Eat.Enjoy.Live.: Bing Comic Con celebrates pop culture

10/12/2017 | G. Michael Dobbs

Category: October

Aaron Wood will be one of the many talents to appear at the 2017 Bing Comic Con.
Reminder Publications submitted photo

For the fifth year, the Bing Comic Com will present a wide variety of pop culture creators as a fundraiser for the Bing Arts Center in Springfield.

The one-day convention will be Oct. 28 from 11 to 5 p.m. in Asbury Hall of Trinity Methodist Church on Sumner Avenue. Admission is $5.  

The show’s co-founder Mark Mazstal told Reminder Publications, “This year show is very exciting because it's our fifth year and have a lot of new guests and dealers attending so it shows we are growing interest. Our main goal from the beginning was to bring a comic book show back to Springfield and to raise finds for the Bing Arts Center. My other intent was to offer local artists a chance to attend a show that was affordable and provided them exposure and a chance to have their artwork, crafts and creations seen by people other than their friends and peers. We are a family oriented show and that’s what this group of artists mean to me. We feel we’ve got a good mixed bag of guests and are very excited about having big name artists and writers like Richard Pini, Jim Lawson and Steve Murphy. Fun is also a huge factor in our show and that’s why we have our Cosplay Parade and our Art Fight. And to top it all of we have Tom VanZandt as our DJ and Emcee and Benson’s Bagels catering the event.”

In the Art Fight, Masztal explained, dueling artists must take on suggestions from the audience and complete a drawing in 90 seconds.  The results can be funny and creative.

Cosplayer Donnie Francis, who appears at convention as Green Arrow, will be at Bing Comic Con to pose for photos with fans.

ConnLUG, the Connecticut LEGO Users Group, will also be displaying at the convention.

The following are some of the people scheduled to attend the show:
• Jim Lawson is currently a freelance comic artist, but is bets known for in my 20-plus career is my 20+ years working as a writer/artist for the popular comic book series “The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.”
Lawson said, “At Bing Comic Con I will be set up and available to do original sketches as well as to sign any TMNT books that I've worked on. At many of the shows that I attend, folks just want to stop by the table and talk about what the Turtles meant to them growing up, and those conversations I share with the fans (although they tend to make me feel pretty old) are almost always a lot of fun and meaningful. There’s no pressure to buy anything from me, but if you want something truly special I will have some pages of original art to sell.”

• Richard Pini is the co-creator of the long –running comic book series “Elfquest" with his wife Wendi Pini. A science fiction fan who graduated from MIT and worked at the Hayden Planetarium, Pini started the comic book series with his wife in 1977.

• Steve Murphy not only worked on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, but his own book “Puma Blues,” which Rolling Stone magazine “one of the 50 best non-superhero graphic novels of all time.”

• Sean Wang, an MIT architecture graduate, got his start in the comics industry writing and drawing seasonal specials for The Tick and in 2000, he began self-publishing his highly-acclaimed sci-fi adventure series “Runners,” which follows the exploits of a crew of alien smugglers. The first graphic novel collection Runners: Bad Goods made several reviewers' Best of 2005 lists. From 2009-2017, Sean has also contributed illustrations to various LEGO magazines and Scholastic reader books. As of 2017, he has resumed working on Runners, outlining the remainder of the epic story and preparing to finish the series of graphic novels.

• Kat Cuseo has had a passion for creating from a very young age. She has many interests and hobbies from cake decorating to sewing but she has put most of her focus, over the last couple years, on painting and jewelry design. Most of her paintings are based on her favorite characters form books, TV and movies. She will have prints of her work as well as tile coasters and necklaces made using her designs.

• Steve O’Day, former owner of the comic book store “Don’t Call ‘Em Funnybooks” in West Springfield, is a collector of the most dangerous comic books in the world.  He focuses primarily on the comic books of the 1940’s and 1950’s that were deemed so outrageous, offensive and dangerous in their day that they sparked a United States Senate investigation into the damage they were doing to America’s youth.  At the show, Steve will have a large selection of dangerous comics from the 1940’s and 1950’s, as well as Silver Age and Bronze Age collectibles.  

• Brian LeTendre is a writer of the “Parted Veil” horror series. He also has co-hosted and produced a podcast about geek culture called “Secret Identity” since 2006, producing well over 2000 hours of programming.

• Brian Kirk is the creator & publisher of “Moot Comics” since 1986 and will be selling mini comics, sketches and original art.

• Gary Smith is a 1991 graduate of the Joe Kubert School for Cartoon and Graphic Art, and has done various freelance artwork for Valiant/Acclaim Comics, and the Canson Paper Company. Her said, “I produce my own series of comic books ‘The Doe-Nild’ and ‘Tales of J'lleen,’ which can be purchased at Modern Myths in Northampton and I delight in painting landscapes and romantic imagery.”

• Brett E. Swanson is an artist who specializes primarily in comic book and cartoon art and dabbles occasionally in fine and abstract art.  Brett is a 1991 graduate of the Joe Kubert School of Art and has published several cartoon strips for local newspapers and national magazines, and exhibits in various art shows, festivals and comic cons.  He also self-publishes his own line of comic books, “Power Kid Comics” and “The Sentinel.”  

• Aaron Wood is a graphic designer currently residing in the state of Massachusetts. When he’s not creating artwork that has a social media or pop culture angle to it, he’s probably trying to cook up a plot to score some lobster.

• Jim Taylor, is a 30-year veteran of the comic’s scene, primarily in the independent realm.  His work has been seen in JGM Comics, Trinity Comics, Across the Pond, Illustration Studio, Moonstone Comics, and many others.  He’s created cover illustrations, as well as interior sequential work for these various publications.  Jim is also the co-publisher/editor of Recollection Magazine, along with fellow artist Rusty Gilligan.

• Tom Pappalardo is a graphic designer, writer, cartoonist, and musician. He is the author of “One More Cup Of Coffee” (caffeine-fueled essays), “Everything You Didn't Ask For” (a comic collection), and the forthcoming illustrated novel “Broken Lines.”

• E. Hanby is the artist and writer behind “Black Peak,” a self-published webcomic about isolation and obsession in space. Originally a graphic designer, she branched out her skills to include illustration and comics and dedicated herself to finishing her first comic on her own.

• Craig Holland is a comic book illustrator based out of Southern New Hampshire. He received his BFA in Illustration from the New Hampshire Institute of Art in 2014. Since graduating, he has had work featured in magazines, galleries in New England, and in local comic conventions. In 2017, he successfully Kickstarted his first coloring-comic books titled ‘Color Me Reggie,’ an interactive book where the reader can color the panels and fill in the word bubbles."

• Warren Onufer, writing under the name W. J. Onufer, is the author of the “Tales of the Vampire Hadley Price” books. “Torch,” the newest novel in this continuing series, was released earlier this year. Get a copy, signed by the author, at this years Bing Comic Con.

• Cara Bean is an artist and educator who draws comics about poetically expressive creatures, her own embarrassing experiences and an assortment of subjects that trigger her curiosity. She studied painting, drawing, and illustration in college (BFA & MFA) and earned a certificate in cartooning from the Sequential Artists Workshop in Gainesville, FL. She will have comics about drawing, teaching, and animals at the show.

• Michael Murray, owned and operated for nearly ten years, said, “ For this year's Bing Comic Con I will be bringing some nice incentive and variant books on my wall, boxes of competitively priced new comics, a nice selection of $1books, as well as a large selection of Blank Variants that you can have an artist of your choice do an original sketch on for you. I will also have a small selection of toys and statues and other comics related merchandise to share. I'm looking forward to seeing everyone there as the Bing Comic Con is one that I always am excited about and enjoy very much.”

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