Images © Todd Klein.
About a year ago Asbury Park Comic Con organizer Cliff Galbraith invited me to be a guest at this year’s con, which I was happy to agree to, as I’d attended the 2013 con and enjoyed it. Cliff asked if there were any other pros I might want to invite. I suggested John Workman and Dave Hunt, who had also attended in 2013, and then I thought of J.H. Williams III and his wife Wendy. Jim, Wendy and I have been friends and workmates since the late 1990s. I talk often to Jim on the phone, but we’ve only met in person at the San Diego Comicon, where we enjoyed each other’s company. I floated the idea to Jim and Wendy that they might consider coming to the Asbury Park con and visit Ellen and I on the same trip, thinking they probably wouldn’t have time, but to my surprise they agreed. Last Tuesday evening I picked them up at the Philadelphia airport, and we spent several days together at our house, and doing short trips, like one to the beach in Sea Isle City, where Wendy collected some shells.
We also visited historic Victorian Cape May, where Jim took some pictures, as Ellen and Wendy look on.
This was at the Emlen Physick Estate (1879), one of the premiere Victorian mansions in Cape May. We walked around to see other houses, and drove over to see the lighthouse in Cape May Point. We also looked for Cape May Diamonds on Sunset Beach. It was a fun few days with lots of good talk and good meals. Jim and Wendy were besmitten by our cats Tigger, Leo and Katie too, they’re big cat lovers, as Ellen and I are.
Friday afternoon we all drove to Asbury Park in my car for the Con. Asbury Park is still hurting from Hurricane Sandy, and the boardwalk Convention Hall where last year’s con was held is under reconstruction.
Instead it was held at the Berkeley Hotel nearby, which is also under renovation. We stayed here, and there were some issues with the hotel, but we enjoyed the con all the same. For instance, their wifi service was a joke, and I was unable to blog from the con or even get online except through my phone. Work to be done there. But con organizers Cliff Galbraith and Robert Bruce were gracious and helpful, and Robert’s wife supplied us with good food. We also enjoyed some meals out in the area.
When the con opened Saturday morning I was sitting between J.H. and Wendy on one side and old friends John and Cathy Workman and Dave and Phyllis Hunt on the other. This early view from my table shows the aisle with just a few folks, but it quickly filled up and was pretty packed much of the weekend.
John Workman and I had a panel on lettering Saturday morning, which seemed to go well. We have lots of stories, and enjoy sharing them.
Back on the con floor, J.H. was doing one of three commissions he was able to squeeze in during the show between meeting fans and signing books. Jim doesn’t like to do quick sketches, so he only takes a very low number of commissions, and those are more finished figures.
Outside, in addition to a variety of food trucks, there was a collection of comics-related vehicles on display. We’d seen some of them last year, like the 1960s Batmobile in the back here, but the Bat-cycle and sidecar were new. Also from the Batman TV show, the sidecar contains a very small go-cart that Robin could drive off in himself. It was tiny and comical, not to mention uncomfortable-looking.
At the CO2 Comics booth I met Bill Cuccinotta and Gerry Giovinco, both involved in the early independent company Comico. I’ve corresponded with them, but not met them before. Both have designed some logos, Bill has also done some for DC Comics.
Here I am with John Workman and Dave Hunt at their table. They made some sales and enjoyed talking to fans, as I did.
One fan had this Captain America shield he’d just had signed by Jim Steranko, another con guest. I love Jim’s signature, and had to get a photo.
Former DC editor and writer Jack C. Harris came by for some talk and good memories. I also saw Howard Bender, making it four people I worked on staff with at DC Comics in my time there from 1977-1987 that were at the show.
Jim’s panel interview with Hannah Means-Shannon rounded off the program schedule Sunday afternoon. Then he and Wendy finally took some time to walk around the show and meet other pros, which they’d been too busy to do earlier. Around 5 PM we headed back to our home in Cape May County, and today I’ll take them to the airport for their return trip to California. It’s been a good week and lots of fun spending time with old friends both here and at the con.