It's spring, which means the sun is shining, the flowers are blooming, and a killer robot is here to destroy us all. Wait, what? Yes, folks, it's the time of year when superheroes descend on the city, both at the cineplex, as The Avengers: Age of Ultron opens in theatres Friday, May 1, and at the Grand Wayne Center, as Appleseed Comic Con returns to Fort Wayne, Indiana, on Saturday and Sunday, May 16 and 17.
For the uninitiated, conventions like Appleseed are gatherings of like-minded fans of comics, toys, and games - a chance to meet with creators and fellow fans, buy original art (a practice of which I am quite fond), and shop. If you've never been to a con before, Appleseed is a great place to start - it's small enough not to be overwhelming but large enough to satisfy all your nerdy needs. I'm on the lookout this year for some Daredevil memorabilia: back issues like Daredevil 7 (1965), the first time Matt Murdock dons his red costume, or the two new DD figures that I've yet to spot in the wild (i.e., at Target or Toys ‘R' Us). Speaking of Daredevil...
Besides collecting comics, I'm a gamer - role playing games, video and board games, collectible card games. You name it, I'll probably play it. A gamer friend of mine who used to collect comics, curious about jumping back in after watching Daredevil on Netflix (so great, you guys), asked me recently where to start. So I pretty much told him what I'm about to tell you. Right now, both the Marvel and DC Universes are in upheaval. Currently, all the action in the DC Universe is centered around an event called Convergence. Designed to span the two months DC needed to move its offices from NYC to Burbank, Convergence and several related books have taken the place of DC's regular titles and tell the story of worlds (more specifically, cities) from across the DC Universe struggling against the villain Brainiac. When the event finishes, DC will be launching 24 new books featuring a diverse cast of familiar and not so familiar characters. Several other characters will see significant status quo changes, most notably Batman and Superman. With so many new titles and new stories, June will be a great time to dip a toe or two into the DC pool.
Even more changes are afoot in the Marvel Universe. Jonathan Hickman, writer of the Avengers books for the past several years, sees his grand storylines culminate in Secret Wars, a callback to one of the seminal Marvel events of the 1980s. Without explaining about three years' worth of pretty dense backstory, know this: the Marvel Universe is dying, and all that remains is Battleworld, a patchwork planet of "countries," many of which are the continuation of classic stories like "Days of Future Past," "Planet Hulk" and "1602." We will also bear witness to the death of the Ultimate Universe, home to fan-favorite Spider-Man Miles Morales. Now, we know more or less what to expect in the aftermath of Convergence, but what the Marvel Universe will look like in a couple months is anyone's guess. Hickman's run on the Avengers titles has been stellar, so my advice is to pick up Secret Wars and enjoy the ride.
If you're looking for indie books (not Marvel or DC), I suggest you check out the same few indie titles I always suggest: The Walking Dead, Saga and East of West (also written by Jonathan Hickman). I'd also add recent titles Descender, Chrononauts, and Wytches to that list.
This really is a great time to be comics fan, especially if you've been away for a while or were waiting for the right time to dive in. And there's no better place to commiserate with your fellow fans than at Appleseed Comic Con. The con runs from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Saturday, May 16 and from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Sunday, May 17. Single-day admission costs $10 for adults; a weekend pass, $15. Children under 12 are admitted free. To purchase tickets or to get more information, please visit www.appleseedcon.com.