Who you Conning?

We made our way to St. Louis this past weekend for PROJECT: Comic Con at Westport.  A good time was had by many.  The exhibition portion filled two large areas and was generally well apportioned and laid out for the artists, retailers and other folks.  They also had a pair of breakout rooms for panels and presentations.

Organization seemed good.  And the place was full.  Not a lot of space in the aisles on Saturday.  Maybe some additional floor space next year.

So how was the Con?  A fair mix of artists, retailers, and exhibitors.  Plenty of folks on costume.  Featured guests from the biz.  Energy drinks.  So what else do you need?

How about comic books for kids.  I spent close to two hours going through long boxes with the specific goal of picking out some comics for my two young readers.  The problem, of course, is that the vast majority of books are PG-13 or above and cater to guys like me (who were fans in our youth and have now become the chief consumers of comics).  It’s a sustainability problem that will continue to threaten the comics industry, so I guess I shouldn’t be surprised.

Did find a Power Pack Classic trade paperback compiling the 80’s run of that kid-themed Marvel supergroup.  Picked up a run of the The Clockwork Girl, which caught my daughter’s eye.  And that’s it.  Fortunately, one retailer had the gamut of leftovers from this year’s Free Comic Book Day, or we would have been pretty disappointed.

So here’s one for the Project Comic Con folks (and anyone else planning a small to mid-sized con):  Find a way to feature an area and some content for the kids.  Because there were a fair amount of children there with their families, and it was slim pickings.

As always, I picked up a few books from the artists alley folks trying to get their characters and concepts out for notice.  Grabbed Loop and Hoodie, by Adron Buske, Dan Cassity, and Travis Nuckols.  This is a web comic primarily, featuring a pair of magic-imbued grad students fighting the supernatural amidst one-liners and other mayhem.  I dug the cartoon art stylings, the setup, and all the geek references.  My daughter also liked it, including a Harry Potter joke or two.

Gargoyle by Moonlight is a more conventional, but still magic-themed superhero book by St. Louis based creators, Tim Bach and Brian Atkins.  Here we have the classic reluctant hero who transforms into a super-powered gargoyle every night to battle the forces of darkness.  The story has standard elements such as a distressed but plucky heroine, a mystic guide, and bwaa-ha-ha-ing arch villain.  The pacing and sequential storytelling is very effective, the artwork is clean and fits the theme quite nicely.  So to sum up:  this is the kind of book I’d pick up at my local store or at a con – especially if they had a run of 4-12 issues.  But like many small print books, they’ve done the single issue to gauge interest and get the book out there.  So here’s hoping they produce more issues.

I picked up a few runs of small-label books in the bargain bins – stuff anywhere from 4-10 years old I remembered but never quite got around to reading earlier.  And of course the big highlight for the fam:  the costume contest.

Now these folks are serious about their costuming – many of them spending long hours hand-crafting the gear for less-than-obvious characters.  Our kids just wanted to dress up and participate, and with our gear acquired from the Goodwill store to create a fairly conventional Batman/Batgirl combo, we weren’t exactly rules compliant.  But the kids had fun, and our friends there had their son decked out in an impressive home-assembled Doctor Strange costume, which took the honors for the kids division.

All in all, a fun day and a good experience at Project:  Comic Con.

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One thought on “Who you Conning?

  1. Hey Scott, thanks for the nice words about Loop & Hoodie. I definitely agree with you about the need for more kid-friendly content at this and other cons. There is some great stuff for the younger set available in comics, but it often gets lost amongst the adult fare. Please share those thoughts about a kid-centric area with con organizers.

    We’ve tried to make L&H accessible to a broad audience, looking to the cartoons we grew up with as a guide – fantasy action and silly fun that kids enjoy, with layers of humor, reference and character nuance for the adults. Glad you and your daughter liked it!

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