Dave's Mid-Ohio Con 96 Notes

Basically, this file includes my short report on the 1996 Mid-Ohio Con followed by reviews of several comics I got at the con.

Dave's Mid-Ohio Con MiniReport: "What We Lack In Detail, We Make Up For In Speed."

     Elayne is going to thwack me for this, but what the heck.  Here's my
short report on the Mid-Ohio Con.  I didn't go to many panels or take notes
or really pay much attention to certain things, so this is going to be
full of holes.  Still, it should be worth taking a moment to read.


     Had fun driving to the hotel at night in the rain on a street I'd never
been on before (despite it being a ten minute WALK from my place).  Let's
just say that if it had been a real Friday night with real traffic, I'd
at the least be minus one car.  Eep!
     After making sure I hadn't parked my car somewhere it would be towed
from, I made my way to Chateau Chaput on the tenth floor of the hotel.
One enthusiastic (and mildly painful, since I'd pulled a muscle in my side
the other day) greeting later, I settled in to join the wait for everyone to
arrive.  Early guests included Leah Adezio (hey, she HAD to be there on
time, her room was next door, no excuses), Dave Eppley and Sidne Gail
Para...er, Ward.  As I helped Leah find a local 70s station, Elayne decided
to definitely schedule the party next year for 9 instead of 8, so we could
all go to the Laughing Ogre party.
     [Note: Okay, everyone...next November let's all remind Elayne!  }->]
     Gradually more people showed up, including Roger Stern, Dan Mishkin
and Tony Isabella.  Leah played with Tony's chest hair, and I'm currently
debating whether to put my photo of this on the web.  Could the world
handle it?
     I dunno what all happened at the party, because despite the fact that
the room was a standard hotel room in size, there was too much going on to
pay attention to it all.  Although, AFAIK, the hotel didn't try to kick us
out for noise this time.
     Got some pictures of Elayne and me, Elayne with me and David White,
and Sidne in an interesting pose with a bottle of Sam Adams.  Some or all
of these will go up on my webpage in a few weeks when I have time.
     I hear some funky stuff happened after I left, but didn't get many
details, so I'll leave the telling to those who stuck around.


     Bussed in, dropped my coat in the anime room (hey, con organizers!  If 
you're listening, an official coat check might not be a bad idea for a con
set in late November...not everyone stays at the hotel) and headed straight 
for the Small Press Expo.  I was wearing my Amoeba Adventures/Akiko t-shirt,
and wanted to show it off ASAP.  For the record, both Max Ink (Amoeba
Adventures) and Mark Crilley (Akiko) loved it.  I got them to sign it too,
     The dealers rooms defined "Madding Throng" and it was rather odd to
see three people waiting for Waid's signature but scores waiting in line
at the Chaos Comics multimedia booth.  Picked up the Bone calendar (neat
stuff) and a few odds and ends.  And, of course, Amoeba Adventures #24
(review coming tonight or tomorrow of it and other books I tried out at
the con).
     Then it was time for Comic Book Squares, where nine (well, more like
12-14) comic pro types acted like the Hollywood Squares and contestants
competed for exciting (well, not that exciting) prizes.  Waid had great
fun intentionally giving wrong answers that sounded convincing, then
taunting the contestant with a chant of "Who do you trust?  Who do you
trust?"  And, as is inevitable, some of the questions were wrong (Jay
Garrick didn't breathe hard water fumes, it was heavy water, for example).
The littlest Bierbaum was something of a crowd pleaser, and Roger Stern
played at the Don Pardoe role.  I got pictures of the lot of them and will
arrange them in Square order on the webpage-to-be, and here's a list of
who was there: Darryl Banks, Dick DeBartolo (of Mad magazine), Tom and
Mary Bierbaum, Tony Isabella, Roger Stern, Al "Spawn" Simmons and Paul
"Terminally Non-Mainstream" Jenkins in one square (they were a popular
choice, since you could be almost certain they'd get the answer wrong),
Mark "Who Do You Trust?" Waid, Leah Adezio and Dan Mishkin in one lonely
square, and finally Berni Wrightson and Joy.
     Toy find of the day for me was a Rictor (of X-Force) figure, with
wind-up vibration action.  This is such a demented toy, and the expression
on Rictor's face is priceless.


     Time for the sushi restaurant trip!  I went along more for the
company than the food, since my tastes are hopelessly pedestrian.  The
whole night was an intermittent game of "Stump Mark Waid," and the daring
writer actually ordered a full assortment of sushi on his first time out
at a sushi place.  Wouldn't eat the fish eggs, though, but he did try the
squid.  The bust-a-gut-laughing moment of the night (for me at least) came
when my friend and manga-information-source ordered Natto and convinced
Steven Chaput and Mark Crilley to try some.  Natto, for those who have yet
to make its inimitable acquaintance, is a soy product which looks like
peanut butter, tastes so-so and has the consistency of warm snot.  It's
something of a macho food, if you've eaten it you can brag about it.  This
was only Drew's second time having it, and the first was after three very
large beers, but he managed to eat four of the six rolls.  Mark Crilley
popped his down when no one was looking and then kept a straight face.
     The esteemed Mr. Chaput, on the other hand, was not so stoic.  In fact,
Elayne may want to censor this whole section before letting him read it,
since even the next day the mere mention of Natto made him turn green.
     Anyway, one thing which may come out of this night is that we made an
effort to convince Waid to do a story where Max takes Bart to a Japanese
restaurant.  "Hey, what's this green paste?  AAAAAAAAAGH!"
     After dinner, I went home while the others braved Happy Fun Columbus
Road Construction to get back to the hotel for a few more hours of silliness
that I'm sure will find its way into someone's con report.  Oh, and I'll
let Elayne tell you about Crilley and New York City.  }->


     Bus fun.  The Jingle Bell Run was held down by the Hyatt today at
11:30...just as the bus I was taking should have arrived at the hotel.
Instead, it was routed way out of the way and I ended up with a fifteen
minute walk from the bus stop to the hotel.  Whee.
     Did one last swing of the dealer rooms and got a Gundam-in-a-bubble
toy, then hit the guest display area and checked out the pages for Akiko
#9 and part of #10.  I avoided reading too much of the dialogue, since I
didn't want to totally spoil it for myself, but there's a two-page spread
in #10 that is just to freakin' die for.  I can hardly wait...and thanks to
Mark sticking to a Monthly schedule, I won't have too long to wait.  }->
Sirius likes Crilley.
     Then I hung out at the Lulu booth for a while.  My card-gaming friend
Rich Sanford got himself a membership, but I weaseled out for the time
being...I probably spent way more than I should have this weekend as it
is, maybe in a few months when I finish paying for my teeth.  Over the
course of maybe 20 minutes, Elayne and I finally managed to tell Ed (the
other Killer-E) about the troll on the HYPE thread.  It says something about
the business the booth was doing that it took so long to tell what was
basically a 60 second story.  }->  I picked up the Lulu minicomics, more
fuel for my Mid-Ohio Rant Special.
     Next I went on what I figured would be another quick trip through the
Small Press Expo, to pick up a few comics I'd been mulling over getting
(Rabid Monkey and Sheba, more reviews), but it turned into a nearly four
hour campout at Max Ink's table.  It was just so much more fun chatting
and brainstorming with him than wandering around the "Golden/Silver Age
or Marvel Quarterboxes" dealer room, eh?  Among other things, we discussed
how Doctor Doom would fix the comics industry (answer: he wouldn't, he'd
just take over the whole world and let the small things fix themselves
once he'd painted out the broad strokes and killed all the slime) and
the future of the Amoeba Adventures book (info in my Amoeba Adventures
Rant).  Picked up the original art of the alternate cover for #23, which
was real fun to carry home in the "gusts to 30mph" wind.  }->  Oh, and
Rich "Bleeding Money" Sanford dropped by and made Max very happy by
buying a complete run of the series, yay!

     Then I got home, took off the silly green plastic strip that had
adorned my wrist since Friday night, had dinner, and came out here to
get caught up on the net.  The End...or is it?

     Dave Van Domelen, "Some Sidekicks are meat-filled." - Menu notice
Leah saw on the way down to Ohio (I may have the quote wrong, and I'll
let her or Elayne explain the context...how's that for making people eager
to read Elayne's report?)

Dave's Mid-Ohio Con Rant Special:

     Friends of Lulu Omnibus minicomic "FoL Minibus?" (and other minis)
     Amoeba Adventures #24 "Remembrance of Things Future"
     Board of Superheroes starring Cynicalman "All Fired Up"
     The Rabid Monkey #1 "Take the Monkey and Run?"
     Sheba #1-2 "Catwrap"

These are comics I picked up at Mid-Ohio Con, mainly at the Small Press
Expo (all but the Lulu stuff, basically).


     FoL Omnibus: minicomic - Elayne and Leah have the first four pages,
looks good except it's hard to read at minicomic size.  The second four
pages of "Dial I for Imagination" is also pretty good.  This is more of
a preview for a later full-sized publication, IIRC.  Recommended.  50cents
     Other Lulu minicomics: Basically public service announcements and/or
propaganda.  1-2 pages doesn't allow for much subtlety.  But hey, they're
a quarter, pick one up of you're at a con.
     Amoeba Adventures #24: Protoplasm Press - Story good enough to cruise 
over the plot holes and logical problems, very creepy in places.  Strongly 
recommended. $2.00/$2.50Cn
     Board of Superheroes #1: Not Available Comics - Fun minicomic from
Matt Feazell.  Recommended if you can find it.  You see, it's Not
Available.  }->  50cents
     Rabid Monkey #1: DBI Comics - Think Gon in modern times and you get
pretty close, despite the fact the creator never heard of Gon until after
doing the story.  Uneven in places, and definitely not for kids, but
overall pretty good.  Mildly recommended.  $2.25/$3.25Cn
     Sheba #1-2: Sick Mind Press - Pretty good art and story, although I
can see the premise wearing thin if the series lasts beyond #6 or so.
Mildly recommended.  $2.95/$3.75Cn


     Lulu Minibus: Two short pieces, "Ari of Lemuria" and "Dial I for
Imagination."  Ari is the work of Leah Adezio and Elayne Wechsler-Chaput
(so you can be pretty sure Elayne won't be reviewing this }->), about
two young friends from an undersea society.  Can't tell too much more
about the background from 3 pages, but the "fish out of water" angle is
very well explored (hey, why doesn't Aquaman ever forget where he is and
try to swim away through the air?).  Unfortunately, it's kinda hard to read
the dialogue, since being shrunk to minicomic size brings the lettering
down to about 3-point size.  Leah's art is reminiscent of Colleen Doran's
work, and probably has a few more influences I don't recognize.
     Elayne can be reached at firehead@panix.com, I don't have Leah's
email memorized but I'm sure Elayne can pass any messages on (and for
those reading this on RAC*, Leah posts regularly so shouldn't be hard to
     "Dial I for Imagination" is written in the form of an autobiography,
although since I don't know Naomi Basner I dunno how much of this is her
and how much is fiction.  Your basic "Grew up reading comics and it gave
me a vivid imagination" story.  Not that I've seen piles and piles of this
sort of story, but I have seen it before a couple of times.

     Other Lulu Stuff: Most of these are a bit too "rah rah!" for my
tastes...propaganda in a good cause, but still propaganda.  Elim Mak's
"Anatomy of a 90s Female Superhero" was amusing though.  }->

     Amoeba Adventures "The Dark Ages Part 5: Death": Damn, Karate Kactus
is really dead.  I was hoping that the lack of internal organs would save
him, but then again, real cacti don't do too well when you punch a hole
in them either.
     The story opens with a flashback to Isuzu (Karate Kactus) inspiring
Prometheus to keep up the good fight, then cuts to Isuzu's funeral.  The
first part of the issue is sort of an eerie "open mystery," where the
readers know Alex is the Dark One, but no one else does.  Lines like,
"You've done enough already, Alex," take on new double meanings.
     Mitsu (Ninja Ant) finally shows the limits of his immaturity, shows
that underneath the layers of goofballness he *is* an adult, he *does*
have the ability to take things seriously.  When he's with Kyoko after the
service, he doesn't do anything "Ninja Ant-like," instead truly mourning
for the cactus who was like a father to them both.
     Of course, his other attribute, that of being the Punching Bag On
Legs, is still around, and the Dark One slaps him around a bit just to
emphasize the hopelessness of the situation.  Between the emotional blows
of the funeral and the physical ones of the Dark One's attack, Mitsu's
just been thrown in the forge and struck on the anvil...he'll either
break or come out of this stronger than he's ever been.
     Speaking of forges, Hank shattered.  Dawn, in one of the scenes that
sort of stretches credibility, tries to help him get his head together by
cutting his wild mane of hair and shaving him...from her hospital bed.
Still, the scene works despite this "Huh?"-factor.
     Things must hit the fan this issue, and hit they do.  Alex reveals
himself to the group as the Dark One, in a rather unsettlingly creepy
scene in which he both totally abdicates any personal responsibility he
may have for his actions (by claiming his actions were inevitable...
apparently he still remembers the future from when he lived life backwards)
and shows how messed up he is as a result of them.  "I didn't think I'd
feel so *guilty* in the end.  I had to *cut* myself just to feel PUNISHED,"
he says, blood dripping from his hands.
     Mitsu, of course, goes berserk and attacks.  And is one-punched by
the Dark One, who now has all of Hank's nearly-infinite powers as well as
a certain knowledge of the future.  Then Rambunny finally shows up,
breaking in the door and ending the issue on a "the battle begins" note.
#25 will be parts 6-7 (weird, yes?) and #26 will wrap up the storyline,
suggesting that the fight which is about to start will not last very long,
since it certainly won't last through #26.
     Some future publishing news.  After #26, there will be a TPB released
which will cover the story to date.  Probably a text summary of early issues
and reprints of the Dark Ages issues.  Then #27 will be full sized, and
various publishers are being talked to about carrying it.  Barring Bad
Things, the TPB should be available by next Mid-Ohio.
     Oh, and #25 will probably have a picture of my Amoeba/Akiko shirt
in it.  }->
     Protoplasm Press can be reached at OXFORD_TOWN@mspress.tfnet.org.

     Board of Superheroes: Corporate superheroes run into the ground.
Dilbert League of America, basically.  A fun little read, with the moral
of the story being that jobs are the "drug of the 90s."  Heh.
     If Feazell has an email address, I don't know it.

     Rabid Monkey "Job 1": Premise - a gibbon in the jungle is hassled by a
naturalist for eating a rare bird, so he decides to ditch the whole jungle
thing and get a job in the city.  But he needs money and an education to
make this work, so he sets out to get these.
     Monkey is of the "naive powerhouse" school of characters, capable of
biting through metal but unaware of things like morality.  Hey, he's a
monkey, y'know?  His efforts to get money are quite amoral and sometimes
gory, but I'm told he'll learn better as the series progresses.
     As mentioned in the Capsules, the Rabid Monkey bears a strong
superficial resemblance to Gon.  Big-headed powerful critter out of place
in a world he shouldn't be in runs around and causes havoc.  Rabid Monkey
is most like "Nasty Gon" at this stage, however, and seems to have no
nobility or "protect the little guy" ethos yet.  Also, this comic does have
words in it, although the monkey's limited to a single word, "Ookie!"
Oddly, the naturalist at the beginning understands what the various ookies
mean, but no one else does.
     The art is somewhat variable (in fact, if I'm remembering this
correctly, the artist went back and redid the first few pages because his
style improved so noticeably from beginning to end) and works best on its
iconic star, the monkey.  The humans are somewhat iffy as yet.
     The creators can be reached at ookie@sprynet.com, and have a webpage
http://home.sprynet.com/sprynet/ookie.  Don't hate them because they're
Sprynetters.  }->

     Sheba: Interesting premise, but one that suffers some from "Gilligan's
Island Syndrome."  Sheba is a mummified cat who didn't pass into the
afterlife before the old gods lost their power and went to hang out at
bars run by Dionysus and Bacchus.  She's awakened by tomb-robbing Coptic
Christians at the time of Islam's sweep across Egypt.  And she wants her
afterlife, damn it!  Of course, Anubis has become something of a drunken
bum and lost parts of the equipment needed to send her on.
     The Gilligan thing I mentioned is this: if Sheba succeeds at her
quest, she goes to the afterlife (or is devoured) and that's that.  If she
doesn't succeed, it becomes progressively harder to make the story
interesting since we know that she won't "get off the island" until the last
issue.  Mind you, her wrappings get undone at the end of #2, which may lead
to a dramatic shift in her goals.  But I get the impression that after
Anubis blows it and Set is stopped, she'll end up wandering around trying
to get into other afterlives.  And while this would make for an interesting
"tour of mythology" theme, it will be a challenge to keep it fresh and now
just the "Mythology of the Week that refuses her entry" type of thing.
     Oh, in case it's not clear, this is a humor book.  It does not take
things too seriously, and anachronisms abound.  Some of the gags are almost
worth the price of admission, though, so it's worth trying to find this
     Sheba also has the distinction of one of the oddest table displays
I saw at the con.  A stuffed version of the main character, a mummified
cat with its head sticking out of the wrappings.  Very weird.
     The art is slightly reminiscent of Hepcats in places, which is
appropriate considering that like Hepcats this series started out in
strip form.  A few are reproduced in the back of #2.  The art suggests that
Crane (the artist) is a furry artist first and a human artist second.
     Email to sheba@ici.net.

     Dave Van Domelen, "What'cha doin', cutie?  Why didn't'cha ever
return my letters?" "Uh...  They were in Linear A...  I couldn't quite
read them..." - Topless Minoan Goddess and Anubis
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