Super Powers on Display
Comic-Con Invades Clarks Summit Festival of Ice
In the not-so-immortal words of Arnold Schwarzenegger as Mr. Freeze in the craptacular comic book flick Batman & Robin, “Let’s kick some ice.” For comic book enthusiasts, this weekend brings a chance to kick some ice of their own as the Abington Business & Professional Association (ABPA) presents a comic book convention as part of the Clarks Summit Festival of Ice.
Comic-Con, which runs on Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Clarks Summit Elementary School on 401 W. Grove St., Clarks Summit, happens as part of an annual Abington festival that features ice carving, and interactive entertainment such as contests and music, and a downtown parade … which begs the question: where does a comic book convention fit in?
As Schwarzenegger’s Mr. Freeze not-so-famously said, “Everybody chill!” Comic-Con organizer Joe Figured explained. “The ABPA thought it was a good idea to put on a comic book convention during the festival because this year the theme is ‘super heroes’.” We laid out some groundwork and I’m in charge if putting the convention together.”
Given the ‘Heroes’ theme, some might wonder if there’s any chance we’ll see Superman’s Fortress of Solitude carved from ice. “That would be a nice creation, but I don’t know if (sculptor) Mark Crouthamel has the time,” Figured said, laughing.
Curses! Foiled again.
A veteran of organizing comic book conventions, Figured owns the comic and memorabilia store America’s Most Wanted Collectibles in Williamsport. Along with Comics on the Green, Cosmic Comics, Latco Collectibles, Ted Pannullo, Silver Fox Comics, Ultimate Comic Dream, and The Encounter, his store helps to comprise a vendor list that will surely prove to be a golden opportunity for collectors to snag some rare comic-al memorabilia.
For Dave Romeo, owner of Scranton’s Comics on the Green, the convention just makes great sense given the theme. “I thought it was a great idea,” said Romeo. “Given the myth-like status and nostalgia connected to super heroes, I think it will attract a wide range of interested fans.”
Aside from commerce, Comic-Con will offer fans and collectors some vaulted one to one time with some of the creative minds behind their favorite works. Some scheduled guests of the convention include, but are certainly not limited to: House of Mystery (DC) and Doctor Who (IDW) artist Josh Adams; Mac & Trouble co-creator Rusty Gilligan; Batman, Kolchak: the Nightstalker, Archie, and The Punisher writer C.J. Henderson; Dave Sharpe, a teacher at the Joe Kubert School and freelance artist on various trading card sets; Cliff Galbraith, owner of Crucial Comics who does a book called Rat Bastard; and Robert Bruce from The Comic Book Men.
Without question, the guest of honor is comic book impresario Neal Adams, a writer and artist whose work on DC and Marvel titles from the ’60s through today is the stuff of superhero legends. On a scale of 1 to Geek-tastic, Romeo explained how having Adams attend a comic book convention in northeastern Pennsylvania actually rates off the Geek Scale. “Neal Adams is on the Mt. Rushmore of comic creators, and we’re lucky to have him. Besides the modern and definitive Batman look, he was also involved in the Green Lantern/Green Arrow series of the early ’70s that touched on such relevant topics as drugs, religion, race, overpopulation and more.”
With a line-up like this, Figured doesn’t necessarily have to give away anything, but there’s no denying the fact that surprises are a great incentive. “I like to not only bring creators into the shows I put on but I also like to give away door prizes,” Figured said. “It’s a secret as to what we’re giving away, but the other thing we like to do is (have) all of the creators at the show who draw contribute an art piece to this and we give that away as a door prize also.”
One coveted piece of memorabilia that convention-goers won’t be winning, however, is the Batmobile … but they will get the rare opportunity to ogle it in-person. “We are talking about the old (’60s T.V. series) Adam West Batmobile,” clarified Figured. “Yeah, it’s pretty cool.”
Comic-Con takes place over the forthcoming President’s Day weekend, but happens to fall on the calendar mere days after Valentine’s Day. So, is Comic-Con a good event for people to meet? “Oh definitely. You get a really nice mixed bag of collectors who come in, especially some kids who get into the hobby,” said Figured. “Everybody’s into the video games, but if you can get kids into reading books, that’s fantastic.”
Electric city and diamond city articles are one thing, but surely there are other ways to promote this Comic-Con, which brings up the question of whether Romeo might be encasing himself in ice-like Carbonite a la Star Wars’ Han Solo in a Chris Angel-type stunt as a promotion. “I’m practicing for that right now,” Romeo joked. “Wish me luck!”
— jeff boam