If you have followed my site since it's earliest inception, you will notice the reoccurring topics of "horror" and "comics." These interests are my bread and butter in the entertainment industry. I am allured by sequential storytelling and if elements of the macabre are added to a story, I am nearly a fan for life. So when I heard that the Scottish Rite Center in Sacramento was hosting a two day horror convention called "Days of Terror" followed by a single day comic convention known as "Sac-Con," I did what any normal fanatic would do. I took the days off from work.
Here is an account of the two events, back to back: the guests, the artists, and the awesome finds.
Days of Terror
Miss Misery's Days of Terror to be specific. Honestly, I didn't know what to expect from this show. In the past Sacramento has hosted the "Sac Sci-Fi Horror Show" and it appears Miss Misery's Days of Terror has taken it's place. Of course there is no problem with that as long as the show offers some amazing guests and key vendors. Certainly the website offered a great line-up of c-list celebrities, but unfortunately there was no big name guests to really draw in the crowds.
Upon entering the building and gazing at the convention floor, most guests could tell things were looking like a ghost town. And not in the way that would cater to most horror enthusiasts. There was simply no one there. The main showroom for vendors featured too many empty tables, many of which were pulled back from the main stage. If I wasn't granted a press pass (which I am very grateful for), I would have felt very cheated for the entrance fee of $20. The average attendee could see what Days of Terror had to offer within 30 minutes.
However Days of Terror offered it's own share of excitement and discoveries. While walking around the floor I came across some extraordinary comic talent and shared a good amount of face time with the lot: Tone Rodriguez, Paul Allen, Gary "Gaz" Gretsky, and Jason Dube. The ever vocal Mel Smith chatted with me about the latest on Dead Ahead 2, his new Creepy KOFY Movie Time comic, and asked me about my plans on a Big Trouble in Little China comic (all currently under wraps). I love Mel. He's one of the most down to earth guys in the comic industry and always speaks from the heart. If you ever get the chance to meet him, do yourself the favor and strike up a conversation.
While running around the vendor room, my cohort Justin Hopper and I found a vendor with an amazing selection of graphic novels for unbelievable prices. All of his paperbacks were $5 and his hardcovers were $10. I wish I brought more cash to throw down but luckily he was there the next day at Sac-Con (let's not get ahead of ourselves). Anyway, I walked away with four League of Extraordinary Gentlemen books, which completes my collection--now I can finally finish up the series before Alan Moore squirts out another. We also found some great graphic t-shirts from the guys over at fastcustomshirts.com (their selection is vast and the price is cheap--I implore you to check them out). I found the perfect Return of the Living Dead shirt to wear around this Halloween. I was also pleased to meet one of this year's Face Off contestants Nicole Chilleli who *SPOILER ALERT* recently returned after being eliminated earlier this season. She spoke of working at Safeway in the past but due to her success on Face Off she is currently working full-time in special makeup FX. Good for her!
The remainder of Days of Terror felt insignificant. I wish there was more that stood out, more of a wow factor--God, I sound like one of those crackhead judges on American Idol. But seriously, this Horror show had some good potential. I feel like the show is off to a good start if the show runners decide to return next year. I have three offerings for any future shows: 1.) Add at least two big name guests to the roster (why was Jeffrey Combs at Sac-Con but not Days of Terror?), 2.) Add some panels (were there any this year?), 3.) Get some vendors! If there's empty space, please offer it for a low dollar amount to any creative talent willing to sign aboard last minute (the amount of empty space in the vendor room was pathetic to say the least). Also, did Rebekah McKendry attend the event? I looked high and I looked low but Alas! no Miss McKendry was found.
As weird as Days of Terror turned out, Sac-Con turned out even weirder. But in the best possible way.
According to the Sac-Con home page there were over 1900 attendees at this September's event. And holy crap did it feel like it. I've never in my life walked into a Sac-Con feeling like I was transported to WonderCon. Man oh man, did it feel good! Energy was flowing from the guests, from the vendors, and especially from the attendees. People were not just there, people were happy to be there.
My first surprise of the day was to find the extremely talented independent artist Z. E Pangborn. While on the ride to Sac-Con, I related to my friend Thomas how gorgeous this artist's work was and how happy my girlfriend was with his creations. So happy that she desires to decorate an entire room with his art. How surprised I was to see his work once more at this year's Sac-Con. It turns out that Pangborn is a local to Northern California. If you take a look at how intricate his penciling is you'll immediately know how worthy he is of the comic book medium. If any editors of Heavy Metal are reading this, scout this man's talent now!
The vendor floor at this quarter's Sac-Con was filled with surprises. Comic books, video games, toys--pick your poison, because everything was there. It seriously felt like a mini-ComicCon. I staggered around through the crowds big-eyed wondering where to go first. As luck would have it, I found an amazing Creature from the Black Lagoon toy I had never imagined finding there and then. Maybe at Days of Terror, but not so much Sac-Con. This Creature toy stands more than 12" tall and is a perfect addition to my collection. The most special part about it is that I've seen it being auctioned on ebay before but never realized the superior, gargantuan size. The asking price for this beast was $25. My offer of $20 was gladly accepted.
One of the many talents featured at this Sac-Con was Mick Gray (inker on Promethea and the current Batman and Robin) whom I tend to find in attendance at most conventions in California. Slowly but surely Mick has been kind enough to sign most of my Promethea issues. I promised his wife I would help spread the word about their latest endeavor--to build an eco-friendly solar powered roof. Donations start at $5 and work their way up to $200. Of course there are some pretty sweet rewards if you choose to donate. Check it out here.
While walking around the convention floor I saw many cosplayers dressed as Adventure Time characters who were definitely excited to meet voice actress Hynden Walch (Princess Bubblegum in Adventuretime and Starfire in New Teen Titans). I also overheard one attendee just ecstatic to have met actor Jeffrey Combs (Re-Animator, Frighteners, Star Trek Enterprise). The attendee couldn't stop glowing over his signed Re-Animator poster. I went back into the depths of the vendor room and came out with two more affordable finds. I've longed to read The Upturned Stone by Scott Hampton and bargained the hardcover copy for $5. I also found a copy of Paul Chadwick's Concrete for $4 that I haven't read just yet. Both are well worth the price paid.
All in all, this has been the best Sac-Con I've ever attended. Although Days of Terror was a bit of a bust, the amount of face time with the guests and artists, was well worth making an appearance. To see Sac-Con grow in attendance like this only gives me hope that one day Days of Terror will be a thriving attraction for horror fans in the Northern California area. And hopefully by then, Sac-Con will have grown to a much more appropriate size. You never know. There's no word of WonderCon returning to San Francisco. Someone has to fill it's shoes.