Monday, April 4, 2016

Gem City Comic Con pics: Hanging with legends (Part 1 photo gallery)

DAYTON, Ohio — I knocked something off my fanboy bucket list Sunday at the 10th annual Gem City Comic Con: meeting writer Mark Waid.

Waid is one of, if not, the greatest active comic book writers. Many fans might know his name from the powerful DC Comics limited series KINGDOM COME, but like so many writers with long resumes, he's had a hand in penning the adventures of multiple DC and Marvel characters.

Presently, Waid is writing the ALL-NEW ALL-DIFFERENT AVENGERS title (CCC previewed it in September). When I told him I enjoyed the quirky take on The Avengers, Waid said he appreciated it, also saying he enjoys writing the series.

Another highly recommended Waid-written series is his run on DAREDEVIL, which I'd said in my CCC review is pure fun. Ironically, he told me he the artist on that series, Chris Samnee, is "a lot of fun" to work with.

While I fully acknowledged I was gushing, I told Waid I wasn't kissing up to him. His tongue-in-cheek response was priceless: "It's OK to kiss up."

Selfie time with artist Darryl Banks, whom I have seen
at nearly every comic book convention I've attended in the Ohio
and Michigan area since 2013. He is a very personable guy!
Waid gladly signed my dealer's lanyard and a small stack of newer comics he'd written that a Tennessee-based vendor wanted me to get autographed for him. (Alvin didn't want to overwhelm Waid, so he had me go over separately to get the comics signed in case the writer might scoff at being asked to do so many. In exchange, Alvin generously gave me a photographed promo poster.)

Waid didn't even blink an eye or question it at all; he signed them all free of charge. He also gladly let the assistant at his table take a picture of the two of us. (See below).

Give how much of a sport Waid was, I freely and gladly donated $5 to the Hero Initiative, a financial safety net for comics creators.

At Gem City, I had the pleasure and honor of chatting with artists Darryl Banks (who co-created Hal Jordan's evil alter-ego, Parallax, and is best known for his GREEN LANTERN run) and Joe Staton, who co-created Huntress (first known as Helena Bertinelli of Earth-2; the Huntress is now Helena Wayne in the current continuity).

Since I've seen Banks at seven or more conventions over the last three years, I thought it would be fine to request a "selfie." Not a problem!

It was a real treat to get to express to writer
extradorinaire Mark Waid how much I've enjoyed
his stories. What a classy guy!
Banks and Staton weren't the only big names at Gem City. Artist/inker Josef Rubinstein (who inked the 1982 four-issue WOLVERINE limited series) and inker John Beatty (who most notably inked Mike Zeck's pencils on CAPTAIN AMERICA) also were there in Dayton, Ohio.

While I didn't choose to speak to Rubinstein or Beatty, Staton had a big smile when I told him how much I enjoyed the Huntress back-up stories, both when they were published and when they finally got the trade-paperback treatment. He seemed genuinely pleased to know I was familiar with his connection to his most well-known creation.

What I'm getting at is class acts like Waid, Staton and Banks act the way comic book celebrities should at conventions.

If you're going to "ride the circuit" (as I like to say!), each and every celebrity — no matter how big or minor — then have a mandate to be kind and respectful with fans. After all, that's why they're at a con: to interact with fans, get their pictures taken, hear fans gush/geek out, share some laughs and talk shop. (And possibly get some coin/moolah in the process!)

Banks is always up to chat and talk shop. On Sunday, Waid and Staton were gracious in hearing from fans how much their work means to them. Needless to say, these guys handle fans the right way.

This Harley Quinn cosplayer was nice enough to pose for another photo
when I told her our first cell phone was too blurry.
And that's the way it should be.

But enough fan philosophy! Enjoy the following pictures from the Gem City Comic Con. Come back to CCC for another set of photos.

There's nothing like goofin' around with a cosplayer at a comic book convention.
But the question is: Would this Stormtrooper hit me even at point-blank range?! LOL
This Rey cosplayer broke out a wonderful smile after I showed her this photo.
That made me think she should smile like that even when she's posing.
Deadpool remains a favorite cosplaying choice.
This young lady was at the Gem City Comic Con
with her nephew and niece.

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