I’ve covered my fair share of comic conventions for Game Industry News. Most of them are out of state and there is usually at least a four hour drive to each one. I’m based in the northern part of the mid-west, so there are quite a few big and mid-size cities around me, and thankfully, many of them have robust communities of gamers, cosplayers and comic book collectors. It’s more than enough to support several small, mid-size and even a few large conventions.
This time it was only a short two hour drive to Cleveland, Ohio to cover a show for me. The home of the Browns, Cavaliers and pretty much every other sports team that hasn’t won a championship in the past thirty years was in the area.
Last time I was in Cleveland, I got to witness the Green Bay Packers play the Browns and it was an amazing experience. This time around I got to attend a comic convention held at the American Legion post near NASA. Called the Cleveland Comic Con, its part of the group of shows put on by Jeff Harper of Jeff Harper Comics. He’s like the comic book god of the local area, and thanks to him, there are a lot of good shows all over the place. Suffice to say, the upper mid-west would be a lot duller without his efforts.
This time around, the convention was smaller than I expected. Granted this is after getting back from Fandomfest, where seventy thousand people showed up. Actually, getting back to a more intimate setting where you could actually stop and chat with vendors and local artists was kind of a nice change.
For the first time there no cosplayers in sight, and that was something I wasn’t used to seeing. While convention size and costumed people may not have been there, vendors were. I spent hours browsing the great selection there and even Jordan Smith, a fellow reviewer here at GIN who came along for the ride, bought his first two comics ever. A large part of Smith’s decision was due to the one-on-one time that the vendors were able to offer him, which again, was a nice change of pace from some of the busier shows. Myself, I tracked down a rare red foil edition version of Witchblade, unopened with the certificate of authenticity. Quite a nice little treasure, and it quickly went into my pack for safe keeping since it was being offered at a very reasonable price.
One has to really thank Harper for putting on all these shows. It really can’t be overstated how nice it is to bring comic books, games and geek-culture to smaller and mid-size cities. It exposes this world to people who don’t live in New York, San Diego, Baltimore or Atlanta. And that is a very good thing. Cleveland Comic Convention is a good event, and very inexpensive to get into, and both of those should endear the show to those in the Ohio area who don’t get to see too many big conventions come their way.
If you live near any of the conventions he puts on, you should consider attending. You will get your money’s worth for sure. You can check out the upcoming shows at the website: http://www.harpercomics.com/conventions.php