Last saturday I went to a small local comic convention. I hate calling a six hour, one day thing a con but there ya' go. That's what they called it - Twin Cities Comic Book Convention. It was more like a dealers room, a small dealers room, with no other convention stuff going on. It didn't cost anything, so I shouldn't complain. I came to spend some money and leave. I had a plan.
There were a bunch of comic dealers all crammed together in a small room. Someone with a huge ass could barely get through some of the spaces between the tables, especially if there were customers pawing through long boxes of comics. I got there just after the 10 am start and people were already leaving. In the tiny dealers room there were a few more customers than dealers, and there weren't very many dealers. Customers kept poking me in the ass with their purses, oh, and a baby. Hopefully attendance, and the purse to ass ratio, will improve over time. They probably didn't get enough dealers to sign on to rent a bigger space. This lack of event was held at a Best Western in Eagan. This is a rarely travelled to suburb for me, it's east and south of me, below St Paul. I really didn't think to look at the odometer but it can't be more than 15 miles from my house as the road flies.
There is a big comic convention in October, the MCBA's imaginatively named FallCon, and they actually get guests to come. The MBCA also hold a MicroCon in April, which seems to have many more dealers than this new upstart. Back in the late 80's and early 90's was the last time I was at any comic conventions. They are different than sf conventions. More dealing and less staying in a hotel and partying, although the partying happens at the big regional and national cons.
I was going to the con to check out the stock of a local shop. Chris Budel, the owner, has been in the business for a long time. His shop, The Nostalgia Zone, is in the same site that various comic shops have been in over the last 20 plus years. It's the best back issue store in town, just a ton of stuff, especially older material. It's where I send people, both looking for back issues and trying to sell stuff. DreamHaven doesn't buy back issue comics anymore, haven't for quite a while. NZ's really the only place to get a large assortment of back issue Disneys in the Twin Cities. The other shops occasionally have some but not very many titles and hardly any old ones. There hasn't been a good market for them in the last many years. Chris says that might be turning around, with a little more interest of late. Damn, competition, good thing I have many of the "key" issues. I was at the Nostalgia Zone shop last wednesday and learned that Chris has a different batch of comics he goes to conventions with, stuff I had not seen. Sure enough I managed to pick up a nice little pile, leaving a few for later. Pick those up at the Fallcon, if there are any left.
Since I was in Eagan I figured I'd eat at the Culver's and check out the other two comic shops that were a bit south of the Best Western. Both shops are on a street called Cliff Road. Is a road a street? It hadn't taken me too long to go through the Disney comics in the convention and it was bit early for Culver's so I headed south to Cliff Road. I picked turning right as the thing to do on exiting 35E and after a bit, there it was, nestled in a strip mall. Cedar Cliff Collectibles, it's a fairsize store with a mixture of toy and action figures,
old vintage comics, some tapes and movies, a shit load of video games of all types. I looked through the Dell and Goldkey comics which were all tossed in long boxes randomly. At least there were only two. I found a couple of Disney's, a Boris Karloff Thriller Dell Giant comic with what could be a Richard Powers cover, and a Jet Dream comic from Goldkey. I remembered the cover to Jet Dream and her Stunt-Girl Counterspys. It's from June 1968 and it was the only issue and it's awful. Here's a funny review of it from some guy named Unca Cheeks. It was before Charlie's Angels and to my 15 year old eyes those were some cool chicks, kickin' ass in their tight white suits. It's pretty awful.
After finishing up at Cedar Cliff I went back the way I came a few miles and found the other shop closed. It was close enough to lunch timeto go to Culver's and get a butterburger. I don't go there very often, it's not in the neighborhood and it's pretty greasy. Still once a year isn't too bad, and that butterburger is pretty damn yummy, ummm. After scarfing down that bb and them crinkley cuts I retraced me trail back to The Mind's Eye Comics. It was open and it was a bust. It's one of those newer comics shops that only really has stuff from the last few years. No oldies. I went home to read comics. It was a nice day, pretty much.