Thursday, August 18, 2011

Smart Alex On the Road: Con-flicting Schedules

Since I'm running out of bad puns, perhaps it would be best to take a break from the convention circuit for a little while and rest. Nonetheless, I was indeed presented with an interesting conflict- SpoCon and Chicago Comic Con occurred on the same weekend, and since I'm not Jamie Madrox and can only be one place at a time, I had to choose.

SpoCon offered the same coziness and familiar craziness I've come to enjoy about the smaller conventions, particularly those of the American Northwest. Though some of the faces, like that of the multitalented Tanglwyst de Holloway, were familiar to those who attended Fandemonium just the weekend before, SpoCon also featured some different offerings.

Moving the event to the Doubletree Hotel went over well with convention-goers, as did the greater emphasis on events for children. As always, the writers' workshop proved a source of sage advice for the aspiring author. Of course, that's to be expected when the likes of John Dalmas and Patricia Briggs attend. The inclusion of an actual writing contest provided further incentive to get involved. Congratulations especially go to Esther Jones, Scott Janke, Natalie Rogers, Greg Schneider, Margaret Lang, Kaye Thornburgh, and Brianna Harper.

Spokane also boasts an active and imaginative filk scene. I very strongly regretted not being able to listen to or participate in any of the informal jamming that took place there. Thankfully, Chicago Comic Con had...

Ethan Van Sciver, almost as famous (or notorious, depending on your outlook) for his musical interludes as for his work with DC Comics. So it's not like we were left musically bereft in Illinois.

The masquerades and costume contests at both SpoCon and Wizard World Chicago featured a variety of talent and much hilarity, but my favorite of both conventions has to be...


A whole murder of ghoulish characters also roamed both conventions, though the presence of Walking Dead cast members such as Norman Reedus and Mike Rooker seemed to attract a more substantial horde to Chicago.

Firefly fandom was also well represented with the Browncoats of various affiliations present at both. I have mentioned before the charitable work the Seattle Browncoats have done. Unfortunately, I did not get to spend as much time as I would have liked with their Chicago counterparts and learn more about what they were doing. However, a couple of tables down from them, Heroes Fallen Studios boasted a table full of copies of Untold Stories from Iraq and Afghanistan for purchase and original artwork donated by Dan Jurgens for raffle to benefit numerous veterans' organizations. They reported having a weekend full of fun, some tears shared with veterans or their families, and great success.

Now that I've finally returned safely to the middle of nowhere and recovered, I can safely say the same while I rest up and shift my gaze to upcoming conventions. Some interesting developments have cropped up about November's Adirondack Comic Fest, for instance. Valerie Finnigan, Clayton Murwin, and Michael Kellar will not appear there. On the other hand, John "Waki" Wycough and Chris "Batjeepster" Hollars have recently joined the list of those slated to attend. Stay tuned for more updates.

Also check here for Jeff McLelland's report and pictures from Baltimore Comic Con.

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