“Comics are for everyone”: St. Louis’ Lion Forge!

 

Jeanette Batz Cooperman is a staff writer for St. Louis Magazine. She is also an accomplished author – her latest work is a chilling nurder mystery and available at Amazon here. I asked for – and received – her permission to reproduce her latest magazine article about a Lion Forge comics!

Thank you Jeanette and St. Louis Magazine for allowing me to share their article. You can read the original here.

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With Lion Forge, David Steward II is reshaping comics, exploding stereotypes, and reinventing the superhero

The only thing that’s stereotypical about a Lion Forge comic is its refusal to give in to stereotype.

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Comics used to be for boys, the stereotype said. White boys with muddled social skills who hung out at comic book shops, letting their brains go soggy.

In truth, those kids grew up a long time ago. Comics turned dark, edgy, and adult back in the ’90s, and now they’re morphing again to reflect a wider swath of society. “Comics are for everyone,” insists a little St. Louis company called Lion Forge that’s growing at supersonic speed.

Granted, the rest of popular culture is making the same assertion—and the push started well before T’Challa took us to Wakanda. But Marvel only “inadvertently got it right” with Black Panther, says Lion Forge co-founder and CEO David Steward II. Most of the time, the industry’s heavy-handed attempts to “do” diversity are about as subtle and real as sex with a robot.

But why should you—a grownup who prefers real books, their big words packed dense and gray on the page—care about any of this?

Because Lion Forge intends to woo you.

You don’t want to read about masked white men who fly? Maybe you’d like to read about a Jewish lesbian astrophysicist who doesn’t even want her superpower. Hate the neon jangle of comic book colors? Check out delicately detailed washes of earthtones in a sea of white space. If you despise shallow caricature and retro cheesiness, try the 528-page graphic novel Lighter Than My Shadow, about a young woman’s battles with trauma and eating disorders. And if you’re sick of heterosexual opportunism, there’s Mooncakes, a Chinese-American queer love story with an almost entirely female cast…

The only thing that’s stereotypical about a Lion Forge comic is its refusal to give in to stereotype.


Origin Story


It’s near the end of the millennium. David Steward II, a photographer with a degree in international marketing and a consuming love of pop culture, meets Carl Reed, animator and illustrator. They merge their studios into a full-service shop. Then each, in turn, goes off to Hollywood, Steward to produce a movie, Reed to do TV animation. They come back and join forces again, this time to pursue what they love most: comics.

In 2011 and 2012, Reed and Steward walk every square foot of the biggest cons: C2E2 in Chicago, Comic-Con International in San Diego, and New York Comic Con. Brushing past Spider-Men and stormtroopers, dodging steampunk Dr. Whos and zombies, they analyze books, costumes, action figures, animation. What’s being done wrong? What isn’t being done at all?

The world’s still a little too white, they decide, its audience a little too predictable. They will publish comics for everyone. Digital first, because that’s the future.

They choose the Wizard World St. Louis Comic Con, March 2013, for their debut. As fans mob the legendary Stan Lee—a white guy who co-created Black Panther back in the ’60s—for his autograph, Lion Forge is across the convention hall offering previews of its authentic, inclusive digital comics.

With a staff of seven, the company publishes more than a dozen digital titles in the next year. Both the industry and its audience resist, terrified of closing comic book stores and losing that slick, addictive smell of fresh ink on pulp. Skeptical fans won’t buy digital until a comic is already in print. Digital plateaus at 10 to 15 percent of the market.

Lion Forge changes gears fast.

By 2015, it has a full print infrastructure, the books of the highest quality. Fans whisper online: “Who’s behind the scenes?” “This is obviously a Hollywood company!”

Nope, just some guys in St. Louis. But Hollywood’s about to sprinkle a little stardust on them.


Time Travel


At NBCUniversal, the elevators have news feeds. As announcements of the studio’s deal with Lion Forge hit rival CBS, Hollywood ReporterVarietyUSA Today, and every comics website out there, the guy in charge of licensing and TV picks up his ringing phone. “What’s this about a deal we did with Lion Forge?” his boss’s boss asks. “It’s everywhere. Everywhere! Good work.”

Steward and Reed walk around the licensing show without a single preset meeting and manage—in bursts of nostalgia combined with business acumen—to negotiate licenses for Miami ViceKnight RiderPunky Brewster, and Saved by the Bell.

The year before, one of the first important writers to sign on with Lion Forge, Brandon Easton, invited other creative types to a Lion Forge brunch at the San Diego con. Hardly anybody showed. News of the licensing deal breaks two days before the 2013 Comic-Con, and now Easton’s flooded with messages, people wanting him to hook them up with “that company you mentioned…”

“I don’t want to talk to any of y’all,” he says. “I told you last year.”

The strategy—to lure readers with titles they already know, then hook them with the new comics—continues. Lion Forge creates a Voltron: Legendary Defender series in homage to the St. Louis–born robot knight; it adopts Care Bears and Disney’s Packages From Planet X; it bases superheroes on real celebs. In the paws of Lion Forge, mixed martial arts fighter Quinton “Rampage” Jackson becomes a super-werewolf empowered by a meteor. “He wanted to wolf out and fight aliens,” Steward tells reporters with a shrug.

In 2016, Lion Forge designates two new imprints, CubHouse and ROAR, to lure young readers back to comics. It’s been quite a while since the comic book burnings of the 1950s—when a psychiatrist testified before a U.S. Senate subcommittee that comic books caused juvenile delinquency, sadism, and a Superman complex—and there’s some catching up to do. ROAR publishes Taproot, a queer romance ghost story for young adults. CubHouse plays with whimsy (in This Is a Taco, a funny little squirrel is convinced he’s a taco) and subversion (in The Little Red Wolf, it’s the wolf who’s in danger from humans).

Two years later, DC Comics (which, alongside Marvel, has dominated the industry for decades) announces…two new imprints for younger readers.


Prime Universe


When Lion Forge first launches, writer Cullen Bunn is living in St. Louis, but he’s just signed an exclusive two-year contract with Marvel. Nonetheless, he and Steward meet for burgers at Araka. Steward’s ambition zags across the table like a lightning bolt. He wants Lion Forge to start its own superhero universe.

That might be a little too ambitious, Bunn thinks. They’ll get lost in the noise of DC and Marvel. But Steward has the quiet confidence of a real businessman, not a dreamy kid. He even has the universe’s name: Catalyst Prime.

And, sure enough, on Free Comic Book Day 2017, fans grab the beginning of a new universe called Catalyst Prime. Steward entrusted it to Christopher Priest (who reinvented Black Panther as a king and statesman back in 1998) and Joseph Illidge (who edited Batman).

Fans will catch on easily: Catalyst Prime is set in this world, with no special language or elaborate backstory, and its superheroes are quite human: They bathe and snack, struggle and suffer consequences.

“In classic DC and Marvel universes, every character is ramped up so high that you have to create villains who are super-strong,” Steward grumbles. “To really exist in that universe, they would pretty much tear up the world.”

He and Reed have vowed to avoid lazy writing: No inventing extra superpowers or resorting to time travel to extricate their superheroes from dilemmas. Superpowers will be distributed across a wide band of humanity, and not everyone will use them well. Characters will die only once; jaded fans won’t get to say, “Oh, DC will bring him back.”


Beyond the Dark Knight


As a kid, Steward didn’t have a comic book store nearby; his initiation came later. Reed contented himself with white superheroes, because the black options were so…limited. “Cyborg’s catchphrase was this archaic slang word, ‘Booyah!’” he remembers, wincing. “Luke Cage said, ‘Sweet Christmas!’ He wore a butterfly-collared bright-yellow shirt, and his catch phrase was ‘Sweet Christmas.’”

Supposedly, we’ve moved on. Iron Man has been replaced by an African-American woman, and Ms. Marvel is Pakistani-American. There’s even a female Thor—with breast cancer, her chemo’s toxins washed away by her superhero transformation. And there’s an Afro-Latin Spider-Man, but white-bread Peter Parker is still published alongside him, hasn’t even had the grace to die. When the Big Two, DC and Marvel, “do” diversity, they just pop somebody who’s not a white man into an existing role.

“It’s a gimmick,” mutters Reed. “It’s obviously temporary. And it’s insulting.”

One of Lion Forge’s secrets is hiring such a wild mix of folks that when a book’s written about a character from a certain group, if it’s not true to the lived experience of someone in that group, somebody on staff will correct the portrayal.

“Because we’re not coming from the outside to do a book starring a woman or a Latino character, that takes away from the stereotyping and exaggeration,” says Reed. “It’s very easy to go there, to say, ‘This character is a girl with a gun,’ and that’s it. You don’t know that character; you can’t write for that character. The emperor will be shown to have no clothes.”

The emperor, I point out, has had a good run. “The emperor has had a great run,” he agrees dryly, and leaves it there.


“The Pride Is Growing”


Today, Lion Forge calls itself a trans-media company, developing content across comic books, TV, film, and interactive gaming.

“The pride is growing,” the website quips. Freelancers are scattered around the globe, and that initial staff of seven is now 45, with another 20 hires in progress. They work behind a narrow, brightly colored door in a vast and desolate strip mall on Manchester, near Hampton.

In one of its simple conference rooms, Steward and Reed sit down to talk.

Steward looks a little professorial, a little Saturday-schlubby—glasses, jeans, receding hairline, a dark sweater with a gray tee peeking from the bottom of the V-neck. It’s not the costume you’d draw for an MICDS alum whose father founded the $10 billion World Wide Technology.

Reed, who has even less hair than Steward, looks like a benign Buddha who’s dropped some pounds and started working out. They talk like two guys who do a podcast and know the rhythms of each other’s speech. “We’re definitely yin and yang,” says Steward. “I’m a little OCD about stuff. I always like the new projects.”

Reed agrees that he’s “a little more grounded,” adding, “but I get in the weeds a lot—and call for help!”

Senior editor Joseph Illidge describes him quite differently: as “a person of calm mind and calm spirit.” Asked what Reed’s role is at Lion Forge, he says, “The right-hand person who has to help the leader protect the empire.”

That leader, meanwhile, is “unbelievably intelligent,” says Lion Forge president Geoff Gerber, who was once Stewart’s intellectual property lawyer.

“Dave sees connections and opportunities most people don’t,” Gerber says. “He moves rapidly from one thing to another and remains optimistic about everything at all times.”

He’s also “a huge fan of goofy, cheesy pop culture,” Gerber adds, bemused. “He’ll come out of his office to talk with staff about a reality TV show and what’s going on with the love life of so-and-so and who the next celebrity chef is. And he loves toys and collectibles.”

Yet there’s depth beneath these enthusiasms. Like his sister, Kimberly Steward (who produced the Oscar-nominated Manchester by the Sea), Dave is drawn to the creative side of business. He’s also a serious philanthropist. After Hurricane Maria, Lion Forge published Puerto Rico Strong, using Puerto Rican creators and donating all profits to hurricane relief.

How’d they pull it together so fast? “At big companies, you have 40 white guys sitting around, and their friends are all white guys,” Steward says with a shrug. “If we wanted to make a book about any group on this planet—”

“It wouldn’t be six degrees of separation,” Reed finishes.

The diversity of their network has become their superpower. If Reed could have another, all for himself? “The ability to slow down time. It’s really hard to get one over on someone who can slow things down.”

Steward’s grinning; he knows how often Reed is up working at 4 a.m. For his own superpower, Steward is torn: “Being able to fly would be lots of fun. What would be useful is having Wolverine’s healing factors. You could live life without fear.” But wait—he’d also like the Purple Man’s ability to convince people to do stuff for him. “That kind of character, he could take over the world in minutes.”

So is that what Steward wants to do in the comics world? Surpass the Big Two?

He shakes his head. That’s apples to oranges. He’s aiming for something more like a Big Five book publisher, because that’s where the industry is shifting, as bookstores sell more and more (12 million in 2016) graphic novels and comics collected in trade paperbacks. The new reader would rather binge on an entire series than traipse into a comic book store every Wednesday.

Lion Forge does enjoy taunting DC and Marvel, though. “Both companies are well aware that we are here,” Illidge murmurs. “At least one of them tried to convince one of my artists to defect. At the New York con, a high-ranking editor from Marvel was lurking by our booth, looking at Catalyst Prime. And we beat them out on a variety of Best of 2017 lists.”

If Lion Forge wrote itself into an epic superhero battle? “We’d be fighting a hydra,” says Reed. Two of the monster’s heads would belong to Disney-owned Marvel and Time Warner’s DC, and a third would be Diamond Comic Distributors, the colossus that bought up all the indie distributors and reshaped the industry.

While it nudges Diamond toward fairness, Lion Forge pushes ahead on technology; Reed says the industry’s production process needs the kind of tech revolution that saved American animation in the mid-’90s. Also, wages haven’t been fair. “There are legal things you can do as a business, and then there’s the right way,” Steward says. “People will say, ‘It’s only business.’ No, you’re being an A-hole. That’s one thing my dad instilled.”

Above all, there’s the Lion Forge prime directive: Comics for everyone.

Penguin recently announced that it was spinning off a diverse imprint. “Oh?” says Steward, quirking an eyebrow. “You’re going to put all your diverse content in one little section?”

“Years from now, it’s going to seem outrageous that we had to have a line featuring diverse characters,” says Reed. “We’ll be saying, ‘Well, there was a time that it mattered…’”

“Comics for all” is now a hashtag on Twitter, and the push for inclusion’s now broad enough and strong enough to get blowback from old-school fans who resent what they call forced diversity. But Lion Forge isn’t forcing anything; its content is diverse because the creators are. Nor does Steward make a big deal out of its being a black-owned business, or indie, or anything other than smart.

Gerber was pained, though, when Steward took the entire marketing team out for a celebratory dinner in New York and the waiter kept turning to Gerber, the older white guy, for decisions—even after he pointed out that Steward was their host. On another business trip, a driver tried to give Gerber the seat with legroom—even though Steward towers over him.

“It’s something wealth does not insulate you from,” Gerber observes. “Dave is a black man in America. The fact that he doesn’t appear militant doesn’t change the world in which he lives—or his desire to see it change. And he is working very hard to change the world.”

As is the rest of Lion Forge. Illidge points out that there are more women than men on staff—and not just in low-level clerical roles but actually at the CFO, VP, and executive editor levels. “Until now, comics have had a limited perspective—not only male-dominated but white male–dominated,” he remarks. “A more rounded worldview will ultimately be a more mature world view.”

A formal and meticulous thinker, Illidge calls superheroes “the aspirational mythology of our times. Someone will tell you superheroes are not real. Nothing in fantasy is real. The criterion for merit is what it says about the human condition and what insight we can gain about ourselves as human beings.

“One thing I like about the characters in our world is that different people consider themselves heroes for different reasons,” Illidge adds. “You read Noble, and various characters see themselves as having noble intentions, and the definition of that varies from person to person. And you ask yourself, ‘What does it really mean to be noble?’ Am I noble?’

“It speaks to the fact that human beings are trying to do their best every day,” he finishes. “They get up, and they keep trying. That’s heroic.”

 

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Wizard World Con 2015

St. Louis Wizard Con 2015: Hey Kids! Comics! Finally!

Wizard Con has held a convention in St. Louis for three years now. I have been to all three and blogged about the 2013 and 2014 cons.

Although at times during this little review it may seem I thought this year was a disappointment, it will probably turn into one of my favorites! And for reasons other than why I enjoyed previous Wizard Cons. Opposite reason!

The first thing I noticed was the lack of vendors’ booths and lack of celebrities attending. The list of attending celebrities definitely lacked the star power of last year – Shatner and Adam West for us old folks and Nathan Fillion, Bruce Campbell and others for the younger crowd.

This year’s list left this old timer shouting out a resounding, “Who!?” People I didn’t know starring in shows I don’t watch. George Romero was the only one on the list that raised my eyebrows. It might be interesting to shake his hand and tell him how much I enjoy his work. But then another part of me wanted to slap him and say, “Look what you’ve done!”, Tara Reid, Elvira, Michael Rooker, Billy Boyd, Hayley Atwell, Jason Mewes,  Naomi Grossman, Joey Lawrence , B.J. Britt, Mark Dodson, Jason David Frank, Robin Lord Taylor,  Paige of the WWE  and a few St. Louis Rams linebackers (which I believe is some sort of local sports team). A few stars who were supposed to be there weren’t – such as Guardians’ Dave Bautista.

Looking at the guests of other Wizard Cons (Indianapolis and Des Moines) show the dearth of stars in St. Louis: Shatner, Billie Dee Williams, Robert Englund & Carrie Fisher to name a few.

(NOTE: if the “dearth” of stars includes your favorite performers … or heaven-forbid the performers themselves or someone they know reads this and thinks of it as a slam – fear not! My heart will grow three sizes this day before the blog is through. Stay with me and let me rant on for a bit longer…)

Lou Ferrigno wasn’t in St. Louis, but will be at Des Moines. Ferrigno! He’s ALWAYS at these things!

               Even the list of artists was disappointing. Indianapolis had Jim Steranko! Steranko! And while St. Louis had Michael Golden and Gary Friedrich … still … Steranko

               Neal Adams wasn’t in St. Louis, but he will be at Des Moines. Neal Adams! He’s ALWAYS at these things!

Was this a Ferguson thing? Did the local St. Louis promoters not treat the guests properly? In all my internet trolling I have not been able to find anyone even guessing why St. Louis got a bit of a short shrift on the guest list. I WAS told there was a major convention in Detroit that weekend – and it was Memorial Day weekend. Was that enough to keep other stars from attending?

And there were only about half the vendors (if that) attending than from previous years. Were they expecting a small crowd? Was it too expensive to attend (I found out the answer was no …).

And the crowd was only about half (if that) from the previous years. It seemed there were more cosplayers than non-cosplayers. Of course that day was the cosplay contests for adults and kids, but still…

But it wasn’t all bleak. In fact, when it was done I realized I had a lot of fun!

Once again I went with my sister and her family. Also attending were one of my best friends and his wife. We met their daughter and son-in-law there, too. We ran into another friend there, too. “I didn’t think you were going to go,” he said.

I didn’t plan on it, to be truthful. But my sister and her husband and two of their sons were going and asked me to join them. My wife said it was fine – she would watch our five-year-old-master-of- all-time-and-space for the day and told me to go enjoy myself.

And I did. Here’s why:

My sister and family helped me see through my solipsistic dislike of the guest list. Sissy was so happy to meet and speak with her idol Elvira (Cassandra Peterson) that she cried when she spoke to her. This made Cassandra cry. “My sister made Elvira cry!” I told anyone willing to listen.

The friend who came with me had an Elvira supplement of a Chill role-playing game for her to sign. She said she must have a copy of this in her house somewhere but otherwise didn’t recognize it!

My family wanted to meet Michael Rooker and have him sign various Walking Dead/Guardians of the Galaxy things. I got in line with them and as I left held out my hand and said how much I enjoyed him in JFK and Tombstone. He shook my hand and thanked me.

My nephew met Jason David Frank, one of the Power Rangers, last year. He showed the star his Tai Kwon Do moves and a video of their meeting was on Frank’s Facebook page and website! He got a picture with Jason and brought that picture back to be signed. Unfortunately he would not be available until 4:00, so we decided it would be our last thing before leaving.

While waiting, at different times of course, Robin Lord Taylor and the quite pretty Naomi Grossman walked past with their entourage. My sister said hello to Robin Lord Taylor and he stopped, very briefly, to thank her. Same with Naomi Grossman.

Both were very friendly and neither of then stood higher than my mid-bicep! Short people, these stars…

While the family was in line for Jason David Frank, I saw actress Tara Reid at her autograph booth. She was between signings and sitting with her aide and I thought, “why not? When am I ever going to meet Tara Reid again?” I walked up to her booth and offered my hand. I said I was a big fan and enjoyed her work. She smiled and shook my hand and said, “Thank you.” I turned away and she resumed her texting. I wasn’t going to buy a picture or pay for an autograph or picture so she certainly wasn’t going to spend a lot of time chatting with me. That’s okay, I don’t blame her. But she was polite about my wanting to meet her and that’s all that matters, isn’t it? I didn’t make any of the stars any money, but I didn’t bug them either. Fair trade. She was also very small, even sitting high up in her booth.  I doubt she would have come up to my elbow standing next to me.

There were two artists I wanted to meet. I talked with Michael Golden for a few minutes as he signed a Star Wars comic I brought and a Marvel print I bought. I told him I had that poster on my college dorm wall. I also told him what I thought of the comic – after that issue the comic had better stories and art than in the issues before. I said it was all his doing. He laughed and thanked me.

I brought a Ghost Rider book for Gary Friedrich, its creator to sign. He was scheduled to appear at Wizard Con in 2013 but had to cancel. He has had health problems. He cancelled this year, too. I was disappointed but not angry – still I could have done without lugging that thick paperback compilation around.

That was my only “meeting of the stars” I did this year.

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               With fewer vendors, it was easier to take my time in artists’ row. They had local authors this year and I enjoyed talking to them. Who did they use to self-publish? How long have they been doing it? What were their books about? I did not spend too much time talking to them as they were there to hawk their books, not talk shop. But they did in between shilling to the other customers and I thanked them. I might even buy their books!

One author spread his debut science fiction novel into five parts. No one is going to buy a thousand-page book from a first-time author, he said, which is true. We discussed the trend of writing stories in series to bring in fans to your work. I mentioned some authors I’ve met had written a few short stories set in their fantasy worlds and gave them away from free online or as chap books to draw readers into the rest of their line. He liked that idea – maybe we’ll see some short fiction from him soon!

***

               I not only got to chat with authors but also some of the vendors and employees. I asked one local comic shop owner if he knew why the low vendor turn out. He did not know, except for perhaps the Con in Detroit. I asked if the rental space was too high. “No,” he said, “we pay $(blank) for this and we have a pretty big spread.”

“Is that per day?”

“No, the whole weekend.”

“That’s pretty good. You’ll make that back just today.”

“Yep.”

While my family was waiting in line an employee (I will not say who or where in case he gets in trouble for telling me) told me that stars have to give a cut of their autograph and photo op money to the Con. I asked if the guests get paid for attending. Not a lot, although they do get their rooms free. They make their money from the autographs and photo ops – what they don’t give to their Wizard Con overlords. That is why the stars have a few “attendants” the young man told me, “to make sure they don’t pocket the cash for themselves.” That’s another reason some stars need line tickets – not just for crowd control, but to keep a rough account of money made…

Hearing about the dark business side of the Con was almost as fun as hunting for comic books.

Comic books? Oh, yes …

***

               The main difference in this year’s Wizard Con was the focus on the one item that was shoved aside in the previous two years.

This year the comic book convention was about comic books.

With the thinner crowds and less vendors came more opportunities to shop for comics. Perhaps to make the weekend worthwhile, the vendors were more willing to negotiate and barter. Some of them. But I found some beauties and some comics to finally plug some holes in my collection.

I spotted a Superman from the 1970s and he charged me more than I was willing to pay. But he made me such a deal on other comics I bought I accepted it. When I got the comic home and saw was great condition it was I realized what a bargain he gave me.

There were some comics I bought for less than cover price. I can name four that I paid only twice the cover price. The rest of the silver age comics I bought (mostly Green Lantern) were within my purchase comfort zone. Since I did not have to plunk down eighty bucks to shake hands with William Shatner and Adam West, I could spend it on comics I was looking for.

Since the crowds were thinner I was able to get the comics I was looking for and not leftovers.

Since the vendors were fewer I was able to get back to the booths that I found the comics that were still there and that I could afford. In prior years I would try to go back to a booth only to “lose” it. “I think it was by this store …  no … it was by a t-shirt place. Now, which t-shirt place…”

What I mean is that I subscribe to Nihilistic Shopping. I see something I want but then go away to get it later. If I still want the item an hour or more later I will go get it. If the thing is there I will get it; if it is gone it was not meant to be. At a place like Wizard Con that usually means I do not get it – someone else snapped it up. We even joked about that waiting in line to enter the convention hall. “NO! They are all in there buying everything I wanted!”

But this year: more money, thin crowds, and fewer vendors. I was able to find the vendor that had the golden age issue of World’s Finest within my purchasing comfort zone AND it was still there. Ditto the three Green Lanterns at a silver age booth across the convention floor. This guy near the entrance still has those tabloid-size comics.

By the time the family was in line to talk to the Power Ranger my bag was full and my back was aching. Later that weekend I swam with my daughter and spent Monday walking around the St. Louis Renaissance Festival. My back, hips and thighs have not said a kind word to me yet.

Fortunately I have some sweet comics to read while I mend.

***

               You can’t talk about Wizard Con without talking cosplay. Lots of great superheroes and gamers on this day.

Aaron Rabe, who does a pitch-perfect Captain Jack Sparrow, won Best in Show for the first two years of the Con. He was on a panel this year and helped to judge – like Carol O’Connor with the Emmys you get tired of winning all the time. We met him on the convention floor and he asked us the time. He stopped long enough to take his picture with my nephews – one is a huge Captain Jack fan!

As we left we saw this group:

 Princesses

They gave us a card and said they are available for birthday parties and other events. One friend asked for several cards to give to her Girl Scout troop families. I said they will inevitably be doing my daughter’s birthday party as soon as she sees the picture.

My wife hinted that she might go with me next year. She will be less likely to stand and wait for me while I troll the comic boxes if there is a bigger crowd of friends and family there. She can visit or look around the vendor booths herself.

Some of the vendors sold age-appropriate items. For every Walking Dead bobble-head there were Annas and Elsas and Olafs…

Obviously it all depends on our five-year-old Master-of-All-Time-and-Space.

She gets scared during the climactic scenes of Sophia the First. She would be SO excited to see Captain America or Thor or Batman and faint at any Disney Princess. But then she would see a man with an axe through his neck and we will have to go home. I call this picture “this is why I don’t bring Abby to Wizard Con”…

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Although my sister took her son, who is only about two years older; I don’t think mine will be able to handle it. Even my nephew got a little skittish at that clown-puppet.

There were plenty of kids there, though. Some even younger than mine. But as I said last year and the year before; my daughter would freak out too much at some of the more gruesome cosplayers.  Hence why I wanted to slap George Romero…

But we’ll see. Now if you will excuse me, I have some comics to read…

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Copyright 2015 Michael Curry