3 Rivers Comicon: Putting Comics Back in Conventions

May 5, 2017 by

During the third weekend of May, a couple of Pittsburgh nerds are hoping to make comic con all about comics again. 3 Rivers Comicon — which runs May 20 – 21 in West Mifflin, Pennsylvania — is the latest addition to the many conventions in the Pittsburgh area.

New Dimension Comics owner Todd McDevitt and general manager Jon Engel launched 3 Rivers Comicon in 2016 after hearing complaints from customers about the increasing cost of conventions and how the shift to an array of pop culture has left comics in the shadows. “I felt like we were almost being challenged. No one said it, but we made it our mission to do it,” McDevitt said. “This is going to be a comic convention. If you want something else, go somewhere else.”

McDevitt and Engel both have years of experience under their utility belts, attending and also working at comic conventions. From that involvement, as well as feedback from customers, they have the knowledge for what will work at their own event.

One major goal is to make 3 Rivers Comicon affordable. Admission is $13 per day or $18 for a weekend pass. Tickets are available through the convention’s website or at any of the six New Dimension Comics locations. They will also be available at the door. Guests include KINGDOM COME and DAREDEVIL writer Mark Waid, NIGHTWING artist Scott McDaniel, and SPIDER-MAN and THOR artist Ron Frenz. Weekend events include panels, gaming, photo opportunities and costume contests for kids and adults. Sunday is Family Day at 3 Rivers Comicon, with kid-focused programming all day. There is also the very popular beer party on Saturday evening.

Tickets to the beer party are $50 and include both days of the convention in addition to a bunch of take-home loot including a T-shirt, exclusive comics, graphic novels and two bottles of BEEREDEEMABLE. McDevitt once again convinced Helltown Brewing to create a beer for the convention. This year’s recipe is a Russian imperial stout, a blend of young beer and barrel-aged whiskey. The name is a nod to the comic IRREDEEMABLE, whose artist Peter Krause illustrated the beer’s label.

“I always thought it would be fun to get a comic artist to do a beer label,” McDevitt said. “And if I was going to do it, I wanted it to be for one of our events.”

Krause and IRREDEEMABLE writer Mark Waid will both attend the beer party to autograph bottles.

“The beer party was the aspect we sold the most of last year,” McDevitt said. “We had people who didn’t care for comics and came for the beer, and people who didn’t care about beer, but came for the comics.”

Let’s hope that Todd and Jon save a few bottles of BEEREDEEMABLE to help us celebrate our first Pittsburgh PulpFest from July 27 through July 30 at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Pittsburgh – Cranberry, just north of Pennsylvania’s “Steel City.” Although PulpFest 2017 will not have its own beer, the convention will still have a lot of great programming. Add to that a dealers’ room featuring tens of thousands of pulp magazines, vintage paperbacks, digests, men’s adventure and true crime magazines, original art, first edition hardcovers, series books, reference books, dime novels and story papers, Big Little Books, B-Movies, serials and related paper collectibles, old-time radio shows, and Golden and Silver Age comic books, as well as newspaper adventure strips. We’ll also have a con suite. So what are you waiting for? Start making your plans to join us at the “pop culture center of the universe” for PulpFest 2017.

(Our illustration is the banner for the 3 Rivers Comicon home page, featuring a New Dimension Comics’ rack in the background. New Dimension Comics has six stores in the Pittsburgh region, providing the opportunity for feedback as well as year-round promotion of the convention.)

Why PulpFest?

Aug 8, 2015 by

Sasquan banner

Today, we thought that we would share a short essay written by Walker Martin based on something he had once posted on Yahoo’s Pulpmags newsgroup. Walker, who writes about pulp collecting for Steve Lewis’ Mystery*File blog, has been a reader and collector for over sixty years. In 1997, he received the Lamont Award at Pulpcon 26 in Bowling Green, Ohio. We’re proud to have him as one of our own and can think of no one better to answer the question, “Why PulpFest?” Take it away Walker . . .

Were you at the 2015 Comic-Con in San Diego? Still tired out from that recently concluded media extravaganza?

Will you be attending Sasquan, the 73rd World Science Fiction Convention with Andy Porter, Curt Phillips, and other science-fiction fans? It will be in Spokane, Washington beginning on August 19th.

I guess I better give my ten cents, though it has been over half-a-century since you could buy a fiction magazine for a dime. I hope Andy and Curt have fun in Spokane, but I’ll be heading for PulpFest on August 13th. This is a joyful trip that I’ve been making every year (with a couple of exceptions) since 1972.

During the seventies, eighties, and nineties, it was called Pulpcon and every year I would see fellow pulp collectors, most of them gone now, damn it. Magazine collectors many of you may still remember. Great guys like Rusty Hevelin, Jack Deveny, Richard Minter, Bob Sampson, Bob Weinberg (he’s still with us), Sheldon Jaffery, Harry Noble, Darrell Richardson, Frank Robinson, Mike Avallone, and such amazing guests like pulp artists Norman Saunders, Walter Baumhofer, Rafael Desoto, and so many more.

I used to attend many of the SF conventions before they started stressing costumes and bookless dealer’s rooms with only a few pulps. I’m talking about the late 1960’s and early 1970’s. I remember when Philcon and Lunacon were worth attending if you were a collector of books and magazines. I also went to several of the Worldcons, such as the events held in New York City, Toronto, Washington DC, and Boston.

But then the dealer’s rooms changed and I couldn’t find old magazines except for a couple here and there. FortunatelyPulpcon, PulpFest, and Windy City came along and enabled me to add thousands of pulps to my collection.

If you are big SF fan or writer, then I guess the Worldcon is the place to be I . But if you are a fiction magazine or a book collector, then there is no doubt about it, you have to attend PulpFest from August 13 – 16 in Columbus Ohio. You’ll find all the details at www.pulpfest.com.

I’ve never met a magazine or book collector who regretted attending PulpFest. I hope to see some of you there!

—Walker Martin

Please remember, if you have yet to book your room for this year’s convention, do so without delay. PulpFest will be sharing downtown Columbus with Matsuricon this week. However, there may still be a few rooms available at nearby hotels. Please visit www.pulpfest.com/2015/06/16872/ and you’ll find a link to a list of hotels to choose from. If you are not from the Columbus area and want to attend PulpFest 2015, we urge you to book your room now and not wait until you arrive.