Tuesday, July 25, 2023

Animated Events: Capital City Comic Con

Well, C4 has come and gone. As I was running a tabletop miniatures wargame at a local store, I didn't get to be there as long as I would have liked on Saturday but the time I was at the con over the whole weekend was time well spent.

Back in the day, like 2002-2004, two gentlemen ran a local gaming convention called "Foundation". My brother and I would run wargames at the con and for those two years we were a top draw with some showcase events like tournaments, how-to-play events, and a paint-and-take table. Well, sadly Foundation came to an end but years later one of them joined up with some other friends and started the Capital City Comic Con (C4).

I'll admit it, I really enjoy the convention experience: looking at the artwork, doing a little shopping, playing some demo games, but my favorite activity is attending panels and lectures to learn more about my field of study. There's just something special about being able to talk to people who are out there forging their own paths and willing to share their knowledge and experience.

This year, the two foreign comics panels were especially interesting. There's some fascinating history about comic books that you don't often hear about. The first panel was more about valuation, rarity, and pricing for the collectors market but the second was a more in-depth history of the foreign comic book market running back to around the 1930's and '40's up to the present day. It's probably due to a fair amount of myopia on my part, but I was surprised to see how the foreign market had a lot more nuance than just simple one-to-one translations of existing books. Apparently during the '70's, when Marvel was just trying to survive, it appeared that foreign writers and artists had a lot more freedom to make changes to the content of the books and covers. There were also changes made due to foreign censorship and sensibilities--and word translations that work in English but not in other languages.

One of the more interesting things I noted was how the German imprint for the Amazing Spider-Man was called "Die Spinne". Y'see, back in 1986, Marvel published the Spider-Man vs. Wolverine one-shot crossover with the "High Tide"storyline. In it, Peter Parker and Logan team up while in East Germany. As he didn't bring his black bodysuit, Peter has to buy a Spider-Man costume from a store. On the back of the outfit, in the middle of the spider logo, are the words "Die Spinne"--English translation: "the Spider". At the time, I was never able to figure out why it was there. And the suit actually showed up years later in another comic after Peter and Mary Jane got married. She moves into his loft apartment and they start paring down the extra costumes so she can have some room for her clothes. The first suit they pull out of the closet is the German suit from the crossover issue.

So, some thirty-plus years later, after learning about the German imprint of Amazing Spider-Man, why the suit from Spider-Man vs. Wolverine had the words "Die Spinne" printed on the back all made sense. And I have to admit that it was a pretty neat Easter egg at the time for all of those in the know back then.

Another standout for me over the weekend was the indie comic production and self-publishing panels. These weren't as well attended as I they should have been, but the small numbers did lead to some very interesting interactions between the crowd and panelists. In both panels, they were very interested in hearing about my animation work, as much as I was in their graphic design and publishing experience. Still, I would gladly have sacrificed some of that interaction if it meant that more kids who want to get into comics would've been able to hear some of the great advice and experiences that the panelists were giving away.

Well, as with any convention nowadays, the cosplayers were out in force. I found one of the X-Men walking around: Cyclops, from the early 1990's--one of my favorite periods of time where Marvel was producing some of the best written, best drawn issues of the series; due in large part to folks like Chris Claremont, Mark Silvestri, and Jim Lee.

And you know you have to get a photo when you purchase a poster for Arcane and you walk around the corner just in time to come face-to-face with K/DA Ahri! As much as I love to see K/DA or True Damage characters from League of Legends, I have to admit that I'm a little crestfallen that I don't see more people cosplaying the characters from Arcane. You see Jinx and Vi every so often, but the costume design was so amazing, I'd love to see a Jayce or Mel Medarda walking around in formal outfits.

"I'll show you what I'm made of
Rise to the occasion
Got fears, but I face them, oh-oh"

While it's my policy to purchase something from a vendor or two and some art from the independent artists/writers if at all possible, I did stick to my budget for the con. Though I have some regrets when I saw some of the amazing artwork that was for sale at the silent auction. Think I'll set aside some extra cash during the year just to bid on an illustration or two next year. Or, maybe spring for the VIP ticket and attend the "Drink-and-Draw" event to do a little creating of my own.

"Yep, He is Groot!"

In the end, Capital City Comic Con is a great example of a local convention. With so much attention going to larger cons like Gen Con or San Diego Comic Con, it's refreshing to see local cons like C4 who are able to provide an excellent experience in our home towns. I'm already looking forward to next year (and planning out my budget).

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