Convention Reports


Picture of Dan signing autographs is courtesy of the Salisbury Post. To see more pictures of Monster Con go to

 I'm not quite sure when this con report will be posted on my website, but I'll let you all know now that I am starting it the Monday morning after Monster Con 2007. I gotta tell you, I always have a slight buzz the Monday after a convention. It comes from the high I get from being around my fellow science fiction, horror and comic book fans, aka the other people who get how cool all that stuff that matters to me really is. I love being in the thick of it all: the dealer's room, the costumes and, since I've started going to cons as a guest, meeting my fellow peers in the business with whom I get to talk shop and just shoot the breeze. Yep, nothing beats a Monday morning after a con. The only thing better is the Monday morning feeling after a convention like Monster Con.

 The show was put on by Ray Franks of the Comics Monstore in Salisbury, NC (check the store out online at, and I applaud him for undertaking his first convention. I've worked on staff at cons in the past, and believe me, these suckers can be back-breakers. Being on staff at a con is kind of like throwing a killer party for all your friends. you go out of your way to line up all the food, drinks and entertainment you know your friends will enjoy because you like it all yourself. The only problem is that you're so busy making sure everyone else is having a good time, you never have a chance to enjoy the festivities yourself. It is pretty hard work, and I don't recommend it for the timid or the weak. But when a con works, and it all comes together without a hitch, it can be very rewarding. From where I sat, Monster Con worked very, very well. I got to meet some really terrific attendees who love Dennis the Menace (I signed a lot of free cartoons for folks who stopped at my table) and I got copies of Herc and Thor and issues of Back Issue into the hands of people who I know will enjoy them.

Now that I think about it, Monster Con reminded me a bit of RovaCon, which used to be held in Roanoke, Va. RovaCon was the first fan con I ever attended outside of the Triad and I used to love attending it every year. It was held during the early Fall (much like Monster Con was this year), so the weather wasn't too hot and it wasn't too cold; the atmosphere was always relaxed and easy-going, with something always happening, but not to the point that you felt like you were going to be missing something equally cool (much like Monster Con was this year) and RovaCon was a family event, a place where a mom and a dad could bring the little ones and be assured they wouldn't be traumatized by what they might see (much like Monster Con was this year).

The only bad thing about being a guest at a convention is that you often are assigned one place to sit during most of the show, so you don't get to walk around and mingle with the other guests. I did make a point of introducing and talking with Gary Friedrich, the creator of Marvel Comics' Ghost Rider though. Gary's a real nice guy, real pleasure to talk with. I also tracked down my buddies from GravyBoy, Marty Blevins and Brian Shearer and caught up with them a little while. By the way, in case I haven't said it on my website yet, GravyBoy is a terrific comic book! For more information on this title, check out the official website at

Gary, Marty and Brian ended up being seated inside the Salisbury Civic Center where Monster Con was held, and I and several other guests were seated outside on the walkway leading into the Civic Center. From where I sat (no pun intended), I think we had the best seats in the house. We had some beautiful weather outside. It was nice and sunny while I was there and there was no trace of the rain clouds I dealt with when I first got up on Saturday morning. Plus, everyone attending the con had to go by our tables. That made for some terrific people watching, and it made it pretty easy for the guests there to introduce themselves to everyone attending the event.

I always seem to luck out when it comes to being seated next to really cool people at conventions, and Monster Con was no exception. To my left I had Charlie Underhill, the M.O.V. of M.O.V. Entertainment and the creator of Yellow Jackets; Jay Gobble, the man behind Epitaph Graphics and the book Tales of Insanity and Jason Carr. Together, this trio of Triad based comics creators are the members of Vanguards of Comics. All three were super nice guys, and it turns out Charlie has also had work published by Antarctic Press in Gold Digger Annual #12 and Gold Digger Swimsuit #13. I suggest everyone check out Vanguards of Comics myspace site at

Directly to my right I had Rich Stahnke, the writer and artist of The Furious Fist of the Drunken Monkey. Kids, this book has it all! A drunken monkey that talks! Homages to classic DC and Marvel Comics! A drunken monkey that talks! A talking toad with gender issues! A drunken monkey that talks! A wicked sense of humor! And have I already mentioned the drunken monkey that talks? This is good stuff, kids!

And, you can check out Rich's myspace site at

Yep, Monster Con was a blast, and I'm looking forward to attending next year's show. For anyone reading this con report, check at the Comic Monstore website and hopefully there will be some details posted soon about what will be coming up in 2008.

The following pictures were taken by the 501st.

 Real quick additional! A good buddy of mine, Robert Clyde Allen, just emailed me a link to a story about Monster Con that appeared in the Salisbury Post. You can read about the show and see some photos from it at:

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