Lee Roberts's picture
By Lee Roberts

Oak City Comic Con Raleigh NC Recap of the fun I had.

I first want to thank the people who put together and worked the Oak City Comic Con in Raleigh this past weekend. This was a fun con that they put on that flowed nicely. When I first arrived there I was a few minutes late due to the traffic that came to a dead stop about 2 blocks away from the convention center. Once I got parked and got inside the center I found the line for the passes and there were a lot of people in line. Normally lines like this usually go slowly but this one flew by really fast. The workers at the table knew what they were doing and they handled the people efficiently and quickly while being polite and courteous.

At some cons you can still run into other lines and issues before getting onto the floor. Going through bag checks, having anything that might be a weapon checked and handled, and then having the last check of badges before you can get on the floor. Did this con have this? Why, yes it did. Did it take up time and slow me or others down? Why, no it did not. Like the badge line, these moved quickly and I was on the floor in minutes of first entering the building to get the pass to being on the floor proper.

From that point on it was time for me to have fun and I tried to make the best of it.

My first mission of the day but second goal for the con, was to get some of the comic books I brought to be signed by Adam Hughes. I love this mans artwork and I brought a few of my favorites. Such as Life With Archie #36 2014 where Archie was shot, Supergirl Rebirth #1, Catwoman #56, Ghost #1 and #6 which are some of his very early works. I wanted to get a sketch from him and with the price he was charing, $40, that was an amazingly low price and I hate that I wasn't able to get one.

Though there is a good reason why I did not get a sketch and that was because of my main goal for going to the con which was getting a sketch from Walter Simonson. I had to make this my second mission because Walter Simonson had an really long line at the start of the day and had a panel at noon. I choose to wait until after his panel to get into line so because of that I made getting Adam Hughes autograph first.

Now once I did get in line for Walter Simonson, I had a long wait in front of me but it was went by fast and I had a lot of fun. I met a few people while in line waiting and we all talked comics, which ones we were getting signed, what sketch we wanted, why we like Beta Ray Bill, and why we didn't like Iron Fist on Netflix. Then when we got close to the front of the table where we could hear Walter and his wife Louise Simonson talking, we stopped talking to each other so we could listen to them talk and then at times comment on how awesome the sketch was he just did for that person.

I've been waiting on getting a book signed by Walter Simonson for around 5 years now. The last time he was a con that I attended I wanted to get my Thor books signed but sadly due to the time I was only able to get Louise Simonson to sign my Web of Spiderman books she did. Which I love. But I wanted them both and I've had to wait and watch and finally I got my chance.

That wait paid off in ways I never thought of. Not only did I get issues #337 and #338, the first appearances of Beta Ray Bill, but I got #339 the first appearance of Stormbreaker and #364 the first appearance of Throg, yes, Thor as a frog. Now, any other con day I would say this was a great day and leave a happy man but this con day was more than just great. Walter Simonson was doing sketches for free. Yes, FREE! He would give anyone who wanted a head sketch of anything, within reason, one for free, he only asked but did not require, anyone who wanted to, to donate to a charity he collects for. If you didn't want to that was fine, you would still get a sketch or if you wanted to donate a dollar that was also fine.

I tell you I was so excited at this news and I couldn't wait to get a sketch from someone who was the reason why I like Thor. My father had bought me a collection of comics from someone, I don't know who because I was just a little kid, all I remember is one day while at my dads donut shop in Princeton, WV, I was playing around the dinning area like I usually did when he came in carrying a big cardboard box. He called me over and put the box on one of the tables and when he opened them I know my eyes probably looked like they would pop out. Inside the box was so many comics and included with them was nearly the complete run of Walter Simonson's Thor and more. There was issues #300 to #396, minus a few issues here and there but not many. After reading those books I was hooked and was fan of Thor and of Walter Simonson. He captures what makes Thor exciting to read and so beautiful to look at and now I was about to get a free sketch from him.

Once I got to the front I had a request of Walter Simonson and though I really hoped he would do it I was prepared for him to say no because it was being a bit over zealous on my part. Though if he had said no, I would have been fine with it and still extremely happy with what I was given because the man was doing more most any other artist. My request was to get a Thor sketch on the front of the blank sketch cover and then to get a Beta Ray Bill sketch on the back of the cover. I explained it to him, made sure to let him know I was fine with him saying no, but instead he went even further out of his way but agreeing to it and then going to the back of the line to let the guy who had capped the line off that he was making an exception with me and that I was allowed to get back in line to get another sketch. I can't tell you how honored I was and still am that he did this for me. Though I'm getting the book graded, it's not to sell, I want this book protected as best as I can get it while putting it on display because I will have this book till my end days.

Now, once that was done I went on the exploration of the floor and just did a few things to see how people react. It's one thing to go to a con as a fan and one to be working it. I was there for fun but I was also there to cover the con for the site so I can post about it. With that in mind, I went around to a few of the workers to ask simple and normal questions people have a con. Where is this person table, how long do you think the line for Kevin Eastman will be, where's the bathroom, do you know what table has those exclusive comics, and a few other questions. Most cons I'll get a 50/50 response from the workers. Where 50% of them will be nice even if they can help me or they just don't know but will try to find out, and other 50% will just have this I don't care attitude and be of no help.

Not here at this con. Every single worker was nice and was on the ball trying to help me. I had one who called over another worker to not pass me on but to have that worker take his spot while he walked me over to the table I asked his help in finding. So, kudos workers and Oak City Con for getting these people for your con. My advice is, keep these people, give them a little thank you, and get them back again.

As for other things that was really cool and stood out at this con was the ease it was walking around and how nice everyone was. Not only were the workers really cool but I noticed one vendor give a little boy a “lightsaber”-ish sword just because he wanted to. It wasn't a pricey thing, just a cheap little toy that lights up and makes noise, but I bet that little boy was really happy with getting that and I'm betting his dad was happy because his kid got a free toy. Then the fans going were really nice also. No one gave me any problems when I walked up and said hi or hey cool costume, and everyone I asked to get a photo of let me.

This was a great first time experience for me in going to the Oak City Comic Con and I look forward to going again.