Wizard World Philly (WWP) had the misfortune of receiving the short end of the convention stick this weekend, with the popular Heroes Con in North Carolina happening at the same time. While there were Marvel and DC panels at WWP, there was no exhibitor presence. In fact, the only larger (not indie/alternative) publishers that exhibited were Dynamite, Aspen, Avatar, Terminal Press (with their strange porno/horror comics set up right across from the celebrity photo booth for some strange reason) and locally-based Zenescope . The majority of the exhibit hall was populated by comic and toy vendors, many offering deep discounts on older comics. Seriously deep discounts.
While it's not uncommon to see $1 and $2 boxes at comic conventions and shows, there were many vendors at WWP with 3/$1, 50-cent, and even 25-cent longboxes of older comics. Serious collectors, armed with lists, were cleaning up. There were also a fair amount of trade paperbacks for half price or even less. I picked up Gilbert Hernandez's SLOTH for $3, indie TROUPYDOOPS and HEARTBREAK collections for only $4, and the POWERS #6 trade for $4. Many people were walking away with foot-high piles of floppies for $20. I can only imagine that the discounts got bigger as the show closed on Sunday. Besides declining sales figures for new comics, I think this is a sure sign that there is trouble in the comics market In This Economy.
Unfortunately, I really didn't attend many of the panels this year at WWP. I caught Max Brooks on Friday, who was witty, erudite, and completely charming. On Saturday I sat in the somewhat awkward Q&A with Emma Caufield . The Q&A wasn't awkward because of EC, but because she was kind of left to flounder up on the stage on her own, with no introduction or moderator. I bolted the con shortly after her Q&A because I had some sort of sinus-related allergic reaction to who-knows-what: bad body odor,patchouli oil, or possibly the clouds of AXE body spray that seemed to hang over the crowds. Blurgh . While I do prefer people to bathe when they go to these events, they also need to learn not to bathe in cologne either. I barely made it home upright, tore off my clothes, put on jammies, downed some Benedryl and passed out for the next 15 hours. I was totally out of commission for Sunday.
As was the case with WWP 08, my few purchases came from the Artists Alley, where individual artists, creators, and a few self-publishers sell their work. Here were my find this year.
First, a print of a Young Ones poster by illustrator Scott Derby. This appeared the recent 80s Pop Show! art exhibit at Brave New Worlds. I was so happy to find this, because I had planned on buying the original piece, but it sold before I could get it. Now at least I have a copy.
I couldn't resist this print of Supergirl with Streaky the Supercat and Krypto the Superdog by Amanda Connor. I really like it when Supergirl is actually drawn as a girl (as in the limited-run Supergirl: Cosmic Adventures in the Eighth Grade), not some sort of hoochie.
Picked up some FanToon cards from illustrator Daniel Gorman - how could I pass up the 'bots from the Satellite of Love?
Finally, one small press purchase: Joe Loves Crappy Movies, combination comics/movie reviews.