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.)

THE PULPSTER: Open for submissions

Sep 21, 2015 by

PulpFest 2016 is still 10 months away, but it’s not too soon to start thinking about writing an article for THE PULPSTER.

The Pulpster logoEditor Bill Lampkin is looking for a variety of features on the pulps, and the writers, editors, and illustrators who worked on them. If you have an idea, he’d like to hear about it. You can contact him at bill@pulpfest.com.

Next summer’s issue — #25, if you’re keeping count — will debut in July at PulpFest 2016, but the magazine must be edited and assembled before then. Deadline for submissions is May 1, 2016, but early submissions are encouraged.

If you’re interested in advertising in THE PULPSTER, please write to PulpFest marketing and programming director Mike Chomko at mike@pulpfest.com. Mike can provide pricing and print specifications.

Looking for a copy of the 2015 issue? Mike Chomko, Books has THE PULPSTER #24 available for $13, postage paid. The issue features articles on Major Malcolm Wheeler-Nicholson, adventure writer and the founder of DC Comics; the Thrilling Group of pulps and comic books; Erle Stanley Gardner; DETECTIVE FICTION WEEKLY; and other topics. The highlight of the issue is a round-robin article on H. P. Lovecraft and WEIRD TALES featuring contributions from filmmaker Sean Branney; Marvin Kaye, the current editor of WEIRD TALES; W. Paul Ganley, founder of WEIRDBOOK; Derrick Hussey, the publisher at Hippocampus Press; authors Jason Brock, Ramsey Campbell, Cody Goodfellow, Nick Mamatas, Tim Powers, Wilum Pugmire, Jessica Amanda Salmonson, Darrell Schweitzer, and Chet Williamson; poet Fred Phillips; and pulp scholars and collectors John Haefele, Don Herron, Morgan Holmes, S. T. Joshi, Tom Krabacher, Will Murray, and J. Barry Traylor. It’s truly a slam-bang issue from the esteemed editor of our highly popular program book. With less than forty copies remaining, it’s quickly disappearing.

The-Pulpster-24-coverYou can also order back issues of THE PULPSTER through Mike Chomko, Books. Copies of THE PULPSTER #4, 5, 6, 9, 15, 17, 20, 22, and 23 are also available for $13 each, postage paid. All other issues of THE PULPSTER are out of print. Reduced postage is available on orders for multiple books. A copy of THE PULPSTER Mini-Edition, published in 2005 and featuring a history of the Lamont Award, will be included free of charge with every order of three or more books. These prices are good only in the United States. Buyers from other countries must inquire about shipping charges before ordering. Mike will accept payments made via check or money order or through Paypal. Please write to him at mike@pulpfest.com or 2217 W. Fairview Street, Allentown, PA 18104-6542 for further instructions. Quantities of most issues are very limited.

(THE PULPSTER #24 features a round-robin article on H. P. Lovecraft and WEIRD TALES written by a wide range of contributors. Copies are quickly disappearing. Write to Mike Chomko, Books at mike@pulpfest.com to learn how you can order the issue.)