Comic Conventions have become a staple of the world of fandom. Over the years they’ve evolved from small gatherings to epic trade shows, filling convention centres across the continent and around the globe. For comic fans, it’s a chance to meet some of the amazing creators behind some of their favourite stories. These encounters give us a special moment we’ll never forget. Maybe even a cool story. But what about the other side of the table? What stories of convention life can they share? Pros and (Comic) Cons has the answer!
Edited by Hope Nicholson and distributed by Dark Horse Comics, Pros and (Comic) Cons is an anthology featuring comics and prose stories (a mix of previously released and brand new material) from a collection of comic creators and professional geeks from all walks of life. Theses stories reveal what it’s like on the other side of the table. The book sports an impressive group of talent, including stories from Brian Michael Bendis, Kieron Gillen, Amy Chu, Jim Zub and more! With a wide variety of tales to choose from, there’s something in here for everyone.
To no one’s surprise, a great number of these stories are very funny. Whether it’s Tania Del Rio’s underwhelming first experience guesting at a convention (Ego Trip) or Morgan Hoffman’s tale of that time she DIDN’T host David Hasslehoff’s panel (A First Time Moderator’s Worst Nightmare), there is a theme of miscommunication at cons that leads to some pretty funny anecdotes. There’s also stories of things you can only see at a convention, like Nika Comics’ Dino Rumble. Where else can you witness a pair of T-Rex have a 5 minute battle then happily move on like nothing happened? Nowhere but the middle of artist alley! Andy Kuhn’s Con Sketch reveals the eclectic sketch requests he’s received at a show. These stories capture the fun and hilarious world of cons to a tee.
But Pros and (Comic) Cons is not just full of comical adventures. There’s also a number of sweet and even magical moments. Tini Howard presents the essay Break Even that follows her evolution from fan to cosplayer to comic creator. In Falling In Love (with art by Louie Chin), Amy Chu recounts her own comic book origin story. Kieron Gillen and Julia Scheele bring us The Oral History of the Thought Bubble Dancefloor which reveals the true communal powers of dance and song. There’s magic in the air at conventions and these stories are proof of it.
Hope Nicholson did an excellent job of assembling a very diverse assortment of stories for this anthology and it is her best one yet. She also provides a fun story of her own! Featuring artwork by Jean St-Onge, Cons Make Strange Bedfellows shows Hope’s experience tabling at various comic conventions. The story is a tongue-in-cheek warning of what’s it’s like to have her as a table mate at a show. A little funny and a little sweet, the comic sums up the general feel of this anthology.
If you are a long time fan of the convention life, or even if you’re a noob to the world of fandom, Pros and (Comic) Cons is an entertaining read! It’s a beautiful love letter to comic cons that any fan would enjoy. Thanks to Penguin Random House Canada for providing a copy for this review. Get your copy today wherever you buy comics.
If you’re gonna geek out, GEEK HARD!