Comic book conventions, like rock shows, come in all shapes and sizes. Big shows like San Diego Comic Con are like the Nerd Superbowl, while smaller regional shows like Wizard World bring celebrities and flippable eBay exclusives across the country. Shows like Mighty Con Milwaukee, running this Sunday, September 21 at Serb Hall, are a throwback to the way comic cons used to be. Rows of bagged comics mix with strange vintage toys and local crafty vendors all for less than a PBR at a Pabst/Turner/Riverside show. We spoke with Mighty Con Milwaukee organizer Bill Cody about what’s in store for the upcoming show and why stopping by for an hour or two is worth the effort.
Milwaukee Record: How long has Milwaukee Comic Con been around? What’s new for this show?
Bill Cody: The Milwaukee Comic Con started at a much smaller venue in spring of 2013, so only a year and a half. It’s grown at a fantastic rate. To get into your second question, the biggest new thing for this show is the size. We’ve actually doubled our previous size, with a ton more vendors and an increased focus on local artists and publishers. So instead of just having a show where you can buy back issues of comics and old toys, you can find original art and prints, get new independent comics (and then get them signed, of course), and really get more of a convention feel.
MR: What can you get at a small convention you can’t get at a larger one?
BC: The first answer that comes to my mind is “in.” Getting into a large convention is not exactly a fun time. At Wizard World Chicago, which took place just a month ago, a weekend pass was a staggering $100. Tack on $13 a day for parking, and even going by yourself becomes daunting, let alone thinking about taking the family. The Milwaukee Comic Con has an admission price of just $3, free parking, and free kids admission. Same vendors you see at the super expensive shows (for instance, I had four booths at Wizard World, and will have the exact same stock with me on Sunday), but now the whole family can enjoy it without spending your entire paycheck.
MR: What’s the most unusual item you’ve seen for sale?
BC: There have been so, so, so many, but I think my favorite was a Galactus nut cracker. It was a nut cracker. And it was shaped like Galactus. I really feel like this should have more of an explanation behind it, but I honestly can’t come up with one. I just knew that I had to have it.
MR: If you could have one guest at the show, who would it be and why?
BC: For one guest, that special one, as long as he’s alive, it’ll always be Stan Lee. What he’s done for the entire comic industry is unrivaled. He’s been an ambassador of the hobby, is one of the most recognized names in pop culture. And to boot, he’s just a really, really nice guy with a friendly voice and an infectious smile.
For a complete list of vendors and guests, visit the Mighty Con Milwaukee website.