At the Con: GraniteCon 2010

If you are a geek living in New England, I hope you made your way to the Radisson in Manchester, NH on Sunday for the Granite State Comicon (also known as GraniteCon). GraniteCon markets itself as one of the premier comic conventions in New England. Find out if a 1 day convention can deliver all the nerdery many have come to expect from a convention experience.

(Courtesy of Double Midnight Comics & Collectibles)

GraniteCon is sponsored by Double Midnight Comics & Collectibles, a comic and gaming store also located in Manchester, NH. Known as much for their welcoming embrace of gamers as for their massive collection of comics, Double Midnight Comics has made one thing abundantly clear – they listen to their geeks! GraniteCon seems to be a reflection of that.

When you arrive at the convention space and exchange your paltry $7.00 for admission (free if you come in cosplay) to a full day of comic immersion, you are immediately thrust into the Dealer’s Hall/Artist’s Alley/Tournament Space. Let us be honest, this is where you would be spending most of your time. The variety of Dealers is what you would expect – plenty of comics at bargain prices, the signed memorabilia you are all too eager to break into the piggy bank for and making an appearance as the official drink of GraniteCon,Gamer Soda.

One of the wonderful things about this convention is the variety. Double Midnight Comics understands that fans do not limit their interest to the trades, but are just as passionate about indie comics and artists. Among the artists were some names you may know: Cliff Rathburn (The Walking Dead Colorist), Talent Caldwell (Fathom, Wildcats & Supergirl Artist), Tim Seeley(Hack/Slash Creator & Wildcats Artist) and Eric Basaldua (Top Cow – Witchblade & Magdalena Artist). Also represented were artists you may not be aware of, such as Angela Costello-NievesArt O’Callaghan, Blair Shedd (oneGemini Studios – IDW’s Doctor Who Artist), Don Higgins (Dark Magic & Donuts) & Silver Circle (Animated Independent Movie) who hosted a Scream Contest for a chance to lend your voice to a scene in their movie.

(Courtesy of 501st New England Garrison)

(Courtesy of Ghostbusters of New Hampshire)

Perhaps you attend conventions to critique cosplay. With the lure of free admission, there was plenty of cosplay to admire. Capitalizing on attendee participation, GraniteCon hosted a Cosplay Contest judged by the members of Human Sushi Cosplay. Even if you are too shy to invite the attention cosplay garners, you could have your picture taken with a cosplayer. The 501st New England Garrison was on hand with R2D2 and theGhostbusters of New Hampshire took Vigo out of his crate for pictures with attendees.

Most fans pride themselves on knowing more than others, so what is a convention without panels? The 501st New England Garrison took over the panel room with a screening of Star Wars Builders. The 501st is well-known for their extreme prop builds. Star Wars Builders is a documentary which chronicles their hard work as they build a self-propelled Dewback and Landspeeder.

If you have ever been to a fan convention, you know you can always count on a zombie presence. Adam Miller and Rich Woodall (Art Directors) of the comic anthology, Zombie Bomb!, along with John Herman (Director & Writer) & Bryan White (Writer & Host) of the webseries How to Survive the Strangeshared the spotlight to talk about their projects and our fascination with the walking dead. Zombie Bomb! brings together more than 200 writers and artists to create great zombie stories in a series of comics. You can purchase the first installment from Terminal Press. How to Survive the Strange is a comedic series that provides practical tips on surviving the impending apocalypse. View the first episode now on howtosurvivethestrange.com with new episodes available twice a month.

Making a special appearance, Michael Dougherty, Director of the fan filmBrowncoats: Redemption, indulged fans with a panel. Browncoats: Redemption is a feature-length film which takes place in the world created by Joss Whedon in his television series Firefly and motion picture Serenity. Browncoats: Redemption picks up the story after the events of Serenity. The completed film will be available on dvd and the proceeds will be donated to charity. Sponsored by the SciFi Saturday Night podcast and accompanied by some New England Browncoats, Michael shared stories about making the film. Due to technical difficulties, the audience was rewarded with 7 minutes of never before seen footage of a fight scene featured in the film. Browncoats: Redemption will be released Labor Day weekend. Visit the website to learn more and view trailers.

According to their official twitter feed (@dmcomics), GraniteCon is not their first forray into events: “We’ve been running shows since 2003 but they’ve been taking off in the past few years. . . ” The event was fun and a great experience. Personally, I would have liked more panels and a bigger gaming presence, but it was definitely promising. I look forward to seeing how GraniteCon will continue to grow and develop. One thing is certain, GraniteCon has earned a place in my convention schedule.