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Tidewater Comic Con Day 1


This weekend marked the 4th annual Tidewater Comic Con held in Virginia Beach. In the 4 years it has grown from an even held in a hotel room with 3000 attendees to an even that takes up the entire floor of the Virginia Beach Convention Center with an estimated 23,000 attendees last year.  It is billed as the largest comic convention in Virginia(not to shabby for one that is still in the toddler stages).  Like most conventions it is a mixture of Panels, comic book and other related sellers, artists and celebrities.  In past years stars such as Sam(Flash Gordon) Jones and Ernie Hudson(ghostbusters) have appeared along with such comic book artists as Mike Zeck(Marvels Secret Wars), Joe Rubinstein(wolverine creator) having graced Artist Alley.

The show floor plan is really well laid out, comic book companies and other sellers are “in the front” as soon as you enter the exhibition floor, with a full length “Artist Alley” and celebrity area in the back half.  While a lot of individuals spend most of their time browsing the sales(and there are a lot of stores represented), I ALWAYS make a beeline to Artist Alley because that is where the real heart of the convention is located.

This years “big” guest artist was Chris Clairmont(X-Men, New Mutants).  The line for fans wanting him to sign “anything” was always the longest.  Mr Clairmont, took the time to talk to every fan, and made sure it wasn’t simply a “move along” experience.  Seated next to him was Bob Mcloud(co-creator of the New Mutants). I had the chance to talk to Mr Mcloud, who is excited for the New Mutants Movie scheduled for next year.  Surprisingly he had not seen the trailer for the Cloak and Dagger TV series coming to Freeform(formerly ABC Family) next year. But he seemed genuinely surprise and interested in checking it out.

The biggest artist table belonged to DC Comics legend Neal Adams(batman). Neal had a ton of books, comic and poster artwork for sale.  My cohort Ashley Grant picked up 3 small prints(batman & Robin, Harley Quinn and a geekykool pencil sketch of Joker) for $60 all signed.  Neal even got me to smile(I never do).

Other Returnees in artist alley included Bill McKay(who Ashley got a quick interview with), Brian Lacy(who lives in the area, and has a new comic series out) and DC artist Jae Lee.  The artists all offer prints for sale, but also offer “on the spot” commissions for various prices.  Commissions are something that I have always found to be something rather Kool because it allows the fans to get something done by their favorite artist that is not mass produced.

I had the chance to chat with DC Comic Illustrator Tim Shinn, while he did a commission of a fun Star Trek/Green Lantern mashup cover consisting of Spock wearing all the Green Lantern Power Rings while exclaiming “the amount of power in these rings is fascinating”.  We picked up a “one off” pencil sketch of Batman and Joker done is Batman the animated series style(which is a rather rare find to say the least).  Tim even did a quick pencil and ink B/w commission for me to send to a friend who lives in CA.

This years celebrities had a decidedly DC flavor as the “original” Flash, John Wesley Shipp(who actually grew up in the area) was the main celebrity(he was scheduled for last years convention, but had to cancel, so he wanted to return this year to make up for it). Also in the celebrity area was Violet Beane(Jesse Quick on CW’s The Flash) and Jay Mewes(of Jay and Silent Bob fame).

I did not get a chance to venture up to any panels, as I was to busy talking to artists, and seeing friends at the convention.  I took plenty of cosplay photos(which should be up in another post….I sent them to Larry).  The con grows every year, and I am looking forward to what is in store for next years Con. The stars get bigger every year, the artists get friendlier every year, this is rapidly becoming a “destination Con” for the Mid Atlantic Region.

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