I managed to wrest a day away from the clutches of my writing schedule and my boring mundane stuff to get myself over to the Image Comic Expo, held at the Oakland Convention Center this past weekend, February 24 - 26. I'm extremely glad I did, as this show netted a lot of great people, new contacts, and what must be 25 pounds of comics to review. More about that at the end.
I was surprised by the high level of participant quality at this show, considering its relatively small size. Image was there, of course, but so was Archaia, IDW, Top Cow, Comicraft and a number of excellent vendors. Artist's Alley was impressively skilled and the level of creativity in the new projects I saw was encouraging. Sure, the usual "show artist" was there, cranking out fan art sketches for the money, as well as the occasional "are they at the right show?" type of vendor, but the Image Comic Expo hit all the right notes for me, the right middle ground which is the current vibrant heart of the comic book industry.
This show is inclusive. That makes all the difference in the world.
While there, I met up with old friends, made some new ones, and walked up to booths and said "Talk to me about your best titles." This is because the show is on a human scale, and you can actually talk to people instead of trying to shout at each other for 30 seconds before giving up and rushing off to another panel, signing or party. I never got the vibe of "buy something or get out of the way" as I have at other shows. As a result, I have never walked away with so many fantastic books as I did at this show.
Upcoming reviews will include (in no particular order): Lucid, A Tale of Sand, Elephantmen Volume 4, Invincible Ultimate Collection 1, Locke & Key, The Power Within, Witchblade Rebirth, Silver, Hello My Name Is Asshole, Vescell, Flying Sparks, The Last of the Greats, The Mark of Aeacus, Marineman, and The Pound.
I hope Image does this show every year, because I will be there. I can see it being perhaps twice as large, but no more than that or it'll lose the reason to go and become just another comic book convention. Well done, Image. As my father used to say, "And a good time was had by all."