Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Terrificon 2018, Part One ~~ A "Comical Wednesday" Post

The above illustration graced my blog's sidebar for two or three weeks, promising to give you my "report" on TerrifiCon... or is that Terrificon? Or maybe TERRIFICon? It's spelled all three ways on their website! Well, by "report" all I mean is that I'm about to tell you the people and panels I went to see, and what a great time I had! This will be another multi-parter, but I promise you, it'll have nowhere near as many chapters as my recent "Insect Asides" series. I should also point out that I'm not necessarily going to describe any events in strict chronological order!

So here goes:

Terrificon 2018 was held from August 17-19 at the beautiful and spacious brand-new convention center at Uncasville, Connecticut's Mohegan Sun Casino & Resort. Last year, My friend John and I went to Terrificon 2017 on only one afternoon (as described here and here), and I managed to get a paltry four signatures from comic book professionals.

This year, John and I planned to attend on both Friday and Saturday. Like last year, my main objective was to obtain the signatures of various comic book artists and writers, but with two days to play with, I'd obviously be able to meet more of them. There were also a few TV and movie celebrities whom I had hopes of meeting, plus John and I also wanted to attend some "panels." (Panels basically consist of a handful of people discussing a particular comic-related subject. Some panels, of course, deal with other various forms of entertainment.)

John and I were both quite impressed with Mohegan Sun's new convention center. We each grabbed a copy of the convention's program and walked in. The very first thing I saw that impressed me was a giant statue of Thanos, a Marvel Comics villain who's been around for forty-five years... and I've been reading about him almost that long (late 1975), plus you just know I back-tracked and read his earlier appearances, right? Thanos, of course, was the main antagonist in this year's blockbuster film, Avengers: Infinity War. (Several writers and artists known for working with Thanos, including his creator, Jim Starlin, were at Terrificon. More on that in Part Two!)

I've always loved the character of Thanos, so I figured that this was a good omen that I was going to have a great time!

The movie and TV celebrities I was hoping to meet were:

Jon Bernthal, who had a secondary but important role in The Wolf of Wall Street, but is probably best known for his current role of the Punisher in Netflix's series of the same name. Unfortunately, he had to cancel his appearance at the last minute.

Ralph Macchio, famous for starring in The Karate Kid, as well as being in The Outsiders, My Cousin Vinny, and many others.

Sam Jones, who portrayed the titular hero in Flash Gordon, as well as a somewhat demented version of himself in Ted and Ted 2.

Pom Klementieff -- *sigh* -- who's played Mantis in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, and Avengers: The Infinity War.

And last, but certainly not least, Henry Winkler, a man with several acting roles in his resume, the most famous being Fonzie on ABC's Happy Days!

Well, fellow babies, I may as well confess right here that I didn't actually get to meet any of these stars! Things just didn't work out that way.

However, Henry Winkler was scheduled to appear on one of those panels I mentioned earlier. Instead of a panel moderator discussing Henry's career with Henry himself and the audience, Mr. Winkler took the stage all alone and regaled the crowd with a well-prepared talk about his personal history, from being born to a couple of rather unsupportive parents all the way through his fame & fortune and an actor, as well as little side trips to some of his other successful ventures in life (such as the children's books he's written). He turned out to be quite the motivational speaker. It made me (and John) wonder if he'd ever done that professionally, like Tony Robbins, Wayne Dyer, Susan Powter, and so many others.

As you can see, Terrificon could have fit several people besides Henry on that panel. They weren't necessary.

Jon Bernthal wasn't the only scheduled guest who didn't show. Unfortunately, comic writer and artist Keith Giffen couldn't attend, reportedly due to a stroke.

So, you may be wondering, did I get to meet anyone?

Oh, sure. I met writer Mike W. Barr, and had him sign my copy of The Brave and the Bold #200, and my trade paperback collecting the Camelot 3000 series Barr did with artist Brian Bolland.

Sorry, I can't show you the signature on this one! Mike W. Barr signed this one on the
inside, and I didn't want to chance wrecking the binding by scanning the interior for this post.

Writer Roger Stern has written a lot of comics which I've enjoyed over the years, but the coolest thing I could put my hands on in the days leading up to the convention was my copy of a trade paperback of stories he wrote which artist John Byrne drew. The stories featured one of my all-time favorite characters, Captain America.

Most of the writers and (especially) artists charge something for their signatures. How much they charge varies widely. An autograph from comic legend Neal Adams autograph will cost you fifty dollars! Roger Stern had a sort of "tip jar" and when I asked what he charged for his signatures, he said that was up to me. Unfortunately, all I had in my wallet were twenty dollar bills. I explained that to him, and he just smiled and told me not to worry about it.

So no, I didn't "worry." But the next day I returned and stuffed a couple of bucks in the jar!

I also got a signature from a writer named Paul Kupperberg, who'd written one series in particular that I loved: Arion the Immortal. This six-issue mini-series was a sequel of sorts to an ongoing series called Arion Lord of Atlantis. The earlier series had established that Arion had been born in 45,000 B.C. and frankly, I didn't follow that first series. However, when I read about the concept of the upcoming mini-series, I was hooked.

The seriocomic second series established that Arion was immortal, and that he and much of his supporting cast from Arion Lord of Atlantis were all still alive in the late 20th century -- albeit looking like any ordinary elderly people -- and living in Greenwich Village!

If there are any actual "rules" for owning and operating a comic shop, one of them is that you should order your store's stock according to how many items you actually believe you'll sell, and not order extra copies of stuff just because you happen to like it.

Well, at that time (1992) I owned and operated a comic book and collectibles store. I had so much faith that Arion the Immortal would be a good read, I broke that rule! I ordered extra copies (just a few, not hundreds, nor even dozens) and placed one in the subscription files of several of my regular customers. I made them an offer I'd never made before nor since: If they would give the first issue of the title a try, and didn't like it, they could return the book for a full refund (only $1.50, but still...).

As it turned out, some of them signed up for the next five issues, and some didn't, but not one of them asked for their money back.

Of course, I told Paul Kupperberg that little story when I had him sign my copy of Arion the Immortal #1. Not only that, but the series' artist, Ron Wilson, was also at Terrificon that weekend. (I'd forgotten that he drew it!) So I got both of them to sign it (and you know I told him the story too).

Okey-dokey, folks. I'm going to stop here and give you the old "To Be Continued." I'll see you with another "Comical Wednesday" post next week, plus I'm almost certain to give you a non-comic-related post this coming Saturday or Sunday.

Thanks for your time.

Captain Terrificon, Terrificon logo and TerrifiCon promotional images and copy are Copyright AND Trademarks of Big Fedora Marketing, LLC. and Mitch Hallock 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018. All rights reserved.


  1. Well, there you have it. I only hope there aren't any razzer-frazzer typos this time around, cuz I had to leave the library in a hurry to give a ride to a friend of mine! If there are, I'll fix 'em later.

  2. I find the whole idea of these sort of conventions quite amazing and baffling. I don't think we have anything comparable in the UK, although I could be wrong. :)

    Susan A Eames at
    Travel, Fiction and Photos

    1. I didn't know whether the UK had comic conventions, Susan, but I assumed they did. A quick search told me that they do indeed. Several! We're not the only crazy ones, it seems!

  3. $50 is sure quite the charge. I like the idea of the tip jar. Sounds like you got to meet at least a few you were trying to, or did you just happen to have those comics on you? haha Winkler sure can talk. Seen him in interviews and on he goes.

    1. I had gone through the Terrificon website's info about creators, celebrities, etc. who were scheduled to appear. I made a list of everyone I hoped to meet, and I went through my comics and grabbed 1-3 comics by every comic creator I hoped to see. So I brought a stack of books (and the list) with me.

  4. psst! I let you a comment in camera shy ;)

    1. I went to my comment moderation page and posted it. Thanks, Gloria!

  5. Silver, it's too bad you weren't able to meet some of the celebrities on your list. At least you had the opportunity to listen to Henry Winkler talk. Did he do a Q&A? I was wondering what they charged for an autograph, $50.00 seems like a lot. I like the tip jar idea and it was nice of you to go back and slip in a few dollars. It sounds like it was a fun day for you Silver.

    So, tell me are you hidden in any photos? Hey, I'm curious like a cat-woman (ha-ha)

    1. Yes, Henry Winkler answered some questions from the audience. Seems like a really nice guy.

      Comic creators set their own rates. Writers usually sign for free or ask for a token payment of one dollar. Artists generally charge five or ten dollars. They are often approached by fans to do sketches of particular characters, and these sketches are time-consuming but bring in some very good money. Therefore, if one, or two, or thirty people in a row ask for an artist's autograph, they're theoretically keeping him or her from drawing a picture that'll fetch them big money, so they charge something as a minor compensation. Plus, a lot of fans turn around and sell the autographed books (or whatever else they have the artist sign) for a profit, so I suppose the artist figures, "Why should this fan get something, and I don't get a piece of it?" (I think I'll edit that explanation and put it in Part Two or Three!)

      The handful of photos I'll show in this series were all taken by my friend John, and I'm pretty sure I'm not in any of them!

    2. Hmm good point Silver, I forgot about the resale value for autographs. I have a book of poetry written and autographed by Burton Cummings and I am not selling it! I bought it as I absolutely admire his style of poetry. A hard copy too! A real treasure for me!

      Did you play any slots while at Mohegan? Ha I binged watched the Punisher. That was a raw series that caused some restless sleep. It would have been cool to meet him though.

    3. Burton Cummings?!?! Oh, my God! I am a huge fan and consider him one of my major influences as a singer, although I never did a single song by him (solo or with the Guess Who) in any of my bands. Remember my post about him/them from last November (Reprinted from a 2008 David'Z RantZ post)?

      I've only played slots once in my life, in Las Vegas. It was in 1982, in a two-hour stopover on a bus trip from Massachusetts to L.A.

      The Punisher program was pretty good, I thought.

    4. Hey Silver - Maybe, Burton will play Mohegan again! One can hope.

      A two hour stop over in Vegas, were you playing there?

      Have a nice weekend!

    5. No. Just doing research for a never-finished novel called Peace Meal [sic].

  6. I'm envious that you got to see Henry Winkler. I loved him as The Fonz when I was a teen, but I absolutely adore his character in Arrested Development. Not being a TV person, I never see anything when it's first popular, but I make it a point to seek shows out on Netflix when multiple people have recommended them. Winkler is steller in that show, and I find myself wondering how much of his lines are improv.

    1. I don't have cable or satellite at my home. My TV is just there to show thousands of videotapes or dozens of DVDs. Therefore, the only current programs (network TV, cable, Netflix, Amazon...) I see are what my sister or my friend John watch (when I'm visiting). So I've never seen Arrested Development.

    2. You sound like us. We have Netflix, only because our oldest son pays for it. Otherwise, DVDs or nothing. I just can't see paying for something I just about never turn on.

    3. I knew a guy who used to say that about hookers...

  7. Love this post. Fifty bucks seems a bit excessive (especially since he reinked some of his work and ruined it), but I'm not surprised you stuffed a couple of extra bucks in that jar. I know all the names except for Kupperberg.

    1. And you'll probably know all the names in the next two chapters, Blue, except maybe one or two.

    2. Just bought myself this omnibus: CLICK!

      It's a hefty sum but it was worth it.

    3. Looks like a really nice collection!

    4. The paper is thick and not too glossy; DC seem to have finally solved their binding issues; and it's clearly an omnibus made with love, not just dollar signs, in mind. So many modern comics look like beep, being drawn in a computer for crying out loud (yes, I hate that), but this one is the real deal.


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