RVACON delivers full lineup with variety of exhibitors: Comics, gaming,
costumes, and local business
photo courtesy of Mishaal Abbasi; by David Bromley
Richmond, Va. - The first day of the three day RVA Con event,
new to the River City, was off to an eclectic start that promises to
further RVA's reputation for creativity. Held at the popular Canal
Club venue, which only last night hosted the RAW
Artist's Translations event, today's conventioneers were off to
a busy start. Alex Gentile, one of the Project Managers, was available
near the entrance to cheerfully answer questions. A year in the planning,
this is an ambitious undertaking that should bring together fans and
creators of similar interests. The doors today opened at 10:30 a.m.
and events are planned well into the evening with an after party featuring
a full slate of live music - appropriate, given that the Canal Club
is one of the best known music venues in town.
Some of the exhibitors, perhaps expecting a slow first day, had signs
on their tables indicating they would set up on Saturday. But as has
been discussed in this column before, the enthusiasm among these creators
and fans is admirable. Some early arrivals were already dressed in costume,
adults dressed like superheroes bringing their children. The 'Fantasy
Fiction' subculture is moving further into the light of day.
One such group of fans represented purportedly the world's most popular
video game- a dedicated group that paid to attend as exhibitors just
to create more interest in the game and online participation. The self-described
'League of Legends guild'
is more than 400 strong and growing.
As of this early date, only one used comics dealer was present and a
few comic art exhibitors. Typically, the work was good but unoriginal
- prints, drawings and chapbooks of licensed characters seemed to have
a steady audience, but rely on the continued forbearance of large publishers
that hold the copyrights and, for now, choose to allow a certain infringement
that seems to enhance the popularity of properties such as the Hulk
or Superman. Whether the notorious strictness
of Disney copyright enforcement will ever filter down to the level
of Marvel Comics, now their property, remains to be seen.
A return to the local scene was Jonny Lupsha and his Carrier
of Fire imprint. In between answering questions and selling a nonfiction
book or two, he reports he is nearing completion on his next book, a
compilation of reviews of video games that began as e-publications.
Surprisingly, his fan base requested a paper version, even though it
would cost them more. Bibliophiles are alive and well, it appears. Lupsha
is compiling new articles in preparation for the printed release, and
plans are underway for a book he will begin next year. The presence
of a nonfiction writer remains refreshing in a field dominated by fantasy
Perhaps the most unique exhibitor in this group today was My
RVA Card, an advocate for local business and charity. Entrepreneur
Joe Domino explains that membership provides a discount for shoppers
that spend among business participants from the Richmond market. Already,
restaurants, art galleries, bike shops and costume shops are involved.
Not to mention the proceeds that go to charity. Their table display
featured various products featuring the increasingly famous "RVA"
logo of which residents are so proud. The lovely Mishaal Abbasi
posed with one of the brightly colored sweatshirts in front of the RVACON
display poster, bringing the entire day full circle.