Monday, September 20, 2010

Cincinnati Comic Expo Report

I don't anyone who attended the Cincinnati Comic Expo who didn't have a great time. Thanks to organizer Andrew Satterfield and Matt Bredestege for a great inaugural show!

Mary and I pulled into Cincinnati around 9:00 am. Our table was helmed on our left by Mark LeMieux, whose playful drawings were promoted by none other than The Joker.

On our right, cartoonist Sterling Clark had an array of comics, graphic novels and posters, including Tales From the Mother Land, a comic with a fun, colorful '70s Kirby vibe. I had to purchase a copy! Clark also has some exciting news involving Sal Buscema and Joe Sinnott. You should check out Sterling's work at:

Mary and I quickly set up our table of comics, original art, paintings, coffee mugs, buttons, catalogs and new Signifiers bookmarks created just for the show.

I then set off to find our friends Verl and Adele Bond, who were selling copies of Verl's World Without Love (and I mean selling!). Check it out, if you haven't already, here:

They were seated beside cartooning legend Russ Heath. I had to purchase one of his gorgeous (and meticulously researched) war panoramas.

Along the crowded hallway I also got to talk a bit with Archie writer Craig Boldman, whose letter he received many years ago from Jughead artist supreme Samm Schwartz will be published in an upcoming book on the history of Archie comics. Craig was a really nice guy to talk to.

I also couldn't leave the area without chatting a bit with Lora Innes, writer and artist of the popular The Dreamer (, Kel Crum, whose hilarious Cornelia comics never fail ( and fantastic cartoonist Tony Moore; he signed a copy of Fear Agent Vol. 1 for me and a handsome book it is, too:

Next, I had to hunt down Murphy Anderson, who inked the first Superman comics I bought, in the early '70s and whose lush, organic inking style defines the word "romantic". I was surprised to find this legend sitting alone, no fans about (this may have been partly due to the seating area; the show was divided into two long hallways and, for some reason, one hallway seemed perpetually twice as crowded and lively as the other. Murphy and we were in the more sedate side). Anyway, he graciously signed my copy of The Life and Art Of Murphy Anderson and told me background stories on photos and drawings in the book. Anderson is a true gentleman, of a classy nature that's seemingly going by the wayside. I wish him many more years of health and prosperity!!/group.php?gid=77630634197&v=wall

In the afternoon, Hollywood producer Michael Uslan moderated a panel discussion with Anderson, Heath and Allen Bellman, who worked on Captain America in the early '40s (among many other titles) and drew the awesomely retro poster for the con:,
Bellman was in great spirits, so full of good cheer and astonishment at the adulation for books he drew nearly 70 years ago(!) I wouldn't have been surprised if he'd leapt onto a table and burst into song! The panel discussion was packed, standing room only, with probably 90 or 100 people crowding the room. That was good to see. Only the loudness of the adjoining gaming room interferred with the panel discussion; it was difficult to hear Anderson with a mic, and Michael Uslan even mentioned the loudness of the gaming room during the discussion. I'd recommend seperate, enclosed rooms for panel discussions at the next Cincinnati Expo.

Next on the agenda: purchasing some copies of Patsy Walker with really gorgeous covers by Al Jaffee and Al Hartley (when he was using a much more delicate inking style than his later Archie work:

Later in the day I met up with two long-time collectors and great guys Rod Beck and Bruce Chrislip. Then I set down to ink an original pencil drawing of Sterling Clark's character, Ntombinde. Fun! Sterling, I forgot to take a photo of the drawing before I passed it back to you. Any way you can send me one or post it somewhere?

By this point, dealers were closing shop and so we did, too. The end of a great show!

Can I make a recommendation for the next Cincinnati Comic Expo? Name tags for all of the exhibitors (dealers, artists, etc.) would be very helpful, not only to see the names of people you pass in the hallway or talk to, but also to differentiate between customers and venders. This would even be helpful for the Expo staff.

Saturday was also the occasion of another adventure: friend Bruce Chrislip and I found some shade from the sun in which to hear some great-sounding examples of late-'40s King Records recordings which were, unquestionably, rock and roll before there was a genre called rock and roll. This was just a warmup for our next stop: the original King Records recording studio building, literally a few blocks away from the Expo. This is the neglected building where some of the first, if not the first doo-wop, funk, rock and roll and R&B was recorded; where The Twist was recorded, where James Brown created (invented!) funk music. The origins of nearly all pop music played today trace back to King Records. Only an historical sign erected in front of the forlorn building at the end of a trash-strewn dead-end road indicate the importance of this site (though you can read more about King Records here):

We then drove across town to Shake It records, one of the most amazing record stores I've visited (and, believe me, I've been to a lot). Thousands of esoteric CDs, posters everywhere, books, comics, an entire basement of new and used vinyl and even Shake It's own record label and inventory! I plowed through the stacks like a madman and purchased a CD comp of King Records rhythm and blues recordings, a two-LP set of James Brown live in the '70s, Brian Wilson's new album on vinyl and Mavis Staples' new CD for Mary (Shake It was also playing the CD in their store). I was only disappointed to find no Apples in Stereo or Tori Amos vinyl LPs I didn't already have.

Comics 'n' music: life is good!

BTW, check out my newest Twitter account: All comics, all the time:
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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great post Michael! It truly sounds like you had a good time. Great guests, great comics; what more could you ask?