CRT: Hope and Twiztid Haunted High-On Reviews! Plus, More Con Reflections!


Hey kids!

So this week, we released our 3Rivers Comicon show! Go back and check out the podcast if you haven’t already. Also, check out this past Friday, when I stole Stew’s spot to talk about our booth

We also had stickers!

and to review a book (Doktor Plague) that the fans demanded! The booth was so much more fun than I expected. Heck, you can even go back to my Norah article as that was the first spot I posted about the con fallout–and where I started my quest to stretch my reading boundaries a bit more.

Today, though, I want to take some time to talk about my experiences beyond the booth at the show.

The Panel:

First up, our podcast pal Brandon from the Victims and Villains podcast did the hard work of setting up and creating a panel at the show on the value of comic books in helping people to persevere through tough times. He was gracious enough to invite us and K. Lynn Smith (more on her later) to participate. Stew and I are both big fans of Victims and Villains and their message of promoting Suicide Prevention Awareness and positively dealing with depression issues. Remember kids, if you’re struggling, don’t hesitate to reach out to the suicide lifeline at 1 (800) 273-8255 or by texting 741-741.

Once the show was set to begin, Andy couldn’t resist a shot at a live microphone, so he joined in, too. I spent about half of the panel listening from the audience before being coaxed on stage. For reasons I didn’t entirely understand, I then got to sit in a barber’s chair while vamping about Tom King and Mitch Gerard’s Mister Miracle series. One of the coolest parts of this convention was that not only were we actively milling about in the world of comic books, but we were able to help with some truly noble causes like this one! Using comic books to help people find that bit of light when they’re struggling with the darkness is a noble cause indeed. It promotes comic books and…goodness, and I’m a fan of both of those things.

Did I bring up Friday that we collected donations for the Boys and Girls Club at our booth, too? I did? Ok.

With all seriousness, it’s great to have an opportunity to give back, and I couldn’t have more pride about doing a little bit of good with this show.

The Creators:

Speaking of milling about in the world of comics, we had the opportunity to meet and have great conversations with a number of awesome creators at the show. Some we were able to procure interviews with, and some just a passing chat, but it was fascinating to see behind the curtain a little bit.

Michael Golden, in particular, told us a great story about getting his Star Wars issue ready in a matter of days after pitching the story years earlier.

Ron Frenz was really cool, and he made Stew into his personal shopper for a time.

Robert Hack couldn’t have been nicer and more gracious with his time, which you can hear on the podcast.

Don “Megaton Man” Simpson also appears on our show, but I had to go back afterwards to compare teaching notes about the Catcher in the Rye.

We met up with Nate and Stacie Pinsoneault from Mister Marsh in real life, and they were both really cool.

I tried to network with Aftershock Comics’s Mike Marts! It was … less than successful! So far! I still have to read and review my copy of Beyonders that I picked up at the show!

I would also be remiss if I didn’t mention Russ Braun, who had set up shop right next to our booth and ended up actively joining in with our nonsense quite a bit.

Look for the Russ Braun signed sketches on the bottom left.

I think Andy made a friend for life. Russ might have a different story. Best not to ask, lest the real …stuff gets out there ;-).

Some of the autographed swag from the show!

I also wanted to use some time to show off the works of two creators from Source Point Press who graciously gave us interviews, but who are also primed for big things: Dirk Manning and K. Lynn Smith.

The Reviews:

Up first is Twiztid Haunted High-Ons by Twiztid (story), Dirk Manning (story and writing credit), Marianna Pescosta (pencils and inks), and Alessandro De Fornasari (colors and letters).

Replace the gang from Scooby Doo with 2 dumb potheads and put them in the slightly more realistic world of the original Ghostbusters movies, and you have this book–in a good way! The writing is crisp, and it really did remind me of something out of the IDW Ghostbuster books by Erik Burnham and Dan Shoening. If you like the tone of those books, with characters concocting ridiculous schemes and interacting with both good and frighteningly evil spirits, this book is right up your alley.

Demon, ghost, whatever.

If you’re a fan of the band Twiztid (I think that’s a band. I’m old and really out of touch), or if you’re one of the folks that wish James Gunn would have gotten a chance to make the Scooby Doo live action movies with his less than PG sensibilities, this book is definitely worth the look.

Twiztid’s version of Slimer is a bit different.

From the first issue, the story is crisp, the art is solid, and it does look like one of the more polished efforts I’ve seen from Source Point Press.

The other SPP book I want to talk about is one you might actually have already. It was initially offered on Free Comic Book Day.

Don’t mistake “free” for “not worth reading!”

I snagged that one, of course, along with the 3Rivers Comicon ‘sclusie cover as well.It’s Hope by Dirk Manning and K. Lynn Smith.

The first chapter involves a closeted super hero in the car with her family discussing…the registration of super heroes, or “ultras” as they’re called here. There’s a car crash and the first traumatic fall out is that the eponymous hero’s husband is in a coma. The next piece of news is that our hero’s daughter, Anna, may have survived the crash, but there is something else even bigger for her and her mom to deal with.

The story is a very human story. Manning’s story has character notes from the Incredibles movies or every super-hero registration story at the outset, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a story worth telling. I think too, the drilling down to focus on the mom as a main character will go a long way in keeping this tale unique and worth following.

Smith’s art really seals the deal here. The eyes of her characters tell the story in a way that any parent can immediately relate with. Smith’s style is cartoony in nature, but so grounded in humanity. Characters look and feel like people you might know, they just happen to exist in a world of ultras. I’ll go back to the parenting angle, in that this story is presented in such a way that it feels authentic to so many things parents have to deal with–in particular protecting your children or facing issues where you feel like you can’t protect your children–it really hits home. So far, Hope is the crown jewel of all the books I’ve read from Source Point Press. It’s no wonder this was their FCBD offering: the story is sound, the art is fantastic, the colors, the letters, they all flow seamlessly to make a great product. Everything here is top-notch, and I think this could be one of those books that pulls nontraditional comic readers under the tent. It’s more than Comics that aren’t just for kids; this book is for the moms and dads and aunts and uncles, too.

I also wouldn’t be shocked to see this story show up as a movie or show somewhere down the line.

So that will wrap up my con reflections. I’m grateful for my experience at the show. I’m proud that I was able to goof off with my friends and give back to worthy causes at the same time. I had so much fun meeting and interacting with new friends and fans. Without the 3 Rivers Comicon, there’s a lot of these opportunities I may have missed out on. I really valued my interactions with such great content creators. I’m excited about all the new books I got to try, things that are helping to expand my views outside of my comfort zone. I didn’t even get into the other stuff I found at the show (The first appearance of Miles Morales! The Marvel Treasury Edition #1 with the John Romita cover! Detective Pikachu hats! Lots and lots of other cool stuff!) I might still have left my FCBD copy of Hope in my longbox, unread, and missed out on a really great book.

Until next time, I’ll probably still be unpacking all of the stuff and trying to read books I picked up at this show!


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