomorrows Treasures who made the trip down from NY to the show. I ran into them in Chicago and Charlotte and again here in Raleigh. I gave them a plug from the ChicagoCon. Richie and his wife are great folks to deal with. I couldn't recommend them more highly. You wont be sorry.

Unlike The Chicago Comicon, the NC Comicon did not rely on "Star Power" from Hollywood for a draw. The comics were front and center. The books are the main attraction and I found I liked that much better.

There were folks in costume and that's a kick for the kids and the casual Con 'goer. But It strikes me as just a tad creepy. Even if a lady can pull off a Ms Marvel costume, I'm disinclined to take a picture. If she happens to be 17, I don't need a hassle from the sheriff over a misunderstanding.

This Con had several interesting ones. I wish I had time to check the History and the intro to comics and grading.

Way back machine
I ran into a dude as a vendor that I had done some comics trading close to 20 years ago.
We reconnected and he introduced me to a couple of guys at the show who were local and interested to trade and swap. Score!!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

What I look for in a comic shop..

This entry was inspired by a recent post from: @TheNerdyBird

I have had some mixed results in finding a "Good" comic shop that has real satisfying staying power. Some of it is my own fault, I guess. I'm a bit of a flake.

I like a knowledgeable and friendly staff. I really dig being made to feel like my business matters. Being welcomed is an important feeling. 

I've been a regular customer in a shop where the clerk wouldn't have 3 words to say to me (a regular customer for YEARS) and was breaking his neck to talk to some other kid who just wandered in the shop. Like what I had to say didn't matter. Like he had me and didn't have to bother to try to keep me engaged and interested in trading with him. Very. Not. Cool. Left those guys and haven't looked back.

Then I moved around the country a bit; well, Southeast - and it seemed that when I would find a shop I liked, it would close or I would move again. Bad luck I reckon.

For that reason I had a hard time connecting with any shop. Afraid my business would be the Kiss Of Death and as soon as I let myself like them something would pull the rug out.

It took a while for me to get over this odd phobia. I found a place I could let myself like. They gave a nice discount on the new books. They were friendly personable and acted generally interested to have me around. The problem for me with them, was that I was into the OLD stuff. The new stuff was to read and have my finger on the pulse of what back issues might become the "hotness" dujour. To get any discount, price break or otherwise have some wiggle room to negotiate was completely out of the question unless the owner was there. Which didn't synch up with my schedule. Lost my mojo and willingness for dealing with them.

Then I found a new outfit. A bit of a further drive for me from the house but they offered a better discount level and someone was AROUND who could wheel and deal on the old stuff. I dint have to wait, rearrange my schedule or make a 2nd trip on a different day. Plus it was closer to work so I could drop in mid-week over lunch.

I liked this store MUCH better for a long while. They turned me on to new stuff I would not have otherwise tried. I bought tons of stuff from them OLD and new. The friction came when they found success and started opening other locations. They eventually designated a different store location in their Empire (further away from me) to be their "Back Issue" hub location.

I complained. Alot. I got mouthy. The owner finally had enough of it once I escalted it. I got tired of the lip service they they would "bring some stuff over soon". The owner told me that I didn't do enough business with them to be worth their hassle to continue to deal with and they booted me. Their right to do of course... but bad form.

At that time I was having a fair amount of success on ebay so it was no great loss. I culled my collection to only focus on the old stuff. All told, I feel better off and happier.

I do still have a serious Jones for back-issues that is unsatisfied. Ebay has gotten a little outrageous lately so I've cooled it on that front.

Moral of the story:
If you are a shop owner, have an accessible location (close proximity to me),  sell desirable Silver and Bronze Age material at a fair price, you cant help but have a customer for life.

Is that too much to ask? So far that would appear to be the case....