Sunday, August 13, 2023

1313 Mockingbird Lane's 5th Anniversary Show with Galactic Empire and Full Metal Z

Terry and Liz are two of the kindest and most down to earth people I've ever met.

The anticipation I had for this show was a mix of nervous energy and a hell of a lot of excitement. See, I had never been to the Granada theater before, nor had I seeing the band Galactic Empire perform live. Top that off with the fact that this was a celebration for the 5th anniversary of the toy store 1313 Mockingbird Lane, and that I was asked along with two of my friends who are also artists to set up at the show. I was just over the moon. But between you the reader and me, I had this wave of insecurity wash over me like Oh my gosh is anyone going to even like the new Star Wars artwork I had made for this event?

But my mind quickly went to the reason why I wanted to do the show. Terry Taylor and his wife Liz, are two of the most wonderful and rad people I've ever met. Every time I've ever been to the store they are welcoming, engaging, and very positive people to interact with. I always find myself admiring the work and love that they put into what is now the third version of this toy store. There's a link below to their website at the end of this blog, but I'm telling you if you're in Lawrence Kansas, do yourself a favor and stop by and check out this store and the wonderful duo that run it. And if you're a pop culture or music lover, bring your wallets because the inventory does not disappoint.

I still had a lot of artwork, and it was all packed up still from the weekend prior, so I wasn't too worried about having items to sell at the show. What I was worried about is that I don't normally do a whole lot of Star Wars artwork. That's mostly because I've been focusing on my own IP's as of late, but I did have a few that I had created beforehand for this show. But like a maniac about two hours before I had to leave for Lawrence, I decided to do artwork that was my version of Darth Talon. I'm glad I did, and I'll come back to that point more towards the end.

I was running a little bit behind by the time I finally got on the road, and I really need to learn my lesson because every single time I feel like I have exactly the right amount of time to make it to a location, there is always construction on the highways.

Having the astromech droids doing security and promotion out front.

Thankfully it wasn't a big issue, but to any of you that have ever tried to find a parking spot on a Friday afternoon in downtown Lawrence, you'll understand what kind of a challenge that can be. As I pulled up to the front of a Granada there was a parking space out front, and with Cameron and Bryan's help, I got all of my stuff inside. I then found a parking spot one street over, found out I had to download the parking app, pay online, and then made a beeline through the alleyway and parking lots in between to get my table set up.

I was never so glad that I had my little personal battery powered Ryobi fan with me. Because that afternoon heat was not playing around.

It's the little details in any establishment that speak to how good of a place it is.

I got inside, hit the restroom real quick, and quickly set up my table in about 20 minutes.

Sound check was going on while I was setting up. I was really lamenting the fact that I had not managed to get to the venue earlier because I really wanted to be able to capture some additional photos and videos for social media, but also to get a better idea of what the Granada looked like pre show. 

Finally the line of people started filtering in, escaping the heat of the setting sun, as the opening band Full Metal Z was preparing to play.

Set up was pretty painless. Tables and chairs were provided and appreciated!

For the most part I stayed at my table because as people filed in after paying for tickets, the vast majority of them took the time to take in all of the artwork we had brought. And it was very heartening to not only see the interest people were showing, but also the sales we started making.

I cannot speak for the others, but I did extremely well. At first there were a few people reluctant to buy, even at the show specific prices I had set, but that was because all of my artwork is 13”x19” so I can understand no one wanting to hold on to that during the show. So I offered to set the artwork over to the side with their name on it, because a few people were worried that I would sell out before the end of the night. I'm glad I listened to them, and not my own internal monologue, because I did in fact end up selling all but one of my Star Wars pieces. I sold out of all of my arc trooper art reproductions of the character “Fives”, and remember that Darth Talon art that I had made just before the show? Sold all of them as well!

Galactic Empire hit the stage with a John Williams sized amount of epic wall of sound effort.

One really unexpected part that was a nice surprise, was the couple that had bought one of my Godzilla art reproductions mentioned in passing that they had hoped I would have some of my comics with me because they had seen me on the Robot Co-op twitch stream! I asked them how they found me on there and they had seen me post about being on Twitch after following the link that had my artwork that 1313 had posted about. Rikk Wolf had shown off Ardor issues #0 and #1 on the stream.

That moment reminded me that no matter what, always take the time to talk about things that you are doing for your art career whenever you are given the opportunity. It makes a difference, in raising your brand awareness, and helping you sell art. That and always carry business cards. Always.

I don't think any of us expected the really awesome crowd interactions we all got from show attendees.

Galactic Empire then took the stage, and holy hell this band is something to hear live. Every single Star Wars theme that they tackled, really with something to hear. But the one standout for me, was when I was standing talking to the other two artists during a lull, and Cameron recognized the first notes of the Jurassic Park theme song.

I've spoken before about being at an event or experiencing a moment out somewhere in public that immediately ignites memories in me from the 1980s or the 1990s. We stood there exchanging memories of Jurassic Park, and I mentioned that the very first time I saw the movie, it was at a drive in theater. The surreal nature of it being about 10:00 at night, when Dr. Alan Grant sees  the brachiosaurus, and hearing a chorus of car speakers sounding out that scene into the night sky, will forever be burned into my memory.

I think they had just played an amazing rendition of the Jurassic Park theme at this moment.

Standing there in the lobby of the Granada, that memory became so clear and immediate in my head, it was overwhelming. Thanks for that moment Galactic Empire.

I can't explain the vibe of what essentially was a 3 artist pop up art event, but it was fucking rad. I genuinely was sad the night ended.

Finally, like all good things, the music ended and the evening was drawing to a close. Attendees came by to pick up artwork and final sales were made. I also handed out the last few of my business cards, asking people to check out this blog post.

A lot of firsts this week. First time streaming on Twitch, and first time being at the Granada.

After we had all packed up our things, we stood around and spoke about random things from shows, to late night food, you know things that artists will talk about at the end of a show. Terry and Liz came over and thanked us for being in there, for my part I was thankful they had invited me, because the whole experience really helped prop me back up after the weekend prior.

Links

1313 Mockingbird Lane

Galactic Empire

Full Metal Z

the Granada

Bryan Timmins

Cameron Keiffer

In other realms...

A discovery that's been infiltrating my speakers as of late. A bit of 1980s inspired music I recommend: "Castles in the Sky" by fakelife

Thank you so much for reading, I am Mario, the Artisan Rogue, and until next time, remember to support artists and small businesses. And if you liked what you've read, and want to support the blog, there's a donation button just below.

Be kind to your fellow beings and always take the path less traveled. We all may live in times uncertain, but kindness, understanding, and believing in the good that is in most each and every one of us is what can bring about better days!








Mario, the Artisan Rogue
Illustrator, Voice Actor, Writer, Animal Rights Activist
-All photos, editorial content, created by me. One dude. Thank you for reading.-
www.theartisanrogue.com

Wednesday, August 9, 2023

"Like a Rainbow Road in the Dark" Mario Kart 8 w/ Robot Co-Op

I can't remember the last time I laughed that long playing games.

When Rikk Wolf of Robot Co-Op asked me to be a part of a stream on their twitch channel I was really excited! Never mind the fact that it had been a good long while since I'd hung out with him, it was the opportunity to play video games with friends, and I was about to stream on Twitch for the very first time! I’d also get a chance to go behind the scenes, to witness incredible work ethic, voice acting, and production work come to life in front of my eyes.

The whole experience was a hell of a lot of fun. If you get a chance please check out the stream located here: "Like a Rainbow Road in the Dark" on Twitch

Rikk was kind enough to show off some of the story of Ardor #1

The live stream started off with us talking a little bit about my background, some comic books I had created and an upcoming hybrid music and comic show that was going to be at the Granada in two days. I had also brought a few items from my Sega collection, specifically Panzer Dragoon oriented rarities for Rikk to show off on the stream.

A wonderful highlight moment was getting to meet the show mascot Drac, who is immeasurably, unapologetically, and overwhelmingly, adorable. And he knows he is.

Drac is insanely cute. LOOK AT HIS EYEBROWS.

Getting to be involved along Rick and Zack (who voices the hilariously offbeat and quick witted Cylon the robot) was absolutely equal parts tight professionalism and entertainment in the moment.

Comedy, especially improv and reactive comedy, is not easy to sustain or perform unless there is a rhythm and an unorthodox woven synergy. These two gentlemen, along with many of the other actors that are involved with Robot Co-op, have it in spades.

Some of it could be that every single one of them have unique and specific musical backgrounds. Music by its nature is mathematical, but it is also emotional, and exploratory. If you've ever played in a band, there are organic times that the rhythm and the vibe of the moment lead to unplanned moments of grand improvisation and discovery. I realized how truly lucky I was to be invited to be a small part of that. The wild part about the mathematic aspect present in the performances, is that it is a surreal algebraic ride. Jokes, vocal harmonizing bits, and rapid fire pop culture references, are the variables. It is solving for “X”.

Even though I was absolutely awful in gameplay, I had a blast!

At the head of the class is Rick, reigning in and manipulating the performances into a single focused maelstrom for entertainment. LIVE.

I have previously watched other streams in the past that had moments of amazing chaos, and some technical problems, that become infectiously, hilariously, candid, endearing, and even meme level legendary. Especially for the resilient fan base they have. They call themselves "Coggers".

If I get another chance to do this, I don't care if I have surgery scheduled, that can wait just so that I can be part of one of the most creative whirlwind efforts, I've ever been part of.

If you’re not following Robot Co-Op.

Do it. Do it now. And say that in your head, in an Arnold Schwarzenegger voice. 

Thank you so much for reading, I am Mario, the Artisan Rogue, and until next time, remember to support artists and local businesses. And if you liked what you've read, and want to support the blog, there's a donation button just below.

Be kind to your fellow beings and always take the path less traveled. We all may live in times uncertain, but kindness, understanding, and believing in the good that is in most each and every one of us is what can bring about better days!








Mario, the Artisan Rogue
Illustrator, Voice Actor, Writer, Animal Rights Activist
-All photos, editorial content, created by me. One dude. Thank you for reading.-
www.theartisanrogue.com

Monday, August 7, 2023

Fountain City Con 2023

Never underestimate a fuzzy little companion's ability to ease anxiety over financial woes.

I don't know how many of you reading these blogs do shows, but I imagine that a fair amount of you do. I hope None of you have to deal with pre show anxiety. It's actually not complete anxiety it's a mix of some excitement, a bit of actual anxiety, and almost always a dose of fatigue.

Whenever I have any sort of event that I have to do, all sorts of thoughts start going through my head and begin to drive me down the road leading to a sleepless night. Thankfully my little pooch Penny must have sensed that I was filled with unease, and after about 5 minutes of her attempting to get comfortable in my beard, I finally went to sleep.

Set up and the show hours

I spent the better part of Friday morning just getting the last minute things I needed printed out, bagged up, and accounted for. After getting everything loaded up I headed out to Kansas and got to the show location with about 2 1/2 hours time to still set up. Even with a day or so worth of preparation I had still managed to forget my display rack. No big deal I'd bring it with me tomorrow in the morning since I plan on getting in at least an hour before the show started.

[Friday] Setup went pretty well. [Saturday] Taking a selfie all kinds of awkwardly. Like a boss. 

This overview of the show isn't in any real particular order, I opted to just cover the highlights and then go into how the show came out for me. I'll make sure to add in the information for the photos and the captions below them.

[Saturday] Photo from above level, about 10;45 AM or so.

I made sure I had permission to go up onto the upper level to take a picture of the show from above. According to the metadata on the photos this was about 10:45 in the morning. I was originally going to stitch them all together but then realized in this blog post that it would look ridiculously tiny. In the photo above you can see my booth down towards the left hand center. When anyone came in, my booth was first and nearest in view to the entrance/exit.

[Saturday] Above photo #2


[Saturday] Photo 3 of showroom floor.

There was enough time that I was able to reorganize my wall display, update the inventory listings in my square account, re-bag some of the art productions, alphabetize the art reproductions I had in my print bin, answered a few emails, started writing this blog post, filmed and edited 3 TikTok videos, and got caught up on three of my coaching class sessions daily work assignments, while also talking to my booth neighbors about action figures, shows in the area, and artwork.

That was about 12:30 PM according to my notes, so I was going to eat the lunch I had packed but my buddy Marty (GodBeast) stopped by and offered some pizza so I was all about that.

Added in some new art reproductions.

If I have spare time at a show I will start to do what I did when I was a security guard, count the people in a venue. I always carry a legal pad with me that allows me to take down notes during a show, ideas on the fly, play tic tac toe against myself, or in this case since I was able to see the front door I just looked and checked off every single time people came in. Back when I still worked at bars I used to carry a little physical counter you know the little silver round ones that have a button and there's a three digit readout? Those kind. I was actually missing that little tool as I was sitting there.

The good news is that Saturday allowed for me to catch up with a lot of people in the afternoon, And I went and picked up an action figure from my buddy Terry Taylor over at 1313 mockingbird lane. He was only set up for one day, just Saturday. I'd be seeing him in a few days again on Friday at the 5th anniversary celebration show for his toy store at the Granada in Lawrence KS.

I made my first sale of the day right around 3:45 PM, I sold one Godzilla art reproduction to a young gentleman. I think it was Saturday that I caught up with my old friend Rick Stasi, who was kind enough to gift me a copy of his latest publication, "Letters from the Exodus".

After that, I spent the rest of the afternoon until 6:00 PM when the show ended, just catching up with people and trading with anyone that was interested.

Sunday

I finally got home around 7:30 PM. Add a few things I had to get done before I could get to bed, but when I finally did I passed the hell out.

I woke up early enough on the morning that I had wanted to get to the show about 45 minutes before it opened, but I instead just spent some time watering my plants out back before I got on the road.

The traffic on the way in was practically nonexistent, and when I got to the venue, I parked behind the building and made my way inside. I had a nice unexpected meet up with a few of my other friends where we just talked about shows, old age, aired grievances, and ending it with me oversharing way too much about an awkward appointment I had with the doctor a few months back. If you know you know. LOL.

Jake Angell's sculpting skills are insanely rad.

Anyway,...

On Saturday I had set up a trade with GodBeast for some of his Glyos figurines in exchange for two of my works of art, and I also wanted to pick up a few things from some other people. Those you'll see at the end of this post as well.

This may be a future purchase in the near future for me... Pixel Dan needs to know these exist.

I have a lot of Jake’s creations in my collection, and his work is always an inspiration to me. But I was super excited that his son Rylan was that the show and he had some custom action figures! The one that immediately drew my attention was his clear Boba Fett on a white cardback. I also ended up picking up a custom action figure from my buddy Bryan Timmins.

Cosplayers

I didn't really see a whole bunch of cosplayers go by my booth, but the ones that did were fantastic.

[Left] These three made me miss NakaKon [Right] Love this take on the Mandalorian.

Every single time I see a cosplayer I tell myself, "I want to do a show and I want to run my booth in cosplay"! And every single time I have an attack of common sense and realize that I would probably injure myself and a lot of innocent bystanders in the process of simply trying to run a credit card while in cosplay. 

[Left] The Monster Hunters LEGO sets are some of my favorites, as was were this vampire trio! [Right] You can't go wrong with any version of Bob Ross! The tiara of brushes was a great idea!

The trio in Lego cosplay above reminds me that there was a Lego group that had an amazing set up at the show and although I walked back in that area three or four times I forgot to take photos of the amazing setup they had!

Time to catch up and meeting new friends

The show ended at 3:00 PM, but thankfully I made my second sale of the weekend at 1:47 PM. I also brought my total of business cards handed out for the weekend, to a total of seven. I had stated that wrong earlier to somebody that I was talking to, I had handed out four business cards on Saturday, and three on Sunday.

[Saturday] Onua and Zen absolutely were awesome to have has table neighbors! I traded for some amazing art, and to find that they that were as into MOTU, Jurassic Park, and the She-ra Cartoon as I was. Really missed these two Sunday.

I kept my booth together until about 2:45 PM, when I slowly started to pack up the extra stuff I had. I had everything torn down in 15 minutes, and it took four trips out to my vehicle with things to get everything loaded up.

Studio collection additions and final thoughts.

I'll start with the final thoughts on the show. First the positives.

  • ·         The booth was free
  • ·         the venue was well lit and spacious
  • ·         there was a lot of amazing vendors and creators on site
  • ·         I caught up with a lot of people
  • ·         I had time to get a lot of my business stuff out of the way and organized
  • ·         My booth neighbors were phenomenal company on Saturday

now the not so positive

  • ·         I sold two pieces of art totaling up to $60 for the weekend 

With every show and event I do, I have a handful of various people that will reach out and give me their thoughts on what I write when it comes to my experiences doing shows. Thankfully it's been a mostly positive experience over the years, of which I'm very grateful for and extremely appreciative of.

Doing show reviews initially started out as a personal record, but then also evolved into a resource for vendors, creators, and as I've come to find in recent years, attendees, both new and old to be able to utilize. The one review I get the most feedback from in person is the one of my C2E2 experience.

One thing that I take pride in is providing an honest, open, and fact based viewpoint when it comes to my experiences doing any event or show. I'm 100% transparent about financial things.

After working 20 plus years in marketing and promotions across various companies, I understand that people want to know about an show experiences, specifically creatives, because for the vast majority of us, income and reliable avenues and venues that provide that, are becoming more scarce even as the number of shows inflate yearly.

I hope to keep reviewing shows like this for years to come, even long after I've stopped tabling at them. 

With that said, let me share the handful of amazing things that I got while at this show, all of them from incredibly skilled and dare I say talented people, all of them being creatives that I hold in very high regard.

[Left] Horde Trooper from 1313 Mockingbird Lane [Right] Hallmark 2021 Ornament of Castle Grayskull by Jake Angell

Stickers and a Zombcicle by Jake Anglell

Warduke (Nemesis format) and Boba Fett (Mushi format) inspired releases from the Godbeast 

Custom Action Figures [Left] Revenge of the Ninja figure by Bryan Timmins [Right] Clear - what I christened the 'John Cena edition' - Boba Fett by Rylan Angell

Four phenomenal art reproductions by Onua! 

And a wonderful surprise on behalf of Rick Stasi, his latest publication Letters from the Exodus.

Thank you so much for reading, I am Mario, the Artisan Rogue, and until next time, remember to support artists and local businesses. And if you liked what you've read, and want to support the blog, there's a donation button just below.

Here are also links to many mentioned in this blog update:

Jake Angell

Bryan Timmins

the Godbeast

1313 Mockingbird Lane

Rick Stasi

Onua

Fountain City Con

Pitch Weekly Coverage of Fountain City Con

Be kind to your fellow beings and always take the path less traveled. We all may live in times uncertain, but kindness, understanding, and believing in the good that is in most each and every one of us is what can bring about better days!








Mario, the Artisan Rogue
Illustrator, Voice Actor, Writer, Animal Rights Activist
-All photos, editorial content, created by me. One dude. Thank you for reading.-
www.theartisanrogue.com

Sunday, July 30, 2023

Missouri Game Con, Retro TV Toys, and Comic Book Relief!

I do enjoy a good road trip, as many of you may know. So when the opportunity to go to Missouri Game Con came up, my brother and I made plans to attend. We had previously attended another show in the Saint Charles area, QuadCon, which is a retro toy themed show. If memory serves me right, the first year we went, we met Pixel Dan, got a photo with him, and I bought his Masters of the Universe book.

The days prior to the show had all been extremely hot, but thankfully my A/C works very well in my truck, and there's a lot of places to stop over the course of that four hour drive.

Early morning story.

I imagine there's a fair amount of people that don't like taking extremely long trips to get to shows. Especially when you have the high number of local ones that happen around the greater Kansas City area. But I like getting out to shows where new vendors, artists, and shops are.

The drive to St. Louis was uneventful. Somehow I had miscalculated the amount of time it was going to take to drive there and we ended up arriving to the area of the show location almost 45 minutes before the 11:00 general admission would be let into the show. There was an early bird option which I believe started at 10 AM, but that was $100 a ticket. I don't know exactly how many people were in there that it paid for that early bird fee, but one vendor I spoke to said that it was about 10 to 15 people that had paid that to get in early.

The line of people waiting to get in was doubling back on itself, in an effort to keep people in the shade.

As we finally got up close to the venue, a place called Orlando's, I took note of the parking spaces. It looked like there was already a mad dash happening to line up outside of the door so people were parking quickly if not a bit erratically. I chose to park my truck towards the back end of the lot, reverse pulling into a parking spot.

I've worked enough shows and venues in my time, that I had a feeling parking was going to be a mess out there as the day wore on, and in this heat, I didn't feel like parking somewhere that we'd get blocked in.

Getting out of the truck, we started walking toward an ever lengthening line of fellow pop culture enthusiasts and collectors. I don't care if it's a large show like C2E2 or smaller one day conventions held locally, there's always that really cool feeling of being around people that on the average I probably share a great amount of hobby interest with.

I don't know why the memory of going to the midnight openings that would happen at Toys R Us popped into my mind at that moment. I know those were corporate events sponsored by the drive to sell more Star Wars toys, but those sort of events were like the last waning vestiges of 80s and 90s era pop culture infused moments that functioned as sort of midnight micro cons.

In this instance, I think it's the fact that as we walked up, the exuberance and excitement was very evident in line. As I took photos and a few video clips I realized that the line started at the door, went down to the corner, folded back upon itself and then once again, to keep people in an orderly fashion and thankfully in the shade away from the now rising sun. The conversations around me varied from talking about the Barbie movie, recent additions to collections, other shows and events, and far more mundane subjects.

As we stood in line I took a fairly general head count, and from the door to where we were, was about 100 to 150 people. As it got closer to 11:00, the line, still growing, got up to around 300 people by the time they opened the doors for us. The staff was really on top of things, although they did seem a little caught off guard by how many people were in the line.

There was one fellow wrangling all of us outside, doing his best to keep the ever growing line out of the sun. About 10 minutes before the doors opened, one or two other people came out to check tickets on phones and administer stamps to the back of our hands. I noticed they had a desk inside to do this at, but I'm really glad that they decided to come outside and get a jump start on getting people inside.

Packing it in.

The line began to move quickly once general admission was allowed in. Days prior to this I have been thinking about what I might want to try and find it this show. I knew that it was a video game themed show, so that certainly meant a lot of vintage video game systems and games, and no doubt a lot of other items and related periphery. But I don't think I was prepared, what I saw once I got inside.

So. MANY. PEOPLE.

One of the reasons that I do these reviews is because I want to be able to provide people with an idea of what it's like when you actually get into the show. Table and walkway layouts, density of crowd, what amenities are available, etc.

But even the few photos I got of what I saw the moment I got into the door, just don't do justice to how overwhelmingly packed the room was quickly becoming. The rush to get inside came to an instant slow down and then stop once we got in the room and saw the density of the crowd in regards to the size of the show room.

Even though the room wasn't that big, I still felt that I didn't get a chance to see every vendor at the show.

Once we got in the door, I know that we had to make some quick decisions on which direction we were going to head, and for the life of me I couldn't understand which flow or direction the crowd as a whole was taking. The first thing I noticed was I actually couldn't make out where people were walking at all. 

I have a few friends that do shows. And the ones that are really good at it no and have an intimate understanding of vendor table organization, widths necessary for people to comfortably be able to interact and walk through areas to maintain a stress free purchasing and interaction environment. Never mind preventing a possible situation where if a Fire Marshall showed up they could shut down the show.

I don't ever remember seeing a show with this many sealed and boxed classic consoles.

Within minutes I was in a very slow moving part of the show. Patience was a virtue that I was hoping a lot of people were going to have that day. Claustrophobia was a fear that began to rear its ugly head for me. I'm not exaggerating when I'm saying that the last time I remember being pressed up against that many people, was about twenty six year ago at a GWAR/Misfits concert, near the stage.

So much of the first moments were a blur. Because I was really trying not to bump into people, knock things off of tables, or stumble. I can only imagine what the kids in attendance felt like. 

I estimate that many of the walkways between the tables had only between 3 1/2 to 4 feet distance between each other. From what I understand this venue was a quick replacement that was being utilized because the original venue became unavailable. This is just little bits that I heard from some of the vendors at the show. Regardless of what was happening I was determined to make the best of a sort of screwball circumstance. Neither I nor my brother were in any hurry to leave, so to make it easier we decided to go to different areas of the room and when we got tired eventually meet up back in the lobby.

Exploration and the hunt.

The vast majority of vendors were selling video game systems and games, both retro and new. There were some standouts, I think one or two artists had tables, the indie developers that had created a brand new Atari inspired game called “Mr. run and jump”, were there. A few vendors had action figures, pok√©mon cards, and some other pop culture inspired items.

Nice Colecovision system.

I'm very methodical when I attend a show to make sure that I at least walk by every single table at a show, and try to interact or go through whatever items that a vendor has brought to a show. That's how you find hidden gems and unknown treasures.

Unfortunately, because of the density of attendees, and the lines that people were in, around the tables came to a dead stop, so it was a sort of hit and miss on finding things. It did work to my advantage in one situation where I found a $10 laser disc edition of Jurassic Park the Lost World. I was to search a bin that was underneath the table that had laser discs in it, and it led to having a really informative conversation about laser disc player repair with the vendor I bought the disc from.

An early find at the show, that I never managed to make it back around to picking up.

Taking time to record video and take photos wasn't the easiest. It wasn't the lack of time, but I felt bad stopping to stabilize myself to get good clear video or photographs if I was standing in an area where people were trying to get through. I have a smaller camera rig that is self-contained that would have been much better for getting video in this circumstance. The only downside to that camera is unlike any video that I take on my iPhone which I can quickly turn around and edit and then upload to social media, I would have to wait until I was back at the studio to download the footage, edit it, and then upload it.

I did stop to talk at one table that had a fantastic architectural mock up of the Resident Evil Mansion, and I discovered that it was a project to build a real one in or around the Springfield, Missouri area.

Celeb Webb talked me through what the idea and inspiration about the build of the mansion was all about.

As I'd mentioned before, the crowd seemed really chill and relaxed, even considering the circumstances we were in. I only saw one individual get upset during a transaction with a vendor, but that was because of the lack of signal that was occurring towards the center of the room. Being stuck in place, one can't help but be privy to conversations around oneself. From what I could gather a PayPal transaction wasn't working, because either one or both phones were unable to send money. The vendor in the hopes of being able to salvage a sale did say that there was a general Wi-Fi signal available at the convention. That sort of information is fine, but I'm fairly certain the Wi-Fi was already having a challenging time with all of the other vendors and possible attendees on it.

Rule of thumb that I live by when I come to a show? Bring cash. It will save you and the vendors a lot of heartache if signal is weak or they can't take card.

I remember passing up on this for $10 some 18 years ago.

Some vendors may cut you a deal on multiple items, all because you can pay them a flat amount right there. Personally I find it a lot easier to be able to budget and limit myself. Of course I still have access to my card because you never know what you're going to find when you go to a show, and if I'm eating at a restaurant or go to another location afterwards I like having a backup plan for spending or emergencies.

Crowd burnout.

After about an hour and a half I feel like I had covered 2/3 of the room pretty thoroughly. I'd also managed to stay well within my spending budget. But we had already made plans to hit up two other places that were nearby after we left the show.

So as we had planned earlier, we met in the lobby area near the entrance. My brother had made some major purchases and it took forever to carry a boxed Xbox across the convention floor, with a bag filled with a few other items in hand as well.

There's also a little survival tip for you all: bring reusable or plastic bags when you go to shows. First, it's being environmentally friendly. Second if you bring your own bags, especially reusable fabric ones, I recommend buying some that are uniquely your own for safety and loss reasons, preferably with your last name and maybe a four digit number that you can use to identify the bag, written or sewn to the inside liner. I had always done that on my show gear, every single item has a hidden identification label that I can use to prove that something is mine in the event of theft or loss.

I managed to pick up a few things: the laser disc edition of Jurassic Park the lost world, A loose cartridge game for I believe the Japanese Famicom system, and three Japanese Nintendo DS games complete with cases and manuals. I know there were a few other things that I had wished I'd gone back for, but on my way back out to the front I stopped to play the demo of Mr. Run and Jump, made a note to buy it on steam for a future playthrough video, and finally made my way to the lobby.

My brother and I then just made sure we had everything we came there with and had purchased and made sure that neither one of us wanted to have one more jump into the fray to get anything else from vendors before we left.

I'm over the moon happy to see midsize to small shows have incredible attendance. And from what I'm understanding they did the best they could with the venue space they had on hand. But my gosh, I could have spent another hour or two at the show really digging through bins, making more connections and picking up more business cards, there was a Star Wars pachinko machine there was love at first sight for me, even at $900. I can't justify a purchase like that at the moment, but I would have liked to have known who the vendor was.

The majority of video game items I saw revolved around primarily Nintendo, Atari, Intellevision, and a decent amount of Sega. Prices ranged from extremely affordable to high price rare.

It turns out the parking lot was a bit of crazy sauce. To be fair I didn't see any lines as to where people could park marked out on the asphalt, but judging by the way that a lot of people were parking, I can completely see why parking lines are a necessity to modern society. Thankfully we weren't pinned in to the parking spot I had chosen earlier, and I got my truck out effortlessly.

We had two more destinations we wanted to get to, the first one was a local toy store called RetroTV Toys that had a really impressive eBay page, so i wanted to see what I'd find there. The second was a comic book store my brother wanted to hit up named Comic Book Relief.

RetroTVToys

We entered the address for the toy store into the GPS and found that it was only about 10 minutes away from where the show was happening. Turning up the air conditioning, we drove through a fairly dizzying amount of right and left turns to get to the store. Honestly, as we were driving up I couldn't see it, but my brother managed to see it at the last minute. Turning onto a one way street, I quickly swung into a small parking lot and pulled up right in front of the store window.

Stores like this are the last vestiges of that old going to Toys R Us feeling and finding great items!

It was nice to be in an air conditioned place with elbow room.

I love when I go into a store and the quantity and quality of what they offer makes me pause to appreciate what I have to select from. It didn't take me long to find a few items that I wanted to bring home to display in the studio. The staff was super friendly, and the store was nicely laid out, well lit, and had both new and retro items on hand.

A WIDE range of items, including most major retro lines were available for purchase.

This is a store I'm definitely going to come back to the next time I'm up in the Saint Louis area.

Comic Book Relief

This store was a little harder to find. my brother entered the address into the gps and as we headed that direction I noticed storm clouds were coming in. That always makes me a little bit nervous when I'm in unfamiliar territory driving around. We did manage to find what was the original location, but we didn't notice until we got out of the truck that another business was now setting up where comic book relief had previously been.

We started to approach the store, and noticed the absence of anything comic book like on the shelves.

It was a little bit puzzling as we had seen a Facebook post earlier in the day showcasing that the location was indeed open. As the rain storm bore down on us we were able to figure out that they had simply relocated to the other side of a nearby gas station.

It seriously looked like tornado weather was upon us...

We managed to get to the shop just as the worst of the rain started to fall. 

Comic book relief is organized immaculately. An alpha/numerical order and OCD driven system reigns across the shelving and storage drawers. It was absolutely a pleasure to look for books and I was able to locate a few fairly obscure ones.

This level of organization is enviable and appreciated!

After spending about an hour there with the majority of the bad weather having passed, we decided to leave Saint Louis and headed back home.

All three locations and experiences were simply phenomenal. Aside from the spacing issues and the sheer amount of people at the Missouri game convention, it was a very well stocked show. It's really something when you attend a show and they get the marketing knocked down so well that it leads to a line of a couple of 100 people outside who are ready to spend when they get in.

RetroTVToys and Comic Book Relief were both excellent additional stops that I'm so glad we took the time to find. There's a lot of times in the past where I've gone to shows quite a few hours away from Kansas City and never bothered to look to see what else was available to experience.

Missouri Game Con

RetroTVToys

Comic Book Relief

Mr. Run and Jump

Additions to the studio collection.

So with that here's a few photos of what I picked up at the convention, the toy store, and the comic book shop.

Jurassic Park The Lost World Widescreen LaserDisc - $10

Darth Maul and ReAction Soundwave - $10 each

Silver Hawks Tallyhawk - $25

3 Import Nintendo DS Games, 1 Import Famicom game - $30 for all four

SNES Super Mario Bros World Wall Display/T-Shirt holder Display Cartridge - $10

Scalphunter, Crystar, DC Who's Who, and Sad Sack comics - $9

Thank you so much for reading, I am Mario, the Artisan Rogue, and until next time, remember to support artists and local businesses. And if you liked what you've read, and want to support the blog, there's a donation button just below.

Be kind to your fellow beings and always take the path less traveled. We all may live in times uncertain, but kindness, understanding, and believing in the good that is in most each and every one of us is what can bring about better days!








Mario, the Artisan Rogue
Illustrator, Voice Actor, Writer, Animal Rights Activist
-All photos, editorial content, created by me. One dude. Thank you for reading.-
www.theartisanrogue.com