By Mackenzie Lambert:
Comic conventions have sprung up everywhere like a whack-a-mole game. There’s the famous San Diego Comic-Con. There’s the New York Comic-Con, as well as other Cons in Toronto, Phoenix, Orlando, Seattle, and Montreal. It only makes sense for Buffalo to have its own Comic-Con. Such was the case this past Sunday for the Official Buffalo Comic-Con, thanks in part to Buffalo’s own Emil J. Novak. And as for attending my first comic convention in nearly two decades, I figured why not go and support local artists and proprietors?
As a kid, I was a comic fan and fan of comic-related paraphernalia. I had the entire Marvel collector card sets from 1989 through 1991. Marvel’s What If series is still one of the best written comics I’ve read. I loved the Nintendo Marvel games at the time, yet such nostalgia was swiftly killed by watching the Angry Video Game Nerd. Only within the past few years, from reading Alan Moore and Robert Kirkman, have I gotten back into the comic book fold. The convention quickly became a home away from home.
Right off the bat, the costumes some of the patrons were sporting were head-turning. There was great super-heroic costume creations like Thor, Iron Man, The Penguin, and a youngster Indiana Jones. One that really caught my eye was the Ghostbuster costume with homemade, working lights Proton Pack. Call them what you will, but “dedicated” is the first word that comes to my mind.
While the comic books available were extensive, there were other hidden treasures to be found. The booth for Golden Age of Radio had MP3 CDs of radio programs, including Jimmy Durante, the BBC Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, and Monty Python precursor Beyond the Fringe. Actions figures were in abundance, including the holographic Super Naturals from my childhood. The centerpiece was the Captain America display that featured movies, action figures, comics, collectibles, and a replica of his pure Wakandan Vibranium shield.
It was interesting to meet some of the local writers and artists, as well as a chance to support their work. Peter Tarkulich was active in promoting Bardsworth, a comic that takes traditional fantasy elements and turns them on their heads. Jason Yungbluth was on-hand to promote the entertainingly unabashed Deep Fried, as seen in Buffalo’s The Beast. Finally being able to put a face to the name is one of the worthwhile aspects of comic book conventions.
Overall, the experience was fulfilling. I found some gifts for others as well as a chance to indulge in some retro entertainment with the entire radio series of The Shadow. There were some cool costumes to look at. At the Buffalo Comic-Con, or any Comic-Con, you never know what you’re going to see and what you’re going to walk away with.