MidSouthCon Memories- my weekend in Memphis
Another MidSouthCon at the Memphis Hilton has come and gone.
Nicki and I enjoyed hanging out at the SMT/Memphis Star Wars Fan Force table, doing a few panels, doing some shopping in the dealers room, and hanging out with friends last Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
I got off work a bit late on Friday (“I’m late, I’m late!” as usual) so after a quick trek across town I met up with Nicki for some quick dinner across the street from the hotel. We ran into our friends the Browns and got caught up a bit with them before heading over to the convention. Also saw my buddy Kevin Williams at the local ghost hunters table.
We got there too late to check out the art show or dealers room (they had both just closed for the night). Luckily Nicki had dropped off my art for the art show the night before on her way home from work. (Thanks, Babe!)
Later that night I got to be on a Batman panel discussing the Caped Crusader’s 75th anniversary. 2014 is turning out to be another “Year of the Bat”.
I brought along some of my favorite (and oldest) bat-collectibles for show and tell- a couple which were as old as I am. Had a great time talking about the Dark Knight with James Weakly, Siri Eroom, Lucas Leverett, Guest of Honor Daniel Wallace, and moderator Robert Brogden– and got some good props on my props!
Good seeing Daniel again. He’s written a lot of books on Star Wars and DC Comics and has been to the Hernando Public Library (mine and Nicki’s local library) a couple times now. Great guy and awesome panelist. Hated I didn’t get to see much of him over the weekend. Con’s unfortunately can be a blur. Apologies to folks who went to the 11pm sketch card panel and thought I might be there. Unfortunately I had to back out of it before the convention due to my day job workload and early bedtime these days. Hopefully I can do it next year at an earlier time.
The next morning Nicki and I slept in a little, but made it to the con in time to catch most of Dan’s Q & A panel. Like I said, we have several of his books- including this one!
After, since the On-Line Comics panel was going on at the same time as the Star Wars panel Nicki headed down the hall to catch Dan Wallace and John Jackson Miller talk about Star Wars. JJM later stopped by the SMT table to sign copies of his latest Star Wars novel, STAR WARS: KENOBI.
I decided to stay and listen to my fellow Mid-South Cartoonists Association members, Greg Cravens, Lonnie Easterling, and Charles Ettinger discuss webcomics. I’m always looking to find out more on being more successful with webcomics. Good, fun, informative, and lively discussion on creating comics, promoting them, merchandising, and more. Once it was over I then headed towards the room Nicki was in for her upcoming Doctor Who panel at 3pm.
Unfortunately, unlike a TARDIS it wasn’t bigger on the inside! It turned out to be a packed house and standing room only- people were sitting on the floor, against the walls, and even out in the hall! Heck, even a couple panelists stood during it!
I was very proud of my wife. She’s moderated panels before, but she really showed her knowledge and love of all things Who here. At times she had her hands full trying to cat-wrangle some of the audience (there seems to always be someone up front who thinks they are/should be on the panel), but Nicki did a great job keeping things under control and the panel moving. She even got to school a young fan on what being a “fangirl” means. I hope Nicki does a post about it on her website FangirlWednesday. 😉
One of the panelists- Sylvia Cox, brought along some amazing Doctor Who books- many from the ’60s and ’70s! I really dug the photos and illustrations. Hoping they move this panel to a bigger room next year. There will be lots of new Who to talk about!
We took a break from panels and headed to the art show and dealers room. Really loved seeing the art show and dealers room together in the same space. Was easier to get to and seemed much more open. After dropping a few bucks on a Wonder Woman action figure and some hand-made Dr. Who merch for Nicki we headed out to the Pro Row in the main hall. There Nicki picked up a signed copy of Kathryn Sullivan’s book “Chicks Dig Time Lords”. Kathryn was one of the panelists on the Doctor Who panel with Nicki earlier.
After that it was back up the the SMT table for us. We had a great view of some Incredible costumes!
We got the gang together and headed back across the street with JJM, the Browns, and our friend Rhonda for a “quick” dinner. (That’s Traci Brown and Nicki rockin’ their Dr. Who shirts and lanyards.)
Nicki and I had taken JJM out for dinner to one of our favorite local restaurants on Thursday night after his book signing appearance at our library in Hernando, and we were two for two on slow service. Ugh…hopefully better luck next time.
Luckily we made it back in time for one of John’s writing panels and the Universal Monsters panel Nicki and I were on at 8pm.
Nicki moderated the panel which consisted of me, Josh Plock, Mark Berry, and the Commercial Appeal’s John Beifuss. If you know me, you know I’ve been a monster fan since I was a kid.
We talked about the original inspirations for the monsters, the iconic make-up by Jack Pierce and Lon Chaney, Sr., the later creations they inspired such as “The Munsters”, the remakes, horror hosts, childhood memories, and more. I had a few art prints with me that I gave to a few who were brave enough to ask questions during the panel. Again, Nicki did a great job as moderator, and got some nice compliments.
We took a break and walked down towards the masquerade ballroom to see some of the costumes. Then headed back up front to catch our friend Tim Brown on the Fan Film Don’ts panel. Enjoyed talking about some of or favorite- and least favorite fan-films we’ve watched over the year. It was past my bedtime so we headed home.
The next morning Nicki and I grabbed some breakfast at Panera’s and headed over to the con. I had a noon Illustration Art panel with Aidana WillowRaven, Robert Kohl, Dee Evitt, Kelli Neier, and Keith Wood. We discussed what is illustration art and how is it different or similar to comic art. Also talked about how to try and convey what the story is about and entice a reader/fan to pick up the book/comic/album based on one single image. Another good discussion.
After the panel was over we took another walk around the con, hit the dealers room, and talked to friends before heading to JJM’s final panel.
John is originally from Memphis and MidSouthCon is a homecoming for him each spring- and a nice break from the cold weather in Wisconsin. He has had his writing credits grow substantially since leaving the M-town from writing Iron Man and Star Wars comics, to his own creator owned novels, and now New York Times best selling Star Wars and Star Trek novels. He’s even had time to write some Simpsons comics! Not too shabby.
After John’s panel it was time for Nicki and I to “take out the trash”- uh, I mean “pick up my art” from the art show. I ended up selling one painting (the cartoon Frank one).
We said our goodbyes and headed south towards home. As we got closer to Southaven we decided to make a pit stop for lunch at the Memphis BBQ Company. We each had a pulled pork sandwich, and shared some cheese fritters and pork rinds. Great way to finish off the weekend!
Thanks to the MSC con staff and volunteers. Looking forward to coming back again next year- hope to see you there!