This past weekend (February 16-18) saw the 19th annual Planet Comicon descend upon Kansas City, MO. Last year, Kate and I made an impromptu trip (we are crazy like that) from our home in the Twin Cities down to check out the show. Jim Steranko was scheduled to appear, and who knows how much longer he’ll be making appearances? The con was great. The city drips BBQ sauce. We had a blast. So, when the guest list for this year’s show was announced, we said to hell with the impromptu stuff, let’s plan it right.

This year’s show pulled in creators from across the publishing landscape, as well as a slew of DC Comics’ heaviest-hitters. DC has had huge success with their REBIRTH publishing initiative, refocusing on the classic elements that made their heroes popular in the first place and adding in a modern sensibility. At the same time, their current Batman event, titled METAL has been selling out issue after issue. It’s filled with mind-blowing concepts from writer Scott Snyder and eye-popping art from the team of Greg Capullo and Jonathan Glapion. With those successes firmly in mind, the Planet Comicon planners pulled a definite coup by booking these three and other superstar DC creators such as Dan Jurgens (ACTION COMICS), Patrick Gleason (SUPERMAN), and Tom King (BATMAN and MISTER MIRACLE).

Marvel Studios just had a small budget, arthouse film released this weekend. It’s called BLACK PANTHER. You may have heard something about it? Well, veteran writer Christopher Priest was also in attendance this weekend. Priest was on the book with artist Mark Texeira when it launched in 1998 under the MARVEL KNIGHTS banner. Many of the concepts in the film are from this celebrated run. So really, with this level of comic book talent scheduled to attend a con that’s within easy travel distance from Minnesota, plus the promise of insane amounts of BBQ, we had no choice but to attend. We just had to make sure to not get BBQ sauce on the books.

Kate, Christopher Priest, and Dan

Having been to many comic conventions in the past, Kate and I know that the secret to getting most of your books signed, and maybe having a moment or two to make conversation with the creators, is to hit the floor early on Friday. Most folks are still traveling, so the floor is much easier to navigate. The lines are shorter, and people are still in a good mood! When we got to Christopher Priest’s table, he was ready to sign our books and chat a little bit. Mr. Priest was gracious and gregarious. He made this 90’s fanboy’s day.

With that same battle plan firmly in mind, we were second in line for Tom King’s line. (CURSE THAT GUY THAT GOT THERE BEFORE US!) Mr. King has quickly become one of comics most celebrated creators. He was in great spirits and even drew a funny face on my copy of BATMAN/ELMER FUDD. Yes, there is a BATMAN/ELMER FUDD one-shot. Not only does it exist, but it’s one of the finest comics ever produced.

Due to travel issues, the METAL team of Snyder, Capullo, and Glapion didn’t arrive until late Friday, so they weren’t available at their table until Saturday. Again, smart planning got us into the 10th spot in a line that wrapped around itself again and again and again and… well. You get the idea. We can’t say enough about these gentlemen. Currently some of the highest profile creators in the industry, with the longest line at the con, they could have scribbled on our books without looking up and that would have been that. To be honest, we totally would have understood. But no, Snyder looked us in the eye and said thank you for our patience. Capullo was charming and funny when Kate asked him to sign her press pass (he did the Batman image that the con used on the pass). And Mr. Glapion was warm and welcoming. We also got a photo.

Dan, Scott Snyder, Greg Capullo, and Jonathan Glapion

What would a comic convention be without panel discussions? We hit the DC METAL panel hosted by Jason Inman. Inman was a wonderful moderator, effortlessly juggling the cerebral Snyder and the madcap Capullo. Good stuff here. These guys clearly love what they do. They love comics, and they love their fans. Kate checked out the Alan Tudyk spotlight panel, and it was filled with more of the same: a guest that gave 100% for the crowd, using his manic energy to reward those in attendance. He also gave out “gifts” to fans that asked questions. Some of the “gifts” were… unusual, like the deluxe shower cap and package of travel tissues with a couple missing. Some were great, such as copies of SPECTRUM, the comic book written by him and Nathan Fillion. Everyone was in on the joke, and everyone had a blast.

And that really sums up our overall Planet Comicon Experience: Tons of interactions with creators that genuinely wanted to meet their fans and were grateful that the fans were there to support their work and to celebrate comic books. Planet Comicon is a fantastic show with high profile guests. It’s staffed with tons of volunteers that are eager to make sure you know where you’re going and have all your questions answered.


The only bummer? I lost my hat this weekend.


Maybe I’ll find it when we hit the show next year.


Dan and Kate Malmon