Eau Claire's Comic Con
second annual convention features local artists
by Ben Rueter
Eau Claire is letting geeks be geeks at this year’s Eau Claire Comic Con. If you stop by the Metropolis Hotel on the weekend of September 8, you’ll find not only a vast collection of comics but sculptures, models, cards, shopping, video games, and more.
This is the second comic convention since last year. The convention changed its name from last year’s EC Comics and Hobby Expo to draw some parallels to the San Diego and New York Comic Con, but it is not directly related to those two shows.
“You don’t have to go out to New York anymore to draw comics. A lot of it is done from artists’ homes.”
– con organizer Rob Mattison
The show is again being put together in large part by Rob Mattison and Chris and Rachel Gierke. Mattison said he tried to pull a lot of talent -- including artists, sculptors, collectors, and enthusiasts -- from the Chippewa Valley.
“You don’t have to go out to New York anymore to draw comics.” Mattison said “A lot of it is done from artists’ homes.”
Because of that, most of the talent at the Metropolis Hotel will be local stars.
“All the talent had such a great time last year that they all asked to come back,” Mattison said.
Mattison said that this year he is bumping up the comic side of the show. He’s bringing in talent like Andrew Ritchie (Image), Steve Kurth (Marvel), Mike Wallace, Mark Lone, Kurt Wiegel (GameGeeksRPG.com), Dan Phillips, and Tom Jannusch.
The convention this year will bring in some great eye candy in the way of some rad 80s movie props from collector Tom Erickson. These include the machine gun used on screen in John Carpenter’s Escape from LA and the knife used on screen in John Carpenter’s Halloween. For film art fans, Erickson is also bringing along art from The Outer Limits, The Fly, Judge Dredd and Tim Burton’s unreleased Superman Lives! which was set to star Nicholas Cage as the Man of Steel. Yikes.
If you need something more physical, sculptor Tim Bruckner (author of Pop Sculpture) will be attending. He’ll have his sculptures on display and will give demonstrations on the evolution of a sculpture – how it goes from a block of material to a buff superhero. Bruckner is going to be making a few sculptures with fellow sculptor Mat Brouillard by trading their creations back and forth – a true “tag team” event.
“In a couple of hours we’ll switch off and the ground rules are that you can’t take anything away from the sculptures but you can add to it,” Bruckner said.
It wouldn’t be a comic convention without the vendors. Mattison said the vendors will largely be back, so you can grab your fair share of swag or drop some major dough on collectables to fulfill your nostalgia quota for the year.
In the end, the convention is all about the fans.
“I would always like it to be small enough where you can have those conversations and those interactions,” Bruckner said. “As long as the show is about the art and the culture it will always be successful.”
The organizers hope to grow the show over the next coming years. While Bruckner thinks that the show will never get as large as the San Diego convention, there is still a chance Eau Claire will get to see a few caped crusaders and dark knight impersonators this year or next.
“This is a good excuse for all of us geeks to get together in one spot,” Mattson said.
Assemble your friends and immerse yourself with a variety of all things geeky and nostalgic.