Leaves are falling all around, it’s time I was on my way.
Thanks to you, I'm much obliged for such a pleasant stay.
Every fall starts off the same for me. October is my birthday month. I take the entire month because I’m an egotist and because I can. Then right around mid-November things get good.
North Carolina Comicon good I mean.
NC Comicon has gotten bigger and better than the first time I attended in 2012. The 2012 show was small, and fun with lots of comics to buy, lots of cosplayers, and a fair amount of comic creators. 2013 was bigger and had the added bonus of the film festival. We watched ’66 Batman on the big screen and laughed our asses off at every second of it. 2014 I had the distinct pleasure of being invited to be a part of the show. Deadpoolicorn set up a photo booth and got a cheesy Sears portrait studio backdrop to take Christmas card pictures as well as being a model for the Drink & Draw event and being invited to be on a cosplay panel. While last year was fun I was kinda stuck in my booth and didn’t get to do a whole lot of wandering around. I was new to the cosplay scene so I also didn’t have a lot of friends, but that year I made a slew of them posing for pictures with anyone and everyone who wanted to.
This year was incredible. This local community of cosplayers, and comic fanatics all gathered at
the Durham Convention Center for a new grand total of three days of comicon goodness. The
show put on by Ultimate Comics founder Alan Gill, comic artist Tommy Lee Edwards, and now
coordinated by comic writer Brockton McKinney was nothing short of phenomenal. The
atmosphere was electric and you could just tell the show was going to be amazing from the get
go. When I got there at 1pm on Friday the 13th I wandered up to the info desk to check in. My
panel team was getting weekend badges for doing our panel on Sunday so getting there early
and in before the crowds was definitely a plus. When the lovely Amanda Wehrwein greeted us,
she radioed to Brockton to find out about our badges and was replied to with a “Please
immediately have RJ escorted from the building”. Christ, I love Alan.
Without the crowds, I, along with my daughter Sam and Variant partner-in-crime, Holly, hit the
dealer room. Not even 20 minutes in had spent about $40 each. I found a Star Wars Black
Series Bossk figure I had been looking for and some Silver Age X-Men comics. Holly bought
prints (her Kryptonite) and Sam immediately saw and bought a crocheted Squirrel Girl from
Macabrochet’s booth. We decided now would be a great time to grab some pictures for the
website, so we started hitting booths and as Holly snapped away I made introductions and
handed out business cards. As we wandered around we ran into Gerard Way. You might have
heard of him from a comic called the Umbrella Academy or from a little band called My
Chemical Romance. He along with Charlie Adlard, artist of The Walking Dead comics were two
of the major guests this year and were both exclusive appearances to NC Comicon. That’s just
the way these guys roll though. NCCC wants to give its fans and attendees a more unique
experience than the rest of the conventions in the country. They want to get you the artists,
writers and celebrities that you CAN’T see anywhere else. Long story short we all got our
pictures taken with Gerard Way who was incredibly nice.
A couple of hours later I wandered down to where the costume contest was being judged so
Holly could inquire about what time her slot was going to be on Saturday. There I met Vintage
Jedi and Smash Cosplay who were the judges for the competition this year. They seemed to be
short a person so I asked where their third judge was. I had been asked at one point if I wanted
to help out with the judging but not knowing much about the contest or ever entering it
previously I didn’t think I would be helpful so I politely declined. Leaving their station I ran into
Alan and Brockton who immediately told me to get back there because they needed a third
judge and I was it. For the next two hours I got to hang out with those lovely ladies and check
out some of the costumes on deck for the contest Sunday. I gotta say it was really fun. I didn’t
think I would enjoy it as much as I did but any time they would like me back to help would be an
honor. The costumes I saw were amazing and I got some good experience in what to look for
and some insight into cosplay that I hadn’t seen before.
Saturday at NCCC is always the busiest and this year was no exception. I picked up a few more
Silver Age X-Men Comics and put in with Spider-Gwen/Squirrel-Girl artist Rico Renzi for a blank
cover commission of Deadpoolicorn. I got to talk to the ever awesome Afua Richardson who I
had made friends with at the 2014 show as well as Mike Perkins and Mitch Gerads artists of
Carnage and Punisher respectively. We met up with a ton of our cosplay friends and hung out
taking pictures and having a great time. John Penta showed up to shoot all the cosplayers as he
usually does every year, and, as usual, he killed it; taking a bajillion pictures of everyone and
anyone that was in costume or looking like they were having a good time. Saturday night was a
new addition to the NCCC lineup with the Guardians of the Gala dance at the Armory, which was pretty much like any 80’s high school dance I ever went to. The music was outstanding and everyone I saw was having an epic good time. It was a complete and total nerd prom complete with red carpet entrance pictures, dance-off, and tattoo contest. Hopefully they continue this amazing after-party for years to come as it seemed to me
to be a complete success.
Sunday was a pretty chill day. I got to the con early again as I wanted to hit some $1 comic
boxes and found a good amount of books on my pull list. I also picked up a Dazzler #33 with the
Bill Sienkiewicz Thriller cover, a Ms. Marvel #15 & 16 and some silver age Fantastic Four &
Avengers books at a great price. We hung out outside most of the morning as the weather was
warmer than it had been the past two days and grabbed something to eat from one of the food
trucks. Our panel was at 2:45 in the Armory and had a pretty good turnout. Holly was
moderating the panel afterwards so we stayed for that and then for the costume contest. The
cosplay showcase had a ton of great entries and everyone who won had busted their asses
making their costumes to do so.
All in all NCCC was a great show and successful in almost all regards. Their attendance capped
around 10,000 breaking all previous year records and I literally heard nothing bad about it from
anyone. I highly recommend this show to everyone within driving distance or just anyone who
wants to have a unique comicon experience. The amount of time and effort put in by the entire
team of NCCC shows that their brand of con goes well beyond any of the corporate big box
shows and brings convention going down to both a family oriented and financially attainable