I was spoiled because of my 40th birthday last year and enjoyed a week at the San Diego Comic Con. This year, however, with a reno looming, I was looking for a cheaper and closer option. Narrowing down the options, I had to choose between Chicago’s C2E2 and the Boston Comic Con. C2E2 conflicted with Toronto’s Wizard World so Boston was the choice. My buddy John and I packed up the car last Friday and headed East.
After a 10 hour road trip the previous day, we were happy for the short commute into downtown Boston on Saturday morning. Although we were still laughing at how the US border guard had grilled us about the show and even had us open the trunk to inspect our comic books! Turned out he was a bit of a collector himself and really liked the old EC hardcover reprints. Parking was pricier than Toronto at $27US. But, it was across the street from the Hynes Convention Center and we had a lot of hardcover comic books to get signed. There was a good sized line up about an hour before the show opened up.
Cleverly, they split up the link into non-ticket holder and ticket holder. And for the ticket holder line-up, they marched down the line and scanned the tickets and distributed wrist bands. Fan Expo could learn a lot from this tactic. At 10am, the doors open and everyone in the ticket holder line walked right in showing their wrists bands. A simple thing but yet so effective.
Then we moved over a few tables to another living legend, Al Feldstein, the creative force beyind EC Comics. The other guests of the show ranged from modern (Cliff Chiang, Francis Manipul, Steve Epting, Clayton Crain) to the 1970s and 80s talent (Bob Layton, Bill Sienkiewicz, Michael Golden, Kevin Eastman and Bernie Wrighton). Kevin Eastman had the longest line-up of the show as he was doing free sketches whenever he was beyond his table. The line-up actually grew so long, that they moved his table out into the hallway.
The last signature we need was from Tim Sale. It turned out that he had coming in on a red-eye flight and got to his table late. When he got to his table, he started sketching and refused to do any signing until 6pm that afternoon. Despite only having one item to sign (the Absolute Edition of Batman: Long Halloween), his handlers adamantly refused us. As paying fans (paying to attend the con and buying his books), I believe we deserved a bit more respect. We would have patiently waited for him to take a break from sketching for him to sign. But, being told to come back 5 hours later is rude. The convention is for the fans and a sketch list shouldn’t get in the way of meeting fans, let along leaving them with a lasting impression.
The small venue had a comfortable, intimate feeling, especially since it was focus exclusively on comic books, not the broad array of themes like Fan Expo or Wizard World. A solid show with a legendary guest list well worth the hours in the car!