Thursday, April 22, 2010

In Which The Warlock Cries "Excelsior!"

Oi, my fellow gamers, oi! Con season has befallen us and it’s landed with one hell of a thump out here. With WittCon VII in the books at the beginning of this month, we’re already halfway into our slate of conventions for this year.

The Entry Banners at C2E2

Last weekend, Jules, Lionel and I traveled to the Windy City for the first ever C2E2—the Chicago Comics and Entertainment Expo. This was my first ever trip to Chi-town, so I was excited to see what it would entail. After the 6 hour drive up, we hit the town on Friday, and then the convention floor on Saturday. Here’s a few thoughts from the road:

• Nom Nom Al’s Beef. Sweet zombie Vecna, Al’s Beef! After heading around the Field Museum for the majority of the day on Friday, my cousin Jason—the very same dice-junkie that got me addicted to RPGs in the first place—picked us up and took us to the original Al’s Beef on the west side of Chicago. Al’s has been all over the Travel Channel, most recently through the hilarious Man vs. Food with Adam Richman. And let me tell you…it’s fan-bloody-freakin’-tastic! If you go, get it “dipped” and, if you like the spicy, the “giardinare”. Just don’t wear your best shirt—you might be as covered in the au jus as the hoagie itself!

• Chicago is NOT a walkin’ town. Now, I’ll readily admit that I’m out of shape. I’m pretty well “gamer-shaped”, but I’m also a teacher—I’m on my feet all day, most days. Chi-town wiped me out. After getting lost outside of Millenium Park, I chalked my aching calves up to dehydration, but when we walked 15 odd blocks through Chinatown to the McCormick Place Convention Center…I was having a hard time standing, and that was before the convention!

• Forget the trains! Okay, so Lionel’s aunt—whom we stayed with—lives in Waukegan, which meant that we rode the Metra train in each day. I was fine with that. But, using the L-trains in Chicago meant reading utterly Byzantine schedules (which included trying to find the now-defunct Black line) and multiple transfers. And the fare? Due to Lionel’s purchase of some standees, we caught a cab back to the Metra station. The cab fare for four of us was $3 less than the tickets for the L-train…and it’s quicker, even with Chicago traffic. Next time, we’re hailin’ a cab!

• The McCormick Place is BIG! Seriously—I mean BIG! I had thought that Columbus had a big convention center, but the McCormick Place dwarfs it. What was crazier was the fact that, in addition to C2E2, the center held an entirely different convention for kitchen/bath designers at the same time! Hell’s bells!

• Superhero Cosplay is gaining ground. It’s no secret, if you’ve been around my blog, that Jules likes to dress up as DC superheroines (Black Canary, Huntress), but I was surprised to see so many people in costume at C2E2. What’s more, the costumes were really quality! When helping Jules find some more components for her “modern” Black Canary costume, I experienced a little bit of frustration from a poster on, claiming that “unless you get it professionally tailored, it’ll look like shit”. I beg to differ and will gladly cite my photos from C2E2 as proof. See for yourself!

A REAL Rogues' Gallery!

Jules with a mini-Canary!

Marvel-DC Crossover, anyone?

Black and Scarlet--they go great together...

• C2E2’s light on the gamer-scene. I was kind of disappointed to find this out, particularly knowing that Wizards of the Coast was heading to C2E2, but not to Origins (as they have not for the last few years). Truth be told, WotC was really the only game company there at all! They ran the typical stuff for them—RPGA games, Dungeon Delves, and a Magic open-tournament—but there were no other games being held whatsoever. Even the various vendors, most of which probably sell material of both geek worlds, didn’t have much in the way of game material. Truth be told, I wasn’t really looking to buy dice or the like, but it was still kind of disappointing.

• The Dealer Hall Dilemma. I realize that, at a comic book convention, you have mainly two/three properties—Marvel, DC, and Dark Horse. I get that, really. But the vast majority of the vendors I went to were all selling the same stuff. I can’t count the times I saw the X-Men: Manifest Destiny TPB from booth -to-booth, all for various prices. It felt tedious to flip through the same stacks over and over, seeing the same selections. I’d have killed to pick up Iron Man: Enter the Mandarin or some of the earlier Avengers works, but you really had to go “box-diving” to find what you were after.

• That said, there are a few gems. I was able to find a rare, early-90s Ghost Rider/Captain America crossover, which I hadn’t read yet, as well as a whole slew of the Brave and the Bold TPBs for Jules, and many others. We also picked up Huntress—Year One, which was a solid read, if a little mediocre in the ending.

• Randy Milholland’s a nicer guy than he wants you to think he is. Jules and I both have loved Something*Positive since its inception, and this was our first real opportunity to meet Randy, as he was sharing a booth with Danielle Corsetto of Girls with Slingshots. He really liked Jules’ Black Canary costume, and chatted with us about Frank Miller (“he really needs to shut the fuck up”) while doing a sketch for Jules. Really, he’s a fantastic dude—misanthropic, yes, but then again…so am I.

Man, that’s a lot. All this, and I still haven’t even mentioned this week’s extravaganza! This week, we’re playing it a little more local, as the WittWeggers head to FOPCon 2010, in Huber Heights. We’ve got a full slate of games on deck, include playtest demos of Will’s “Savage Worlds” game Ebbs’ “Ninja Nuttiness,” Jules’ new Call of Cthulhu adventure—“If Train A Leaves at Midnight,” and the inaugural run of my Origins special: “WEGS Plume Mountain”.

If you’re in the Dayton area this weekend and want to sling some dice, make your way to FOPCon! $5.00 admission gets you a seat at your choice of games all day long, as well as entry into the massive (and spiffy!) FOPCon raffle. See you there!


  1. Randy Milholland is a nice guy! He drew me a picture of a squirrel at a reader "meet-up-thingie" in Boston a few years back.

    Sorry to be missing FOPCon this year. Maybe next year ;)

  2. Awww, man! You're missing out on this one...