By Jason Borelli
A few weeks ago, I traveled to Secaucus, NJ, for East Coast Comicon (always one word). I got there a little later than I intended. Once I arrived, I had a target: George Perez. I was hoping to get a sketch from him, especially since I had a high-concept idea that the esteemed artist would be recognized for. At minimum, I had my Crisis on Infinite Earths slipcase hardcover in my bag. Since I drove to the show, I could unload that and anything else in my car if things got heavy.
I looked at the map in the program, studying it carefully. I went to where Perez was located. He wasn’t there. I checked things again. Nothing. I figured that maybe he had been moved, perhaps closer to his partner on Crisis, Marv Wolfman. No luck. I exited the hall, intent on asking somebody at the counter about Perez’s location. I ran into a volunteer and popped the question. He told me that George Perez had suffered a heart attack.
Wow. Had the volunteer told me that Perez had been unable to attend, I would have understood. People drop out of conventions all the time. But I was not expecting to hear the news that bluntly. Also, if you remember the announcement posted on Bleeding Cool at that time, his ailment as listed as a “heart problem.” I’m guessing that the folks behind the show figured that attendees would learn sooner rather than later, especially those that had steady online access. I did not have that, and I was not willing to pay the $34.95 fee for 24 hours’ worth of that.
Surprisingly, Perez’s problem did not cast a huge pall on the two-day show. That would have been the case had things gotten far worse, and I am thankful that it didn’t. There was plenty of activity on the floor, from the artists to the vendors to the celebrities. Of course, the cosplayers were out in force. Since I have neither artistic talent nor a need to be seen, I was content to take pictures. I’m seldom disappointed. Among the characters represented were a mother and tyke as Dr.Light (Kimiyo Hoshi) and Dr. Mid-Nite, a Rule 63 Maxwell Lord with simulated nosebleed, and a flock of multicolored Ravens.
I managed to make two panels. On Saturday, I checked out a celebration of the thirtieth anniversary of DC Comics’s relaunch of Justice League, featuring J.M DeMatteis, Keith Giffen and Kevin Maguire. It was informative, though the microphones not working was a bit of an issue. The rooms were small, so I don’t think anybody was in the dark. Also, there were lots of mid-Eighties cosplay in the audience, with Guy Gardner, Mr. Miracle, and Doctor Strange (whom got the treatment from those creators in The Defenders). The following day, there was “A Conversation with Marv Wolfman.” Since I usually think of him in the context of Crisis on Infinite Earths and New Teen Titans, I was surprised by the span of his career. Weirdly enough, I did not see anyone in costume at that panel.
As for myself, I had a good time. I brought my Larfleeze trade paperbacks for DeMattis and Giffen to sign, and I showed off a sketch I got at the MoCCA Arts Festival of Larfleeze as Ash Ketchum by Sean Dillion. Since I had Crisis with me, I got an autograph from Wolfman. Also, I wound up getting six sketches at reasonable prices (including Silk Spectre from John Higgins, the first person I’ve met who worked on the original Watchmen), and fell into my blind box vinyl figure addiction. I did not know Funko put out Rick and Morty merchandise in that vein before then. I wound up with a Rick Sanchez and a “Doofus Rick.” All in all, even with the unexpected, East Coast Comicon was worth the trip.