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Archive for the ‘mid-ohio-con’ Category

OMG, u guyz!!!!!!!!111111

Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino (he of Jersey Shore “fame”) was to “write” a comic book about himself (actually, comics veteran Paul Jenkins is doing the real writing, which is sad on so many levels in and of itself). And it was supposed to debut at the big WizardWorld show in Chicago.

But guess what?

C-Bus totally nabbed this star from Chi-town!!!!

The comic—by Paul Jenkins, Talent Caldwell and Paul Mounts—was to debut at next weekend’s Chicago Comic Con Wizard World Convention. But sadly, neither Sitch nor the comics will be on hand. According to Wizard spokesman Jerry Milani, the book will be debuting at Mid Ohio instead.

So, you know, if you were on the fence about going to MOC…

Well, in the case of Wizard World’s Mid-Ohio-Con, their SEC filing reveals that:

“The production cost of the 2011 Mid-Ohio Comic Con was approximately $160,000, which we funded out of existing cash and cash flow from our Company’s operations and proceeds from ticket sales and exhibitor sales prior to the event.”

So Gareb Shamus was removed as CEO of Wizard a few months ago. Now, the company’s executive chairman is talking about repairing some of the damage, and the poor reputation of the Wizard brand.

“In an interview with The Beat, Wizard’s executive chairman Mike Mathews revealed that a new era has already begun at Wizard World, which will include outreach to the entire industry in a move to repair damaged relationships with both other industry players and fans.


“Gareb is one of these types of personalities who has taken strong positions over the years with various people in the industry and brands. And that kind of hurt us because of where we are trying to go—we’re trying to be a Switzerland of entertainment and we want to try to try to reach out to brands.” Accordingly, Mathews and other Wizard personnel are in the process of reaching out to industry players, dealers, and vendors and attempting to mend fences…”


Via The Beat, which looks at their SEC filings.

Consideration: Wizard will pay total consideration of $77,500 for the Transaction comprised of an Initial Purchase Price of $60,000 and a 5-year consulting agreement with GCX for $3,500 per year payable in annual installments commencing in the year after the $60,000 Initial Purchase Price has been paid in full. The $60,000 purchase price will be paid out based on an annual royalty from Wizard’s revenue from Artist Alley/Creators’ Common tables, Exhibitor Booths, Sponsorship and related revenue streams (collectively “Exhibitor Revenue”) from Mid-Ohio-Con. For the avoidance of doubt, GCX will not be entitled to any revenue royalty related to box office ticket sales or merchandise sales.

Hey, sounds great. I’d love to sell my con for $77,500 too!

Wait, what’s that? That’s not a lump sum cash payment? But I still get $60,000 right off the bat, right? No? Oh, I see, “The $60,000 purchase price will be paid out based on an annual royalty from Wizard’s revenue from Artist Alley/Creators’ Common tables, Exhibitor Booths, Sponsorship and related revenue streams…”

Well, there’s still the $3,500/year consulting fee I get, right? Wait, what do you mean I only get that after the $60,000 “purchase price” has been paid. That thing’s based on royalties from table and booth fees, and there’s no guarantee how much that will be each year….

Oh, right. Nice work, Wizard lawyers. Well played.

Not to contradict Dara’s Mid-Ohio Con beef, but this weekend’s Mid-Ohio Con was seriously the best show I’ve ever had in my life.

I have never seen so much foot traffic, and I’ve never had so many sales. It’s true, with the higher table price, I did not make my table. But compared to previous years it was about comparable.

For one thing, Wizard showed a baseline competence in marketing. Remember that year we sent out a press release about the pre-show party, and the Dispatch called us to ask why MOC didn’t send out its own release? That didn’t happen this year. MOC was on the front of the Other Paper, was featured in the Weekender, and I think Adam West spoke to Channel 4. Adam West’s job was to get people in the door, and he did it.

We talked to several people who were attending the convention for the first time. I don’t care that some people got in with a Groupon. That meant they had more money to spend with me.

It is also true that we were stuck in the back corner, and I know of at least three people who were there and never found me. But, I think the quieter setting made it easier for us to capture the foot traffic. I think I had an easier time getting people’s attention, even if we were right next to the Mandalorian dress-up club.

Should they have invited Dara and Sean McKeever? Definitely. Could they have used more space? Sure, although “too many people” is a good problem to have. Prices too high? Absolutely, although judging by reports of price cuts, they may be learning that.

All I can say is I personally had a good show, and (if I can afford it) I’ll be back next year.

That is, according to its new owner:

“It is the third-oldest comic convention,” said Gareb Shamus, CEO of Wizard World, which is taking over the event. “It is near and dear to my heart.”

In fact, Shamus said he considers only the San Diego Comic Con and the Chicago Comic Con to be more influential than Columbus’s.

Did you catch that? This show is near and dear to his heart.

You guys already know how I feel about Wizard, so I’ll just post the above without any further comment.

Panel 18 debuts at the Mid Ohio Con of Wizards… which starts right… now. It can be yours for $3. We’ve got page numbers! Go get your hot lil’ hands on this anthology at Andy B’s and or Tony G’s table. Missed the Groupon $10 deal on tickets? No worries. If you didn’t hit the blood bank for admission money,  the anthology will soon find it’s way into local shops so keep your eyes peeled. As always thanks for supporting small press and remember Panel loves you. Hard.

You’re on my turf now, nerds! Let me show you around. Got specific requests? Hit me up on Twitter, @tonygoins

Pre-Mid Ohio Con Party: That’s at Packrat Comics out in Hilliard, going on until 11:30 p.m. tonight. They’re also running a shuttle service from THE HYATT AND HAMPTON INN main entrance every 30 minutes, starting at 6:30 p.m.

Packrat Comics 

3872 Lattimer Street
Hilliard, OH 43026

Google Maps http://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&num=10&ie=UTF8&q=pack+rat+comics&fb=1&gl=us&hq=pack+rat+comics&hnear=0x883889c1b990de71:0xe43266f8cfb1b533,Columbus,+OH&view=map&cid=6410232749100972516&iwloc=A&ved=0CDUQpQY&sa=X&ei=QMWhTsSJI4iCNKKmqMQI

Where you Are

You’re in the Short North district, which is one of the cooler areas around here. High Street is the big north-south drag, and it runs in front of the Convention Center.

Bars: I have nothing against the hotel bar, but if you want to venture out, here are some recommendations:

Across the street is Barley’s, which is chill and they serve their own microbrewed beer. Also across the street is Knead — I’ve never been there at night, but during the day they have housemade twinkies. Believe it. MoJoe lounge (just north of the center) is pretty cool, too.

South of the convention center there’s not much, but if you want to walk four blocks you’ll find Elevator and Barrio, which are a little fancy but still chill.

If you want to venture north of the convention center, I’d recommend Press Grill and Short North Tavern. But really, if you can walk a mile, I’d recommend

* Surly Girl Saloon: 1126 N. High – if Suicide Girls were a bar. 

*Barrel 44: 1120 N. High – Whiskey. Lots of whiskey.

* North Star Cafe: 951 N. High St – Lots of fresh, lots of vegetarian, extremely super chocolately cookies and housemade ginger ale. www.thenorthstarcafe.com/

*Tip Top Kitchen: 73 E. Gay St – Fresh local food, and Ohio-themed cocktails. Have an Alex P. Keaton for me.

Getting Around: Don’t be afraid of the bicycle cabs, they’re here for you.

And the No. 1 bus runs up and down High Street until midnight, and the No. 21 “Night Owl” runs until 2:30 a.m. That’s $1.75 one-way, $4 for a day pass. Either of those will take you to anything I just mentioned.

White Castle: It’s at 965 North High St. Now that I’ve mentioned it, you can’t not do it.

click to embiggen

Nightclubs: I haven’t done a lot of dancing since we got the baby, but here’s what I know:

Ravari Room is having its Heaven vs. Hell pre-Halloween party Saturday night. I’m personally going to try to make that one. That’s 2661 N. High St.

Outland on Liberty was the longtime goth club here, but it has some competition these days. That’s south of you in the Brewery District (ask your cab driver)

Shrunken Head has Communion (gothwave-industrial-darkalt-synthpop) on Fridays. 

Long Street used to be the big dance club, and it seems to be coming back.

Gay dance clubs nearby are Wall Street (a mile or two south) and Axis (about 6 blocks north, back behind the smoothie shop). I used to love me some Wall Street back in the day (2004).

Park Street area: Just west of the Convention Center is all the Park Street bars. I can’t vouch for them, and they seem a little douchey. Don’t come crying to me if some jock throws you into a locker and takes your lunch money.

Found this helpful? Stop by and say hi to me, Molly and Craig at table 1325, and Andy over at table 801.


Well, well, well, look what showed up in the mail today:

Oh, so they do have me on their mailing list. That’s nice.

By the way, want to see all the big name comic book creators who are featured on the front of the postcard? You know, the postcard advertising the Mid-Ohio Comic Con?

That’s right, only Jeff Smith. Only 1 out of the 9 pictured featured guests is an actual comic book creator.

Oh, and if you want the affordable $40 2-day ticket, you’d better hurry. Because as the card says, “pay more at the door.”

(By the way, there’s an update here.)

Last year, my hometown comics convention, Mid-Ohio-Con, celebrated its 30th anniversary. Sadly, that was also the year that the independent show was acquired by Wizard World conventions. Almost immediately, comic creators and fans of the venerable show took to Facebook and Twitter to lament the passing of an era. Like any other long-running comic con, it had its share of ups and downs, but at the end of the day, MOC was always a fun show to attend, never too crowded or too “Hollywood,” where guests were easily accessible to fans, and the atmosphere was relaxed and congenial.


(Above: a couple of the earliest sketches in my con sketch book, acquired at Mid-Ohio-Con. Typhoid Mary by John Romita, Jr. (1990) and Beanworld by Larry Marder (1993).


MOC was the first comic con I ever attended as a fan, starting sometime in the late 80s, 1988 maybe? I know it was when it still hadn’t moved to Columbus. And I’ve been attending the show as a comics fan for over 20 years. As a creator, I’ve had a table at the show since 2002. Coupled with Columbus’ own indie/small press show in the spring, S.P.A.C.E., these 2 shows are more than just comic cons to me. They’re institutions, traditions. They’re a chance to meet old friends, respected creators, and new fans. Colorist Matt Webb and I used to get together for a drink every year he was there. I looked forward to catching up with fellow Columbusites Sean McKeever, Darryl Banks, and Chris Sprouse at the show, and going out to dinner with my fellow PANEL Collective members and new friends after the show. The pre-con parties that used to be sponsored by my local store, The Laughing Ogre, were legendary. Free beer, food, entertainment, and a chance to mingle with creators in a fun environment. What a blast!

I remember the first time my young daughter attended the show on my guest badge, dressed up as Batgirl. Or the time before that when a life-sized remote controlled R2D2 chased her around the convention floor, much to her delight. Having slowly built up my profile as a writer over the last several years, I can’t explain the sheer joy and appreciation I felt when folks would seek me out at MOC and ask what new books I had out since the previous year. The first time I was invited to participate as a comics pro on a panel was at MOC.


(Above: Mid-Ohio-Con 2002, my first year attending as a creator, not just a fan (yes, I had green hair). Also my table at MOC ’03 (or maybe it was ’04?) This is when the con was at the Hilton at Easton Town Center)


Several years ago, the con’s long-time showrunner, the personable and accessible Roger Price, sold the show to James Henry and his brother. The con had been struggling for a few years by this point, but I feel that the Henry brothers did an admirable job of trying to turn things around. Certainly, they were very open to working with local creators and the Columbus community, and were especially fair and generous with me.

But that’s all in the past, as this year, it’s a different story. Sure, Wizard World retained the Mid-Ohio-Con name, but that’s just window dressing. The guts of the show are now all Wizard World, and everything that entails. Just Google Wizard World conventions and see what folks have to say about the infamous Gareb Shamus’ low-rent outfit.


(Above: me and the PANEL crew on a small press panel, I believe at MOC 2006. And my booth at MOC 2008, when it had moved back down to the Greater Columbus Convention Center.)


I debated whether to apply for a table or not. An artist alley table which used to cost $125, is now $200. Yes, a 60% increase. And attending the show as a fan will also cost you a lot more this year. For the past 3 years, I had been comped a table at the show. So after hearing from other creators that they were offered free tables, I broke down and decided to contact the new organizers. In my email, I introduced myself and my history with the show (20+ years attending, 9 years tabling as a creator, 4 years organizing/sponsoring a pre-con party, volunteering for con programing as both moderator and panel guest, etc.), listed my credits (Image, IDW, DC, etc.), listed my upcoming projects (Dark Horse Presents, CBLDF Liberty Annual), and asked if they would be willing to provide a comp table. Their answer?

“Unfortunately, we have no more comp tables available for Mid-Ohio. If you would like to attend tables are $200. See artist alley form attached.”

Now, I completely understand my place in the “hot celebrity guests” pecking order. I know I’m not a main draw like Bill Sienkiewicz or Jeff Smith. And I’m not saying I automatically deserve a free table. But at the same time, I’m not some Joe Shmoe off the street whose only contribution is selling photocopied “prints” of copyrighted Marvel & DC characters. I’ve got a body of work that I’ve been building for the past 10 years, including high profile properties like Ghostbusters and Terminator, as well as creator-owned books and small press publications. And I’m a local Columbus guy who has been been supporting and promoting this show for a very, very long time. To go from being comped a table for the past several years to being summarily rejected with a one-sentence form letter response stung a little, to put it mildly.

So I waited a few days to think about it, and not say or do anything rash. And I contacted Wizard World back and explained that while disappointed, I was still interested in having a presence at the show, especially since I have a story in this year’s CBLDF benefit book and have been invited to sign at the CBLDF booth to raise money for the fund. All I was asking for was a measly guest badge to the show. Again:

“If you would like to attend as a professional pro passes are $25 for the weekend with a valid business card.”

That’s right, at a Wizard World show, comics professionals are treated to an amazing discount of 26% off the advance price tickets. Incidentally, as a means of comparison, I’m attending the NYCC show in New York as a professional, and their pro badges cost a mere $10 compared to the regular $85 advance price. For those of you who don’t want to do the math, that’s an 88% discount for a 4-day show that features a couple hundred more guests than MOC, and boasts major publishers, etc.


(Above: Unmasked party, 2006 & 2007. Live music by Poop House Reilly.)


And again, I  understand that Wizard World has a business to run. But I find my treatment a bit puzzling, and very frustrating, given my long association with the con. Doubly so, in light of reports such as this one on The Beat that shows WW comping all sorts of creators:

“In recent months, Wizard has also been reaching out to pretty much every cartoonist on earth to invite them to be guests at their shows. The basic invite includes a table but no travel or hotel room…Yesterday there was evidence of Wizard taking it to a whole new level, as indie cartoonists were tweeting about their own Wizard invites.”


“[Brian] Harbin further tweeted that his invite was particular surprising given past history: ‘Back when I ran HeroesCon, there was a ton of bad blood between us. They’re dicks. So I was like ??? at the invite. …Well, I don’t bear them super ill will or anything. I’m tempted to email back and ask for a plane ticket/hotel room.’

I don’t know, maybe WW somehow forgot about me. I mean, I’ve only been on the MOC mailing list for 20+ years, and their guest list for 9.

Seriously, what’s the point of going around and buying up regional shows, when you’re not going to make the slightest attempt to build any sort of relationship with the community and the show’s long time advocates? As you can see from the canned replies above, there was zero effort and zero interest on their part in engaging me in conversation or trying to work out some sort of a deal. Not even a nominal, token one. Nothing. Thanks for contacting us, here’s our website where you can pay us your money, good bye.

(Above: posters from 4 years of “Unmasked,” the pre Mid-Ohio-Con party organized by me, with a ton of help from my friends in the PANEL collective. Artwork by Tom Williams and Andy Bennett.)


So ok, I should just let it go and take the high road. After all, it’s just a comic convention. But you know what? It’s a comic convention that means something to me. And being dismissed in this manner sucks, and bothers me a great deal, and just validates every crappy thing I’ve ever heard or read about how Wizard World runs a con or treats fans.

So this is the part where, despite my better judgment, I lapse into an unprofessional rant. I know I shouldn’t, but screw it. Not only will I never pay money out of my own pocket to attend Mid-Ohio-Con, or any Wizard World convention, but Mid-Ohio-Con’s new corporate overlord can go fuck itself. And while we’re on the topic, Wizard World can take their precious Rob Liefeld, and has-been convention whore actors like Adam West and Burt Ward, and “celebrity” guests like William Holman (“Contestant – Bachelor Pad; The Bachelorette”…wow!) and shove them straight up its ass as well. I don’t wish for anyone to lose their job, especially in this economy, but when they day comes that Wizard World goes extinct the way of Gareb Shamus’ other much-maligned venture, I won’t shed a tear. The comics industry will be better off with a more progressive, responsive organization being in charge of regional conventions. We as creators deserve better, we as fans deserve better, and Columbus certainly deserves better.

RIP, Mid-Ohio-Con.

PS. For nostalgia’s sake, you can check out one of the longer con write-ups I did, for the 2005 show, here. And there’s a bunch of pictures from the first Unmasked pre-con party we (the PANEL collective) sponsored in 2006, after The Ogre stopped doing so, here.

Hey, wanna see me get my butt kicked at armwrestling? Panels on Pages has the video.

(I’m going to try to link the screen shot to the video, but if it doesn’t work, click here.)

In the picture, Gavin’s answering a cell phone call in the middle of the match, while my Panel clique looks on.

I pop up first at 5:22, then the match is on at 11:37. Their coverage of the costume contest starts at 9:05, with the Ghostbusters family at 9:40.

As you recall, PoP! Arm Wrestling Champion and PoP! Beard Champion The American Daydream Big Gavin Cool challenged all the talent on hand at Mid-Ohio-Con to exhibition arm-wrestling matches. I had to answer the challenge.

Crap on a stick.

So, probably a fair bet that artist alley tables will be jacked up to $200. But hey, you get a lot for your money because Wizard didn’t waste any time booking some fantastic comic book guests:

Wizard World Mid-Ohio Comic Con announced its first slate of guests for 2011, which includes Batman stars Adam West and Burt Ward as well as fan-favorite Image Comics creator Rob Liefeld.

Oh boy, I can’t wait for my $50 photo with Adam West, and to see what new Deadpool, Youngblood and/or Bible related project Liefeld will be hocking character designs for, before turning it over to one of his many clone artists and then losing interest like a 5 year old ADD kid, as the project fades into obscurity after 2 issues, the grand vision of a monthly run never realized.

Yeah, it’ll be awesome.

Make that X-TREME!!!!

Another year, another Mid-Ohio-Con. You know what that means, right? It’s time once again for the Bankies! First suggested by PANELista Tony Goins, and named after Jason Lee’s character in Mallrats, the Bankies are our random awards for various and sundry aspects of comic book conventions. Contributors this year include myself, Tony, Tom Williams, Andy Bennett, Brent Bowman, and Craig Bogart.

Ladies and gentlemen, The Bankies:

  • Charlie Sheen Award for Sexist Jackass of the Show – goes to one of the guys (incidentally, the one who was the more overweight and less shaven of the two) running the booth next to me that was selling a comic collector-type product, who kept getting attractive female cosplayers to pose for photos in front of his booth, holding his product like a Price Is Right model. To make it even creepier, he went into full-on amateur photographer mode, instructing them where to stand, how to pose, etc. Bonus: bragging about the “hot chick into comics” that he dated back in high school. Right. To borrow a phrase straight out of comics: “an imaginary story…”
  • Charlie Sheen’s Ex-wives Award for Exploited Women – to the attractive female cosplayers who were either a) dumb enough to fall for this a-hole’s shtick, or b) vain/insecure enough to go along with it.
  • Zombies Are The New Black Award – zombie costumes outnumbered Storm Trooper costumes 2 to 1 this year.
  • Zombies Are The New Black Award, part 2 – goes to the female zombie who was completely in character, and extra special scary. So much so that she scarred the crap out of a 6 year old boy and sent him running and screaming to his dad.
  • Return of the Living Dead Award – goes to a fan who brought me a copy of my Zombies: Hunters #1 mini-series to sign. Not only did I not think anyone bought that book (heck, IDW cancelled it after issue #1), but I was pleasantly surprised to find out he had really enjoyed it and had been looking for the other non-existent issues.
  • The Stanislavsky award for Method Acting – goes to the man dressed as Captain Jack Sparrow, who never broke character—on OR off the show floor, even to the point of maintaining the swaggering, hysterical feyness throughout the Arena District night spots.
  • The Police Blotter “That’s Criminal” Award – goes to the fact that indie great Matt Wagner’s table was devoid of fans the few times I walked by. Seriously? Here’s a guy who created Grendel and Mage, wrote and drew mini-series for DC featuring Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman, and has Vertigo titles under his belt, including Sandman Mystery Theater and the currently-running Madame Xanadu. I guess the kids are too busy reading Avengers: Scranton, PA.
  • Columbus’ Favorite Son…er, Daughter Award – goes to local Lora Innes, the talented cartoonist behind the historical fiction hit The Dreamer. She not only had a busy show, but was also featured in a 614 Magazine article, and on one of our local morning shows. Congrats, Lora!
  • Trying Our best to Dash Your Dreams Award – goes to the “Breaking into Comics” panel moderated by yours truly (Dara Naraghi) and featuring Sean McKeever, Bryan J. L. Glass, Marc Sumerak, and Khoi Pham. We talked about some of the ins and outs of the comics biz, answered questions, and offered some advice based on our own experiences. But mostly, we tried to paint a bleak picture of the industry, in the hopes of keeping some of these young upstarts from gunning after our jobs. (I keed, I keed!)
  • Big Lots Discount Store Award – goes to the return of not only 25 cent comic book boxes, but also 10 cent bins! Holy buyer’s market, Batman!
  • I don’t have any overarching thoughts for Mid-Ohio Con, but here are some random ones:

    1. I felt like the quality of cosplay was down a little bit. Except for Capt. Jack Sparrow, that shit was inspired.

    2. I often make fun of the cosplayers, but shoot, those people look like they’re having tons of fun. Probably more fun than I am.

    3. I bought three comics at $3 apiece, and everything else was $1 or less. If you’re not following any current storylines, comics can be a pretty cheap hobby.

    4. I was happy to see the Arsenic Lullaby guy. I followed him religiously (wrong choice of words) when I first got into indie comics, but I hadn’t seen him in a few years.

    5. I generally didn’t pick up many indies, and then only from people I know and like. It’s hard out there for an indie.

    6. Selling indie comics is extremely labor-intensive. I don’t think I sold to anyone unless I hollered out to them, brought them to the table, and made them listen to my pitch. I can’t wait for the day when someone recognizes me and comes up to see if I have anything new.

    7. I keep thinking this is the year I’ll keep in touch with people I met at conventions. I reckon it’s mid-November, so I still have some time.

    8. Armwrestling Gavin Naught from Panels on Pages was fun, even if it didn’t garner me any sales, and even if I lost. With both arms.

    9. I tweeted out some brunch recommendations yesterday morning. I may have sent some nerds into gay bars, but whatev. Gay bars have good brunch.

    10. Here’s what weirds me out about selling indie comics, even after all these years: You get all of these people who want to do it, and talk to you like you have some special knowledge of it. I really don’t. I just – with the help of my Panel clique – started doing it. That’s all there is.

    11. Note to self: Next time, do not harass Tony Isabella. He was cool about it (he’s Tony Isabella), but still.

    The fine folks at Packrat Comics are once again hosting a pre-show party. Here are the details:

    Packrat Comics will host the annual Mid-Ohio-Con Kick Off party this Friday, November 5th from 7:00 PM to 11:00 PM. Packrat will provide limo service to and from the Greater Columbus Convention Center along with food, drinks and some musical entertainment, which may or may not include the musical stylings of one Ethan Van Sciver! Packrat Comics strives to make this part a comfortable atmosphere where creators and fans without the lines or tables between them and there is no pressure for artwork or signatures.

    Packrat Comics is located at 3872 Lattimer Street, Hilliard, OH 43026. Give them a call at (614) 527-8450 or drop by their website for more details.


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