Comic Geek Speak Supershow 2010

This past weekend we were lucky enough to be able to attend the CGS Super Show (CGSSS) held in Reading Pennsylvania. The Super Show is the comic convention come community get-together for the CGS podcast and associated folks of www.thecomicforums.com (who host many comic and podcast forums including the Geek Syndicate forums as well as our very own WFTT forum). This year the CGS crew were also celebrating their 5th Anniversary of starting to podcast, as well as recently having hit 1000 recorded episodes…which is one hell of a feat.

The original Super Show was held in September 2008 which I attended on my own, this time I was accompanied by my wife (and co-host) Ang and our son Lucas. Because of the community aspect of this convention it’s unlike anything I’ve experienced in the UK. Things kicked off Thursday night with a gathering at the home of one of the CGS hosts at which I got reacquainted with some old friends and introduced to some new ones.

The first official event was at a bar in West Reading on Friday evening and was absolutely packed. The entire top floor of the bar was given over to CGSSS and rammed full with wall-to-wall geeks. One great idea the CGS guys had was to sell pint glasses with a one-of-a-kind design for the show on them. I bought two and I’m hoping at least one of them makes it back to the UK safe and sound!

The show covered Saturday and Sunday and was at a factory turned Expo Centre in Reading. Unlike last year, this year’s event featured a selection of panels, but before I talk about those let me run through just some of the people in attendance:

  • Walter & Louise Simonson
  • David Petersen
  • Jamal Igle
  • Mike Norton
  • Freddie Williams II
  • Lee Weeks
  • Harold Jennett (of Geek Syndicate’s very own webcomic!)
  • Gabriel Hardman
  • Bryan Glass
  • Adam Withers and Comfort Love
  • Danielle Corsetto

And a whole ton of others! At the very heart of Super Show are the artists, essentially CGSSS is an Artists’ Alley with a few retailers around it. Given this bias combined with the community aspect (quite a few of the creators are active participants on the forums) you also have the opportunity to pre-order sketches from some of the artists as well as getting amazing deals on the day itself. Because of the community aspect you find artists offering particularly low prices for Super Show and most are just in a generally good mood. Walt Simonson was doing free head sketches and both Lucas and I scored free sketches from Mike Norton and Andrew Charipar.

The area for the con itself is small-mid sized I would say, it was bigger than the shrunken Bristol Con last year but not quite as big as BICS. However there’s also not the superfluous retailers that sometimes clog up a con.

One unique feature of the show is the Crap Comics Trade-a-thon, the somewhat unfortunately named brainchild of Bill Hughes (host of Just Bill’s Comic Book Drawerbox). Essentially a few tables are set aside to allow people to bring and trade comics with one another. You could either make trades in advance or your could just leave a pile and take from other people’s piles. Remember one man’s crap comics is another man’s classics. The whole thing ran on the honour system (as our US hosts put it) which all the visitors respected. I brought about 15 trades and swapped them out for a bunch of others. Yes I could have sold them on ebay and maybe got a few quid for each but so much hassle and I’d never have been able to pick up these trades with the money. I would love to see a UK con do this, I think it could be brilliant…but it doesn’t make anyone any money so I’m not sure it’ll ever happen.

The panels were a fairly late addition organised by a member of the community.  We attended one hosted by the 501st Legion Garrison Carida (Star Wars costumers) and then Lucas was invited to help judge another panel, hosted by another GS contributor Amber Love, as DC artists Mike Norton and Jamal Igle as well as indie artist Dave Wachter were challenged with coming up with a new look for Mad Hatter.

I’m told by those who attended that the Simonsons hosted an absolutely wonderful 90 minute discussion and from popping my head round the door I could tell that the Great Grant Morrison’s X-Men debate was both heated and hilarious.

The 501st were out in force (pun intended), I’ve seen them at UK cons but never such variety. One absolute highlight was the Chewbacca costume which stood 7′ 9″ tall and had all been hand-made by the guy wearing it…now that’s dedication.

These guys and gals knew exactly what line to take with kids, when to play it in-character and be a bit mean, and when to play nicely to put scared children (and parents!) at their ease.

One other great guest was Pasquale the Balloonisimo, he’s a balloon artist who makes the most amazing balloon sculptures of comic characters. I’ve never seen these elsewhere and they are just stunning.

The CGS Glee Club ran karaoke at the bar on Saturday night but by the time that kicked off I’d escaped with some of the guys to a Hooters to watch the UFC pay-per-view (the sacrifices I make for geekdom!)

All in all it was a great weekend. Ang is hooked and says she’d love to come back next year and Lucas (who was the star of the show I reckon) says Super Show is his favourite…nuff said.

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