But I'm not here to complain, quite the opposite, actually. I thought I'd take the opportunity to blog about how much I enjoy the cons we're fortunate enough to have here. But first, a quick flashback:
When I got into comics back in the early 1990s I remember attending several cons at the very same hotel the Albany Comic Con has been held at - the Holiday Inn on Wolf Road. Of course, these shows were about a third or maybe even a quarter of the size of today's cons, and typically they were held in smaller rooms on the second floor. Small as they were, there was always guest artists and writers doing signings. The biggest name I remember seeing at one of these shows was Dave Sim - the creator of cult indie comic Cerebus. I wasn't a fan of him or his book, in fact, I only knew of him from a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles/Cerebus crossover that happened back in the mid 1980s. I asked Mr. Sim to draw Cerebus as a ninja. He obliged and wrote a word balloon "Cerebus feels like an idiot!"
Whenever I go to a comic con I approach it the same way I would a casino. I leave my credit cards at home and I only take as much cash as I can afford to say kiss goodbye. Though, when I go to a comic con I expect to come home with an empty wallet. Also, there is a fair amount of luck and gambling involved in attending a comic con. For example, this weekend I was lucky enough to find the last two volumes of Ex Machina for half off and thus completed that collection. Another lucky find was the collected RASL hardcover for 35% off. It's a series I've never read, but only know of because it's by Jeff Smith - the creator of Bone, which is one of my all-time favorites. Will RASL have been worth the money I spent on it? I'll find out soon and share my thoughts with you.
That's something I've been seeing a lot of at conventions: trade paperbacks (TPBs) and hard covers being sold at heavily discounted prices. I absolutely love the presentation of comics in formats like these and I'll actually opt for a collected book rather than individual "floppies" whenever possible. Before Borders went out of business, I built up a pretty substantial collection of these books on a near weekly basis thanks to the coupons they'd send me. Borders is long gone, but thankfully comic cons are still around to offer great reads at great prices. I've actually reached a point where I refuse to pay cover price for a TPB anymore. Is it just me?
What's also nice is the Albany Comic Con has become big enough to support two rooms of vendors. The main event hall contains all the comic book dealers and all the artists and writers' tables. There's a second room on the other side of the hotel with a plethora of toy dealers and vendors of other collectible merchandise (i.e. bootleg videos, anime, old magazines, movie posters, original art, etc.). I don't collect toys or artwork, but I always enjoy perusing this room and seeing all the G.I. Joe, Transformers, MASK, and Star Wars toys I had as a kid. I'm often tempted to buy some of these toys, purely out of nostalgia, but I know they'd just wind up on a shelf collecting dust.