Monday, August 22, 2011

Smart Alex On the Road: Suitcase Con-tents

Okay, so I thought I'd run out of bad convention-related puns, but I was recently shown a video that absolutely rocked this Indiana Jones fan's world. It also got me thinking about the various souvenirs offered not just by merchants, but by the conventions themselves, or the unique sales and gifts artists may offer just for conventions.

Let's start with the free tables. A Memorial Day weekend spent in Missoula, Montana can net you a good haul of free sci-fi, fantasy, and horror books at MisCon, even at the end of the weekend when the table's relatively picked-over. The free table at Nampa, Idaho's Fandemonium practically overflowed with a variety of movie posters. Every convention with a free table seems to offer up something different, reflecting something of each convention's unique character.

Fandemonium also featured young aspiring manga artists giving out free, hand-drawn stickers. Chicago Comic Con also netted me a lot of free bookmarks, of which I seem to find myself in constant need, including one for the Explosive Comics Kickstarter project. Individual artists and merchants abounded with unique deals. Besides the raffle for original Dan Jurgens art, Heroes Fallen Studios offered free prints from Untold Stories from Iraq and Afghanistan to veterans who came by their table at Chicago Comic Con. I was also able to spot fantastic deals from the comic book retailers at Fandemonium and Chicago Comic Con. (Ungraded, readable 1940's issues of The Spirit for twenty dollars!) Star Wars Celebration has been well known over the years to offer limited edition toys for those willing to brave the lines, free finds for the sharp-eyed souvenir-hunter, and some of the best costume contest prizes I've seen at any convention.

Some might think that after all the conventions from which I've returned with my suitcase much heavier, I'd be rather blase about more stuff, but Matt Busch's complete reference work of all things Indiana Jones on one poster has me geeking out on behalf of everyone who can get their hands on it at Adirondack ComicFest.

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