Pittsburgh Comicon 2012 Wrap Up

I had a chance to attend the Pittsburgh Comicon for the first time ever this year. Pittsburgh is a comic book convention I’ve wanted to attend for years. One of my favorite artists, George Perez, is a perennial attendee at Pittsburgh, and I was always jealous of the people in Pittsburgh who got to see him year after year. So when the opportunity arose to head to the ‘Burgh this year for Pittsburgh Comicon, I jumped at the opportunity.

I was completely spoiled by staying at the Monroeville Doubletree. It’s right across the parking lot from the Monroeville Convention Center, where the convention takes place. Living in NYC, I usually bring the bare minimum of items with me to a convention. Who wants to lug a heavy bag on the subway and carry it around all day? As I outlined in my lead-up to NYCC 2011, if I want something signed, I’ll buy it on the show floor. But being so close to my hotel room in Pittsburgh made it possible to change out items throughout the day, which led to me getting my massive Amazing Spider-Man Omnibus signed by Stan Lee. That Omnibus was on me for about 10 minutes more than it took to wait on Stan Lee’s line. Then it was back in my hotel room, much to the happiness of my back.

What I loved most about attending Pittsburgh Comicon is that it is the best parts of a big con and small mixed together. There were big name guests there, but scale was smaller, which led to better interactions between creators and fans. It reminded me a lot of a version of the much missed annual Ramapo Comic Book Conventions in New York from the 80s and 90s.

If you ever attend a con that Barry Kitson is attending, head to his table! I met Barry for the first time this year, and he absolutely awesome! He sits behind his artist’s table doing ink and watercolor illustrations for fans all day. They’re amazingly detailed and FREE. The catch is you have to be patient, and stay at Barry’s table until it’s your turn. The illustrations average about 45 minutes each, so if you’re 7th in line, expect to be there all day. For people who can’t hang out all day, like me, Barry does quick 5-minute head sketches in between the full figure illustrations. Waiting at the table really isn’t a downside though, as Barry, the guys working his table and the fans hanging out could not have been a nicer group of people. I was happy to find out that Barry was an Arsenal fan. We chatted about that day’s match. After getting my sketch, I kind of wanted to just hang out at Barry’s table for the rest of the day anyway. Barry did the below ink and watercolor of Spider-Man in 5 minutes, 8 seconds. Yes, someone timed him.
Other highlights of Pittsburgh Comicon 2011:

-Getting not one, but three sketches from George Perez

Peter Parker/Spider-Man
 Wally West as The Flash
Wonder Woman

-Meeting Stan Lee, getting my Amazing Spider-Man Omnibus signed him and having the following interaction:
Me: You’re my hero, Stan!
Stan Lee: I like your taste, kid.

-Meeting Scott McDaniel, who is one of the nicest guys working in comics, and getting this awesome Spider-Man sketch from him. In case you didn’t realize, I really like Spider-Man.

-Having a crazy run on the roulette wheel at Casino Night and walking away with a 2007 Pittsburgh Comicon/Marvel Zombies poster signed by Arthur Suydam with a Zombie Batman (or is that Black Panther). I was so happy I bought the roulette guys a round afterwards.

-The Pittsburgh food. I missed out breakfast at Pamela’s. But I did get dessert at Gullifty’s in Squirrel Hill twice, had a great bowl of alligator chili at Fuel and Fuddle in Oakland, and drove out of town with a pack of smiley face cookies from Eat N’ Park. I think I put on 10 lbs every time I visit Pittsburgh. And I can’t wait to come back next year!