Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Hall of Fame City hosts first comic book convention

CANTON, Ohio — Having been to two comic book conventions two Saturdays in a row on top of a loaded work week doing election previews and writing about some wild crime stories for the NORWALK REFLECTOR newspaper, I'm more than a bit behind in posting any photo galleries.

On Sept. 24, Canton hosted the first Hall of Fame City Comic Con, bringing in three big-name artists in the comics industry.

Most notable was Jim Steranko, who rarely does convention appearances. Also there were George Perez (AVENGERS, TEEN TITANS and WONDER WOMAN) and Howard Chaykin, whose work has focused on the sword-and-sorcery genre. Most notably, he also drew the first six issues of the original STAR WARS ongoing series for Marvel Comics (in other words, the adaptation of the 1977 film — my introduction to reading comics, as I remember it).

This Harley Quinn cosplayer is just adorable.
She was so tickled to have her picture taken —
even jumping up and down after I did!
CARY ASHBY/CARY'S COMICS CRAZE
Once again I was assisting Jamie "Phat Daddy" Stewart at his Phat Daddy's Comics table. I again was Big Daddy to his Phat Daddy.

We were on the same row as Steranko, whose line remained a minimum of 40 to 60 people deep throughout the day. To give you some perspective, the Phat Daddy's spot was two-thirds of the way down the row while Steranko's booth was at the far wall of the convention hall; his line for autographs regularly ended near our table. As the con wound down and the line was more manageable, Jamie got in line to get a couple Steranko Marvel promotional posters signed ($10 a pop!) — and was gone for about 90 minutes.

Steranko was in full Steranko beatnik mode, dressed in a black turtleneck and a gray blazer. Complete with sunglasses! Throughout the day he played 1960s jazz at his booth. Just too cool for school, man!

Chaykin's table was right across from Phat Daddy's. He had a steady line of fans — but nothing compared to Steranko and Perez.

As the HOF City Comic Con wound down, I took a few minutes to chat with Chaykin. He couldn't be any more down to earth. When I told him his STAR WARS adaptation got me started reading comics and how much I enjoyed his artwork (fans have trashed it over the years), he told me it has "terrorized" him for decades, calling it "a piece of s***." Chaykin, however, then said that's not to minimize its importance on fans like me. I love that perspective — and certainly his honesty!

A selfie with comic book legend Howard Chaykin —
bucket list, baby! Mission accomplished at this convention.
CARY ASHBY/CARY'S COMICS CRAZE 
One more Chaykin anecdote: I told him I appreciate it when celebrities are down to earth and approachable, noting he "puts his pants on just like the rest of us."

Chaykin's tongue-in-cheek response was hysterical: "Not me, man! I float in the air and have two ladies help me put them on." I was proud of my response: "I'm doing it wrong then!"

When I was loading comic book boxes at the very end, I noticed Perez conferring with an assistant at his booth. I should have taken the time and gone over and grabbed a selfie with him.

I'm positive I'll be at another convention with him, so next time, George!

Well, that's enough from me and my memories. Enjoy this gallery of the best cosplayers I saw …! Oh, and if you see yourself or a friend, let him or her know and send him here.

This is one of my favorite cosplays at the Hall of Fame City Comic Con. That guy's Joker makeup is spot on!
CARY ASHBY/CARY'S COMICS CRAZE
This Shaggy cosplayer talked like the cartoon character the entire day and each time he talked to a fan.
Talk about dedication! Or being downright nuts … When I apologized for adjusting the camera to snap this pic,
he said, "That's OK! I can do this all day." Something tells me I don't doubt it.
CARY ASHBY/CARY'S COMICS CRAZE
Cheesy pre-con selfie!
This is another cosplay I just loved. What dedication she had to fully commit with the blue body makeup.
My selfie with this very friendly Nightcrawler turned out too blurry for publication — darn it. Maybe I will see her again.
CARY ASHBY/CARY'S COMICS CRAZE
This young lady stayed in character when she came over to the Phat Daddy's Comics booth when she overheard me having a discussion about the mischaracterization of Superman in "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice." "I heard you were talking bad about my cousin," she said. Best random moment at the con!
She was with her girlfriend, who was dressed as Ginny from the HARRY POTTER books and movies. We ended up talking about Superman being introduced in Season 2 of "Supergirl."
CARY ASHBY/CARY'S COMICS CRAZE
Look for the second part of this photo gallery soon here on CCC! See you then. 

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