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Sunday, April 19, 2015

Big Wow Comic Fest 2015


In the past, the top dog of comic conventions in the Bay Area was Wondercon in San Francisco before it moved to Anaheim. Now, it's Big Wow Comic Fest in San Jose, California.

I've been to Big Wow quite a few times, and it's always been a solid comic con since I've been going. This year, it definitely seems like the con is growing in terms of comic artists, guests and cosplayers. Definitely a good thing me thinks.

However, I'm not good at multitasking, and I pretty much have tunnel vision when it comes to comic cons. Yes, I do plan things out well in advance.

This time I only planned to go one day, which was Saturday since my bud and fellow comic hunter Gerry has that day off. I'm starting to realize that for bigger cons like Big Wow, I really should start going two days like I use to.

So, in all honestly, my first order of business was picking up this Big Wow Comic Fest 2015 Program Book. Not because I actually read them or use it to guide me around the venue or anything. 

You usually check in with your ticket, get a badge that allows you into the con, and pick up a program all at the check in counter anyways, so no big deal. However, what I really wanted to check in it was if they put my ad in the program, how well it turned out, and if it got a somewhat decent placement.

Yeah, I decided to pay for advertising in the Big Wow Comic Fest program this year. I figured why not? I'd give it a try and see if it helps to get the word out there.


So there it is, right on the page where it lists where you can find certain comic artists and writers, panels, comic booths, cosplayers who have a booth, local comic publishers, vendors, and celebrity booths.

It turned out pretty good, which I'm always worried about. I'm always worried about formatting print ready files when it comes to sending them off to an actual printer.

Don't do it right and the final printing can turn out pretty disastrous, but it turned out fine. Yes, that is Gerry in the ad who was awesome enough to model for the picture I used to create the comic-like artwork..

You can click the image to see a larger view of it, and, hey, if you're one of the few people who actually saw this ad in the Big Wow program and go to all the regular comic cons in the Bay Area, stop and say hi if you recognize him. 

Most likely, I'll be there as well since we hunt for comics at cons together. Speaking of hunting for comics, that is our primary goal when at a comic con.

This year was cool! There were a lot of comic vendors at Big Wow Comic Fest. There were some of the staple vendors, but there were also some I've never heard of or seen before. As usual, my signature backpack was armed with a printed out want list, which has all the Overstreet Guide prices listed next to the comics, the most recent Overstreet Guide, and toploaders to protect any new snags I acquire.


Even though I brought my list of comics to be on the hunt for, I didn't break it out once at the con. I already had some of them in my mind. This one right here was one of them.

Detective Comics #363, the 2nd appearance of Barbara Gordon and Batgirl. Unlike some sites out there, I will feature or recommend a comic on Total Comic Mayhem whether I already have it or not.

Don't really care for those who only recommend comics until after they've snagged it.  Seems a bit too self-serving to me, but that's just me.

However, this comic was fresh in my mind since doing the Batgirl key issues recently and it surely popped out on the comic wall at one of the many comic vendors we checked out. 

So I haggled it down to $65 dollars and snagged it. It's an over-looked Silver Age key and figured why the hell not. I did want it and it was the best looking copy I found so far and at a decent price.


The next snag I got is Teen Titans #1 at a VG. This copy was also priced at $75, and I asked for $65. That's only one dollar under Overstreet Guide.

The guy at booth looked at the back of the book, which states the grade and gave me this funny look and started to ponder. I was like, Seriously, guy? I'm only asking a dollar under guide.

With a sigh and a dry voice, the vendor hesitantly relented. Just to be a dick, I handed the guy a hundred dollar bill so he'd have to give me change. He gave me another funny look.

It wasn't the greatest deal, but I knew there was a more than good chance that this book would soon get a bump in demand when the Teen Titans TV series would start pumping out more news about it.

It is a nice book to own as well and once an over-looked Silver Age comic. To be honest, though, I did just want it just to have it and I think it'll come back from CGC or CBCS a VG+ or the most a 5.0 VG/FN. Who knows, though? Got my fingers crossed on that one.

It's getting harder and harder to find deals for comics on my want list, even at comic cons. Those are the only two snags I picked up yesterday. All around, it was still fun. Had a great time on the hunt, and Gerry picked up a pretty good deal for a really nice, high grade Daredevil #181, death of Elektra.

Yes, I did hunt for another high grade Daredevil #168, but those raw copies were going for CGC 9.4 NM prices one could find on eBay. Oh, well, maybe I'll be able to find a good deal at another con for that one.

Also on my agenda was submitting some books to CBCS. Gerry informed me a few days before the con that CBCS would have a booth there. 

I figured it was time to finally use their grading service. I brought some low ball comics as my first test. They are not overly great comics in terms of grade. 

I submitted my Aquaman #29, first appearance of Ocean Master, which is maybe a 6.0 FN the most. X-Men #5, 2nd appearance of Brotherhood of Evil Mutants (Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch) and 3rd appearance of Magneto, was also submitted. 

That comic is definitely a lower grade, and I will literally be extremely happy if it's slabbed a 4.0 VG. I'm thinking it may be a VG minus or GD/VG.

My last submission was Daredevil #7, first red costume, and I'm hoping it comes back a 5.0 VG/FN. That comic was purely for a test as I did snag it from NewKadia. 

Actually, Daredevil #7 was in the first group of comics that I ever bought at NewKadia and I used the first time buyer coupon code they have. I got it 20% off, and they had it graded at a FN.

However, after receiving it from NewKadia, I seriously don't think it is a FN, so that submission is to purely see how badly NewKadia over-grades their comics or if they're somewhat near the bull's eye. As of now, I'm pretty sure it will come back under a FN.

Who knows though? I could very well be surprised, but as of now, I think it will be below it.  I would not be surprised if it comes back a VG/FN to be honest. I wouldn't be upset if it did. A VG though, I'd be leaning more towards the side of pissed off for sure. We shall see.

As for the cats at the CBCS booth, I was overly impressed with their service. They were really cool. They actually sit down and help you fill out the form.

They even offered to combine the shipping cost if we bought comics later on during the show and wanted to submit new ones. Hey, any grading service that goes out of their way to help you save on shipping is cool in my book. 

It would've really sucked if we submitted our first round of books, got new snags at the con and wanted to submit another batch, but then had to pay shipping again on the 2nd submission round. Even though my limit was only those three comics, I still think it was awesome they offered that.

On top of that, the price for submitting those comics was amazing. All of the ones I submitted there were pre-1969, and it only cost $88 total for the tiered service plus return shipping.

If I would've submitted them to CGC, the cost would have been $140 for only two books and over $200 for three. Yeah, I almost gave myself a high-five when the CBCS guy gave me the total, so definitely a pleasant experience so far.


Despite that my main focus was purely comics, there were some stand out things to see at the convention. To be honest, when my one-track mind is purely on the hunt, I usually blow past cosplayers, celebrities and even most of the comic artists.

The hunt does take time. Gerry and I usually circle around the vendors three or four times to gauge certain deals and compare them to each other. Who is pricing their books close to guide? Which vendors are greatly over-pricing their books?

Sometimes it's a mish-mash, but sometimes a vendor's whole booth is grossly over-bloated when it comes to pricing. So the hunt can usually take up a full day, especially when you're on a budget and a cheap ass like I am.

Still, I do have a great respect for cosplayers. As I've said before, they do make cons that much more special when it comes to seeing your favorite comic characters in the flesh.

There were tons at the Big Wow for sure. A lot of them were younger fans, probably still in highschool. This couple here however was a definite stand out. I've never seen this before and I thought it was cleverly cool. They in fact took a great  and over-looked piece of the X-Men mythos and cosplayed as regular humans protesting against mutants.

They were down right serious too, and spouting anti-mutant and X-Men propaganda. Sorry, the picture is blurry and not that great, but their concept was. If they happen to stumble upon this site, which I highly doubt, I just wanted to give them a shout out for being superbly different.


Valerie Perez @ Big Wow 2015
Valerie Perez is probably my favorite cosplayer ever. Last year I missed Big Wow because I got sick, but I've always wanted to snap a pic of Valerie.

Getting one this time was definitely on my agenda. She does an amazing Vampirella and I was hoping to catch her in that costume.

However, she's also an amazing Wonder Woman, and I can say she is definitely my favorite Wonder Woman cosplayer out there. 

She seems like an amazingly sweet person. Very approachable and kind. She was gracious enough to take the time to pose when I asked. 

And yes, she geeks out also. Actually, right after I asked her if I could take her picture and she said yes, she saw other cosplayers walk by and geeked out, asking them if she could get a picture with them. 

After she got her picture, she thanked me for being patient and then posed for this picture. I didn't mind. 

The fact that she geeked out on other people's costumes was charming to me. When she did ask them, she literally blurted it out. It was totally an excited reaction so I can't really blame Valerie Perez for that. Not like I've never geeked out before, and to be honest, stuff like that is nice to see.

Very down-to-earth person and a class act in my book. After a brief meeting with her, Valerie Perez is now definitely my favorite cosplayer so far. So if you see her at a comic con as she does hit up various ones across the U.S. at least, be sure to stop by and say hi. You can also check out her site at www.valerieperez.com if you're into cosplay


Another cool highlight was the replica DeLorean car from the Back to the Future movies. First time I've ever seen one, so a picture was a must.

I'm also a fan of the trilogy, and I'm seriously hoping that one day Leah Thompson will find her way down to a Bay Area comic con. I need to get my blu ray DVD box set signed by her.

That is one autograph I would stand in line and pay for. No doubt about that.

Speaking of lines, Dave Gibbons was there. I did bring my collected edition of Watchmen, but there was a pretty big line. I totally copped out and opted not to stand in that line. Needless to say, I didn't get my book signed. Oh, well, maybe next time.

As usual, Gerry and I stopped by Ron Lim's table to say hello. Gerry got his Infinity Gauntlet #4 signed, and as usual, Ron was gracious enough to sign it and chit-chat a little. Always a class act, definitely stop by Ron Lim's table if he's ever at a comic con in your area. 

Also, if you like Original Comic Art, be sure to take a look at his. He usually has Original Comic Art pages from his run on Silver Surfer, as well as Thanos related comics. You may even spot some awesome original comic art pages from the Infinity War and Infinity Crusade comic series. Those I highly recommend for fans who collect Original Comic Art.

We also stopped to chit-chat with Chris Marrinan.  He's also another very personable comic artist to talk to.

I flipped through his comic art looking for any Original Comic Art pages he did on his work for Batman. There were a few great pieces.

One page that I was going to get had Batman and Killer Croc, but I thought best to wait till near the end of the con to see how the funds were. However, I forgot to swing by his table again before we left and didn't realize I forgot to snag that page until we were on the freeway heading towards home.

I'll see if he still has the page at Wizard World Sacramento, and if so, I'll be all over that like stink on doo doo. Better put that on my want list so I don't forget.

I had a great time this year at Big Wow Comic Fest. There were a lot more comic vendors than East Bay Comic Con, and I was a bit disappointed with East Bay Comic Con. The deals there were few and far between this year concerning comics. I did snag a pretty good one there though, so I'm not complaining all that much. That one will be in a future Vault post.

Really strange to say, but I'm already excited about next year's Big Wow Comic Fest. I will definitely be doing two days instead of one next year.

12 comments:

  1. nice cons sound like fun I can't wait to go to one

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    1. Hiya Gabriel, you got a con near you? I'd definitely go if so.

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  2. Wow! How I miss diggin' in the bins. Sounds like you two had fun. Thanks for the indepth review. Maybe next time you get that DD 168 and that drawing...

    Ace

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    1. They are definitely on the front burner of my mind, Ace. Yes, it was fun. You got any comic cons near you?

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  3. I had a great time at Big Wow this year. It was much bigger than it was 2 years ago. There were so many comic vendors it didn't seem like we had enough time to really dig into the boxes to find some good deals. I'm definitely going to have to ask for Sunday off next year so I can go both days too.

    I have to chime in a little bit about meeting the guys at CBCS. Besides submitting a couple of books, which they also helped me fill out the form for, I brought my Uncanny X-Men 297 Pressman variant that I submitted a while back.

    If you want, you can read all about it here:
    http://www.totalcomicmayhem.com/2014/10/my-cbcs-experience.html

    I brought it and asked why it was never labeled correctly. The CBCS rep didn't know how the mistake got past quality control... twice.... and apologized for it. I gave him my book to send back to CBCS and have it relabeled, and all on their dime. After all was said and done, he thanked me and apologized one more time then shook my hand. Super stoked and have mucho respect for that company.

    ~Gerry D

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    1. To be honest, Gerry! I have fun at most every con I go to, even if I can't find that good of deals. It really depends on who you cruise with at these shows.

      Go with the wrong person and they can definitely make the experience not so much fun. Did that once with my most recent ex girlfriend, the ex you met two years back, and that was an okay experience. She was a sport about it, but I did not get the on the hunt time that time.

      Big Wow was surely bigger this year than when we went last time. I'll be going two days next time, so hopefully you can get that Sunday off too.

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    2. Big mistake Mayhem! Don' t go to a Con with your girlfriend - I mean, if her name is not Valerie Perez ;-)

      Max Rebo

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    3. Lol Rebo....true that! It wasn't that bad though, just didn't get to hunt for comics. If I did, I bet I would've been nagged a lot more to hurry up. I agree though. When you're on the hunt, the last thing you want to be doing is baby sitting someone and making sure they're getting enough attention or not bored. If your lady geeks out with you or is supportive, then it's all gravy at cons.

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  4. Valerie Perez? DeLorean? Oh boy, that sounds like christmas and birthday all rolled into one to me!

    Triple A

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    1. It was surely fun Triple A. Can't wait for next year's show!

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  5. Glad to hear you had a great time! I'm still looking for a decent Detective 363. I went to a con the other week but couldn't really find anything from my want list. Had a good time though.

    --Jeff

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  6. Went here for a friend's event. The food at Los Angeles event venues was better than expected, the appetizers consisted of chicken skewers, potato ravioli, and a brucetta.

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