Oak City Comic Con 2018 Recap
A couple weekends ago, I attended the Oak City Comic Con at the Convention Center in Raleigh, North Carolina. It’s my first time attending the Oak City Comic Con, but third time attending an event put on by Ultimate Comics, who also run the NC Comic Con. The folks at Ultimate Comics tend to line up more comic related guests than pop culture guests, and that’s okay with me as long as the lineup is decent. This year it included Kevin Eastman (co-creator to the Ninja Turtles), Adam Hughes, Erik Burnham, Tom Waltz, Ben Bishop, Tommy Lee Edwards, and Walter Simonson amongst others. As far as pop culture guests, James Buster Douglas was in town, along with Orlando Jones and a few others.
I arrived around 9 AM, an hour before the con began on Saturday, March 17th, the first day of the con. There was already a line around fifty people deep when I walked in. They made a huge mistake by putting the table to pick up armbands on the wrong side of the line, so in order to exchange your tickets you actually had to cut through the line, which made no logistical sense and caused a bit of hiccup as the line continued to grow since people couldn’t see the table. There were issues with the line, the volunteers, and getting everything organized, but we made it in around fifteen minutes past 10 AM, which I thought was pretty good.
The convention was laid out well and there was plenty of room to navigate. I did my quick tour throughout the room before finding the place to buy the exclusive Oak City Ninja Turtles variant and print. The variant was $20 which was a good $10 too much, and had I not waited twenty minutes in line and then another ten in line to check out, I probably wouldn’t have gotten it. I hoped to have it signed by Kevin Eastman, along with the print, but unfortunately the guest of honor was insanely busy all day on Saturday and the line moved at a snail’s pace. I decided to spend my time bumming around the con and meeting other people, instead of standing in his line for an hour or more.
My first stop of the day was a vendor selling some awesome digital artwork printed on aluminum bookmarks. I purchased some of these bookmarks at the Wizard World Richmond Convention back in 2016 and my wife loved them. I found a Mario and Stitch, which I knew she’d love, and walked out happy that I had found her something so easily.
From there I stopped at IDW and spent some time talking Turtle comics with the guys at the booth and then I started bouncing to other booths. I was looking for a few comics to get signed and unfortunately I wasn’t finding much. It seemed like most of the vendors were offering just random loose old issues and there wasn’t much earmarked for the guests in attendance. Luckily, I found the Ultimate Comics booth and they had pulled quite a few book from the guests in the attendance and I was able to find everything I wanted to get signed all in one place.
I went to Louise Simonson’s line first with my Superman/Doomsday book in hand. This is one of the first loose issues I ever remember picking up as a kid and the cover has always been iconic for me. Louise was very sweet and it was a joy chatting with her for a few moments.
After that, I went over to get Tom Waltz and Eric Burnham to sign my newly purchased TMNT/Ghostbusters 2 Crossover book. Tom writes on TMNT and Erik on Ghostbusters, so it was the perfect way to meet both guys and get one book signed twice. Tom Waltz was very accommodating and asked me who my favorite turtle and Ghostbuster. Erik was less accommodating, but he signed my book with no problem and I stupidly placed it straight back into its bag and board while talking to Tom Waltz some more thus smearing Erik’s signature some. It’s not too bad, but I wish I’d payed better attention.
I decided it was time for some lunch and I made my way over to the snack bar where I got some of the best chicken tenders and fries I’ve ever eaten. From there I went to attend a panel about writing comics, but it was standing room only and I decided that I wasn’t willing to do that. Instead, I took the time to rectify a rookie con goer mistake I’d made. See, I have this awesome huge con bag that I got at Wizard World Chicago a few years back. It’s fantastic for carrying around anything big like say, 11×14 prints since my Bag of Holding Con Edition bag doesn’t exactly fit stuff like that. So I’ve been dragging around this 11×14 print all day and to be honest, it was getting annoying. Also, my jacket was stuffed into my small bag and that didn’t leave much room to put things. So, I decided to go to the car, and drop off some stuff, and made a mental reminder to bring a big enough bag next time, and some friggin protectors, so I don’t have to spend $5 on one again.
On my way back in, I spotted a lone religious protester. I have no idea why these jackoffs like showing up at comic book conventions.
Once I got back to the con, I killed some more time browsing around booths before finally making my way through the artist alley again. I’ve made it a personal mission to try something new everything I go to a con. I want to take a chance on a writer that I’m not familiar with, just to challenge myself and broaden my horizons. I found a couple horror authors in attendance and I decided to check out both. I found John G. Hartness in a deep discussion with another con attendee and I decided to flip through his books. Some of his work is what you could consider Southern horror, and that’s a subgenre I really enjoy. I chatted with him and listened in on his discussion with the other guy, and that’s when he described his Quincy Harker series as, “Supernatural without Sam, only Dean, and he says fuck a lot.” I looked over at John G. Hartness and said, “Well that sold me” and I purchased a copy of Quincy Harker Year One.
After snagging my Adam Hughes autograph, I got to talking to a vendor who was selling digital prints and I found a gorgeous 11×14 Batman print I really liked. After a quick exchange of some cash, I was back to carrying around another 11×14 print. Ugh!
By this point, I’d been at the con for around four hours and my legs were tired and I was about ready to go. But, I wanted to get Adam Hughes to sign my Betty and Veronica book so I headed his way after he got back from lunch and thankfully he was doing some signings in-between sketches. I got my signature and made one final pass through all the vendors before hitting the door.
I had a good time at the Oak City Comic Con, but I learned a few things to make my trip next year even better.
- Getting there when they first open isn’t worth it at all, unless there is a Guest of Honor you want to get in line for. If that’s the case, it’s way cheaper to invest in a VIP pass instead of trying to buy the add-ons like the $20 TMNT variant.
- The panels fill up fast and aren’t in large rooms. Getting there super early is essential, even for the smaller panels.
- This is the type of con you can definitely attend just one day. There is not enough going on nor enough vendors to justify a two day ticket.
- When they say “Exclusive Badge” on the website, this means a cheap hospital band with the words NC Comic Con printed on it. I paid for a two day ticket partially because I thought I’d get an actual lanyard and badge and was sorely disappointed with that cheap piece of shit.
- They didn’t stop outside food and drinks, which was nice.
Here are a few random shots from the convention: