Friday, April 11, 2014


Every time I cover a convention like Wizard World Chicago or C2E2, I almost always say that my favorite part is Artists Alley. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy meeting celebrities and has-beens and big name comics creators just as much as the next guy, but the true magic of the con experience is finding an amazing new book from an up and coming writer or artist (or in many cases, both in one person).

I discovered that a few of my friends were going to be at DanCon this year, and truth be told, since it didn’t get much attention, I didn’t really think about covering it. And then I found out that it’s in Orland Park, which is not far from my native Elmhurst, and that the price of entry is only three bucks. To top it all off, it’s one big Artists Alley. That’s it. No celebrities, very few vendors. Indie creators are the main draw of the place.

That doesn’t stop cosplayers. The very first thing I saw as I parked was some kid dressed up as Captain America, shield and all. I walked in the doors and saw the shortest con line I have ever seen, which warmed my heart, considering the garbage one has to go through to get into WWC. They also give you a bunch of free stuff, including a Hellboy mask.

Inside, it’s a very intimate setting. There are no lines to meet anyone. Maybe that’s a bad thing, since it usually indicates that someone isn’t worth the attention. However, if you see a book that really turns you on, you don’t have to wait to meet the creators. They’re just there. It’s very easy to meet new people. No one is on guard. It’s a very slow, laid-back environment.

There aren’t any creeps, either. The only problem I noticed was a guy who walked around playing really atrocious music loudly. The wife of the showrunner came by, asking if the guy was being obnoxious with his tunes. They’d already told the dude to turn down his music, and according to all reports, he was a dick about it. With reinforcement from the creators, she had security throw the guy out.

That’s it. Aside from that, there were no big problems.

Granted, it’s a small environment, and it’s only on a Sunday, from ten in the morning to four in the afternoon, so there isn’t a lot of room for problems, but still, that’s an amazing feat.

I got to catch up with friends there, as with every con. I saw Jon Lennon and Leo Perez, as always. Mat Festa was also there, as was Kurt Dinse. It was altogether an excellent experience with no tension or pressure at all.

Unfortunately, some of the strengths of the show also feed its main weakness: it’s a small show. There isn’t a lot to see. I still managed to come home with a good bundle of books, and I only spent about $100, but it wasn’t even a fraction of what an Artists Alley at, say, C2E2 would be. I would like to see more variety in their future, but I can promise one thing: if they’re back next year, I will be there. It’s a great time, and I recommend you all join me in its glories.

I just hope they move on from the stamp system. I’m a big fan of lanyards to get into a show. Hell, I’d even take a stupid wristband. That wouldn’t be so bad, since DanCon is only a day long. But a stamp? Fuck. First of all, I’m a sweaty motherfucker. By the end of the day, the mark was almost gone. I also had to avoid washing my right hand after going to the bathroom, lest I wash the mark away. That’s fine for number one (I hold my dick with my left hand), but for number two, I wipe with my right hand. Thank Christ I didn’t have to take a shit that day.

One more thing: while I was there, I commissioned a great work of art. I promised the artist I wouldn’t reveal his or her identity, but I would be remiss if I didn’t share the piece here. You may recognize these two parties as Jon Lennon and Josh Filer. Or you may be too lost in the nutsack and the grotesque double cumshot. But here is one of my favorite pieces ever. I’m sure you’ll enjoy it as much as I do. It’s worth the $20 I spent on it and so much more.

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