Mark your calendars for a big event featuring over 40 tables of comics and artwork as the Western Massachusetts Comic Book Show returns for its second show on Sunday, October 17.
The Western Massachusetts Comic Book Show returns Sunday, October 17 at the Hawks and Reed Performing Arts Center in Greenfield from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission costs $ 5 and children 12 and under are admitted free. Tickets can be purchased at the door or online via Eventbrite in advance. Masks are required as per the mandate of the Greenfield Board of Health.
The event is hosted by Kristopher âKitâ Henry, 34. He and his wife, Kristen Henry, who live in Turners Falls, co-own and operate Amazing Comics. Under the title, the couple attend regional comic book shows where they sell and trade from their personal collection which includes numbers dating back to the 1950s, “but numbers from the 50s and 60s are increasingly difficult to find. find, “Henry mentioned.
The original Western Massachusetts Comic Book show in 2019 was an immediate success.
âWe had over 500 participants this first year,â said organizer Kristopher âKitâ Henry.
Although the show could not take place in 2020 due to planning complications related to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Henry said they were ready to return with a slew of local featured artists. With enthusiastic and continued support, the Western Massachusetts Comic Book even plans to become a biannual event next year. Henry said they have already booked vendors and guests for the May 29 and October 16, 2022 shows.
Comic book fans who grew up in the ’80s and’ 90s will certainly remember the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, but they might not know that the creators hailed from Pioneer Valley. Formerly struggling artists living in Northampton, Kevin B. Eastman and Peter Laird created the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in 1983. The characters have remained at the forefront of pop culture, having been handled by various comic, toy, television, and movie creators over the past 38 years.
Back this year, it’s Jim lawson who worked with Laird and Eastman for more than two decades after being introduced by “a friend of a friend” – the kick-off of a 35-year career in comics. He bonded with the creators after graduating from art school and worked for them at the Mirage Studios office which opened in Northampton in 1983. Lawson would spend 25 years with Mirage Studios as a writer and artist on the original black and white Turtles comic.
âAt first we were kind of like rock stars when we went to comic book shows,â Lawson joked. “The biggest in the country, in San Diego, I remember walking in just thinking – here I am, involved in the biggest thing in the comic book world at the time …”
Born and raised in a small town in northwest Connecticut, Lawson says he always knew he wanted to be an artist and had the promising, but somewhat unrealistic goal of making a living drawing. images.
âI was the elementary school kid sitting in the back row with my head down drawing on a piece of paper,â Lawson said. “It was never questionable for me, I always knew what I wanted to do.”
Even after getting a job with Mirage Studios, he kept a part-time job at Turners Falls for about a year until his comic book work developed and he earned enough to commit to full-time. in writing and illustration. He recalled when the Rat King, an original character he created for the Turtles comics, was turned into an action figure – a badge of honor among comic book creators.
âIt’s just a little unreal, this thing that I had an intimate involvement with has kind of become a cultural icon,â Lawson said of Turtles.
When asked what drew people to Turtles to make them such a craze, Lawson said it was the subject of a panel on another comic book show last month and that he had a few theories. He said the series attracted a lot of female fans, transcending some supposed genre lines of the time to reach a wider audience. Additionally, he said the Turtle characters were seen as “strangers” hiding in the sewers and the stories had a family feel that appealed to readers.
Lawson’s time working on the title ended in 2009 when the Turtles franchise was sold and the studio went dormant. Around this time, Lawson began to pursue a freelance solo career publishing his own comics and funding projects through kickstarter campaigns.
Today Lawson’s many self-published works include, among others, Paleo: “Tales of the Late Cretaceous”, “A Walk Through Dinosaurland”, “Dragonfly”, “Dinosaur Head Cat” and “Jim Lawson’s Dinosaurs Coloring Book “, and his next book” The Sordid Land “.
The Western Massachusetts Comic Book Show will be one of many Lawson attends in the New England area this year. He said he enjoyed attending it, meeting fans, and seeing members of the comic book community year after year.
Another artist featured on the Sunday show is Steve Murphy, a comic book writer who was nominated for the Harvey and Eisner Awards. He also wrote Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comics and animations.
Rolling Stone magazine includes his The Puma Blues among its list of â50 Greatest Graphic Novels of All Timeâ. Murphy is currently writing his first non-fiction graphic novel in partnership with Andrew Del Valle from Holyoke.
Del Valle has been drawing for as long as he can remember. According to a biography on the event page, he received his BFA with a major in painting and drawing at UMass Amherst, and uses both disciplines in digital format. Using programs like Adobe Photoshop and Manga Studio exe (Clip Studio Paint), the digital medium offers an unlimited array of choices and artistic directions.
Other local and independent comic artists include Tanner T Ogle, a Northampton resident who has been “active” in the artist community since 2018 and has self-published two full-length graphic novels. These include “The Cross, The Mother” with writer Alexander Leger-Smalls, and “Do Not Enter” which he wrote and illustrated. The first issue of his new “Murph” series was released in July 2021.
Casey Kruk, of Kruked Art, is a freelance, self-taught artist. Born and raised in western Massachusetts, Kruk’s influences include Bruce Timm, J. Scott Campbell, and Michael Turner. His passions are his children, illustration and comics.
Hailing from South Deerfield, Gary Smith will return to this year’s show. Smith is a 1991 graduate of the Joe Kubert School whose resume includes work for the Valiant / Acclaim comics and Canson Paper Company’s “How to Draw Manga” line of comic papers. Smith currently produces two comics: The Doe-Nild and Tales of J’lleen.
Marvel comics Colorist Bob Sharen will join this year’s show. From 1978 to 2001, Sharen was a colorist for Marvel Comics. During that time, he’s worked on almost every Marvel title, mostly long sets of GI Joe, Alien Legion, and the various Spider-Man titles.
His credits include nearly 1,800 issues: over 160 issues of The Amazing Spider-Man, 99 issues of Alpha Flight, Iron Man from 1979-1989, Captain America from 1982-1989 and over 60 issues of GI Joe from 1982 -1994. Some of his favorite works include coloring illustrations of Paul Smith’s run on Dr. Strange in the 1980s.
Since leaving Marvel, Sharen has worked full time on color commissions and stained glass work.
The full-day schedule also includes a 2 p.m. cosplay contest, hosted by The Angry Geeks Show, a multimedia network that offers culture-related entertainment, promotions, marketing, interviews and convention programs. pop. The competition will take place in the wheelhouse in the basement of the Hawks & Reed Performing Arts Center. The Angry Geeks Show appears courtesy of Entertainment in altered reality.
Comic book dealers and sellers attending this year’s Western Massachusetts Comic Book Show will have everything from investment grade keys to dollar books to comics from the Golden Age to the present day. Participating vendors include: Fantasy Unlimited Comics; Amazing comics; Comics of Oignucs; Undertake comics, etc. ; Holeymoleys; Fanboy comics; Buzz Comics; TGW comics; Too Sketchy Dudes Comics; and others.
There is on-street parking on Main Street in Greenfield, and public parking is free on Sundays. The Olive Street parking garage is conveniently located across from the Hawks and Reed Performing Arts Center, and parking rates are 25 cents per hour on Sundays.
More information about the event, including brief biographies of participating artists, can be found online at facebook.com/westernmasscomicshow/. Interested suppliers can be placed on a waiting list by sending an email to [email protected]
Local sponsors for the Western Massachusetts Comic Book Show 2021 include His And Hers Comics and Antique Revival and Collectibles.
Zack DeLuca can be reached at [email protected] or 413-930-4579.