By Lisa K. Berton
There's a convention for everything you can imagine. Comic cons run the gamut from a single room one-day event to banquet hall-filled long weekends.
What exactly is a comic con? At the very base, it is where comic book lovers go to purchase, trade, and sell comics. Additionally, one can meet writers and illustrators and purchase hand-drawn art. Most comic cons include vendors who sell vintage toys, sci-fi television and movie weapon replicas, and steampunk jewelry for starters. It is common to find celebrities selling autographs or selfies. Food and drink are always available for purchase.
Having been to multiple comic cons of varying sizes over the years, the Northeast Comic Con and Collectibles Extravaganza stands out, it's show producer, Gary Sohmers. The Hawaiian shirt and orange Converse sneakers wearing gentleman was all smiles. Sohmers greeted attendees and checked on staff, vendors, and celebrity guests.
While many comic cons feel like well-oiled machines (or rusty barely functioning fly-by-nights), Gary has a personality like no other, that spirit of aloha; a genuine wish for others to be happy and welcome. It became obvious when walking around and catching bits of conversation between illustrators and other creative minds, they like Gary. You may already like him too and not even realize it. His resume includes thirteen seasons of "Antique Roadshow" and the talk radio program "Calling All Collectors." He a never-ending list of produced concerts and collectibles shows. Odds are you've come across Gary Sohmers and/or his work before.
The two-day event was held at the Boxboro Regency in Boxborough, MA. Video game fanatics had multiple rooms to play in. Seminars were held throughout the weekend. Activities included a kids costume parade, cosplay (costume play) contest for adults, and a family-friendly party. Bosch Brothers Experience and The Waveriders, a surf music band, started their second set with a groovy rendition of the "Batman" TV show theme song.
As if meeting a room full of comic book illustrators and cartoonists wasn't enough, multi Emmy Award winning puppeteer, Bill Diamond was onsite with some favorite characters. Diamond started working for Jim Henson on "Sesame Street" as a teenager. His credits include "Dark Crystal," "The Great Muppet Caper," “Dr. Rock’s Dinosaur Adventure,” and “Phantom of the Opera: Unmasking the Masterpiece.” With a recognizable New York accent, Diamond chats about puppeteering, the convention scene, and his crew, all with the same level of enthusiasm and love. Certainly one of the things that brings Bill Diamond to Gary Sohmers' events is they're both doing what makes them happy and happy people get along just fine.