A couple of weekends ago I attended the Tidewater Comicon in Virginia Beach, Virginia. This is the most popular con of the year for the area and this year didn’t disappoint! The Tidewater Comicon has come a long way from it’s origin. Founder Mike Federali started his first show by selling his entire comic book collection at flea markets, garage sales, and even on AMC’s Comic Book Men to make his dream a reality. The reality was a one day show at a hotel that exceeded both expectations and capacity. Cue more yard sales, fundraisers and the Tidewater Comicon moved to the Virginia Beach Convention Center where it continues to grow year after year in both space and attendance.
Of course the major draw to any con, is the celebrities. This year was pretty loaded with fan favorites like The Flash’s John Wesley Shipp and Violette Beane. Dana Snyder, known for the voice of Master Shake on Aqua Teen Hunger Force was not only signing autographs but also doing voicemail greetings as his beloved character. Everyone’s favorite stoner, Jay Mewes (Jay from Clerks, Clerks II, pretty much all View Askew films) was in attendance signing autographs and had an impressive line that never seemed to end.
The show had an abundance of comic creators as well! Most notably, Chris Claremont (Uncanny X-Men) and Neal Adams (Batman). Other creators included Bob Mcleod, (New Mutants), Robert Venditti ( XO-Manowar), Jeremy Whitley (Princeless, The Unstoppable Wasp), Tini Howard (The Skeptics), Brockton McKinney (Amerikarate), Hoyt Silva (Operation Nemesis) and local heroes Bob Franz (Monty the Dinosaur), and Kevin Cuffe (Oathbound), plus a boat load more! This is the hometown show for me and I am scratching my head as to why local artist Drew Moss (Copperhead, Blood Feud) wasn’t in attendance. I know that I wasn’t the only one questioning where he was and needless to say, it was a disappointment not seeing him there.
Various types of vendors were on the scene too. Studio Evolve was set up to tat your favorite superhero on your body. You could take a break from all the walking around and standing in lines by play games in Video Game Heaven. Toys, jewellery, and Steampunk are your vices? No worries, there were plenty of vendors to satisfy your fix. Hungry? From Dippin Dots to chicken tenders and fries, you aren’t going hungry here! And a comic book convention isn’t complete without actual comics! There were vendors from all around the area including the local favorites Heroes and Villains and Comic Kings. Old, new, rare, slabbed, dollar boxes, if you were looking for something special, you shouldn’t have had any problem at all finding it.
Finally, you can’t have a show without fans and cosplayers! And they didn’t disappoint. Lines started to form early waiting to get inside and fans shared in conversation waiting for the doors to open. The cosplayers showed up! There were many well constructed costumes at this year’s show. A lot of thought and creativity was put into their creations. One thing that I enjoyed seeing was the variety. I know a lot of people love Harley Quinn, I love Harley Quinn, thankfully I didn’t see 150 Harley Quinns running around. Instead quite a number choose to be unique, including one of guy that dressed up as Sagat from Street Fighter. You don’t see Sagat! I was impressed with his choice.
Overall, I enjoyed this year’s Tidewater Comicon then I have the previous years I have attended. Each year, Mike seems to step his game up more and continue to put together a pleasant experience for celebrities, creators, and fans alike. The volunteers were more than helpful and always seemed eager to be of service. This is a big factor in making a successful show. You can’t have a staff that is supposed to be there to help out that clearly look like they do not want to help and that impression never came across while I was there. So if you are in Virginia Beach area next May, or if you are looking to add another comicon to visit, then I highly recommend checking out the Tidewater Comicon, it’s a lot of fun, and I don’t think you will leave disappointed! I have plenty of pics below! Enjoy!
Rick loves Rogues Portal and I am a fan of Amerikarate! Sketch by Brockton McKinney
Hoyt Silva, Bob Frantz, and Kevin Cuffe
Wall to wall goodies!
I wasn’t the only one wondering where Drew Moss was
The Bloke himself! Jason Crawley, creator of Bloke’s Terrible Tomb of Terror
Reaper from Overwatch