Saturday, July 25, 2009

The 1st Cincinnati Comic and Nostalgia Convention


I had read about them for several years in fanzines but I 16 year old me had never been to a convention. By 1974 there were several comic book shops in the Cincinnati area including Steve Conner's various attempts at sustaining one in Northern Kentucky, one in Cincy's Losantiville area and the Yellow Kid Comic Shoppe run by Andy Voris and his 10 year old son, Cy. We ran a clipping about Cy a couple of years ago ( http://booksteveslibrary.blogspot.com/2006/06/cy-voris.html ). He went on to be a comics creator and filmmaker. In January of 1975 however, right after he had turned 11, Cy Voris put on the first ever comic book convention in Cincinnati. Now this wasn't some cheap little mall con or motel con, this was a big downtown to-do at one of the city's major hotels! I nervously entered the cavernous, ostentatiously decorated lobby of the Netherland Hilton early that Sunday afternoon and asked where the comic book show was. I was told to follow the crowds so I did and entered my very first dealers room. At 16, I had already been a comics collector for a decade but I had NEVER imagined anything like this. There had to be a hundred dealers there, each displaying comics, magazines, posters and/or original art. This was the very first original art I had ever seen anywhere! And guests! The first real cartoonist I ever met was that day also--Richard Lynn ( http://parwell.hypermart.net/richardlynn.html ) Over the next two years there were a number of smaller cons as well as one in Louisville and one in Cleveland that I attended. It would still be 13 years before my first and to date only excursion to San Diego.

Not sure how I ended up with one of the posters from that 1st Cincinnati con but here it is...sort of. Because of it's size, I've had to scan it in sections. Sorry. Still, cool pop art looking Human Torch. No earthly idea the artist.

4 comments:

Rick Bradford said...

Hi, Steven. Great post, really takes me back to my first con (Dallas, '82). That really does look like a great poster and I think the artist may be Fred Burkhart. He used to live in Cinci and used to publish under the 20th Century Anonymous banner in the '70s...

http://www.burkhartstudios.com/

Josh Blair said...

Cool post, Steven. My first comic show in Cincinnati was when I was about 13 at some hotel in Sharonville. It wasn't a really great show or anything, but like you said, it was the first time I had seen something like that. I think someone has either Amazing Fantasy #15 or Amazing Spider-Man #1 and that really blew my mind.

It's too bad there aren't any conventions in Cincinnati anymore. Pop Culture Con has failed twice now and there aren't even any small shows at the Drawbridge like there used to be in the late '90s. Luckily, Columbus isn't too far away so SPACE and Mid-Ohio Con are accessible. Hell, even Dayton has Gem City Con. I wonder why Cincinnati can't get a comic convention together.

Booksteve said...

Not a clue on Cincy Cons. Even the Star Trek Cons that were prevalant for the longest time are long gone. We went to one last Drawbridge comic con when my son was about three (which would have been 1999). Seems like I heard of one somewhere outlying since then and that was it.

I used to attend all those Sharonville cons, too. I didn't drive til I was 32 so I'd take a bus to Tri-County and then walk or call a cab!

Josh Blair said...

'99 sound about right. I set up at one when I was 15, which would have been '98/'99 depending on what month it was held. It's too bad there aren't any more, even if they were just little retailer only shows like at the Drawbridge and in Sharonville. I can't imagine it would be too difficult to organize/finance something like that. Maybe in a couple years when I have more money...