Hear Ye! Hear Ye!
Welcome to another edition of the OTC Blog. Later this month, Rachel and I will be vendors at the Harrisburg Comic & Pop Con. We are so excited to have a booth this year to sell our book, jewelry, maps and share some exciting details about Book Two- Raven Naelo and the Fall of the Guardians. We also plan to be vendors at the Four State Comic-Con in the spring of 2022. As you can imagine, putting on events like this is no small task. It takes a dedicated team to coordinate the vendors, guests, entertainers, and so much more. We thought a good spotlight for this month would be to chat with the owners of both Comic Cons.
RAF: Can you introduce yourselves and your role with the comic con events.
Brian: I'm one of the convention owners. John and Andrew invited me to join them about a year after they took over the convention from the previous owner. I'm a semi-retired IT guy, so I am the guy that keeps the website running and tries to remind the others that we are a business, and it can't all be fun. Since retiring from the IT arena, I've taken over full ownership of a comic book and game store called 'Comic Store West' located in York, PA, since 1986.
John: I am also one of the co-owners of the convention. I've been involved with shows since the mid-1990s. I've worked on staff, attended the larger shows & set up at several also. I took over Comics World in Chambersburg, PA, in 2001. I act as the liaison with the vendors during the show & coordinate with the guest artists.
Andrew: I am one of the co-owners and have been with the convention before John, and I took over ownership in 2018. I am a Paramedic and EMS Chief by day and a professional nerd by night. I am in charge of most of the vendor communications and operational items. I am also a manager with Comics World, which John is the owner of, which I will let him talk more about. I am the one Brian was talking about above in regard to needing to remind that it is a business and not all fun..........I still don’t believe him lol.
RAF: How long have you known each other?
Brian: We first met at a local comic convention in 2017 and discussed all of the bad things about that convention. It didn't take long for us to realize that we had the same goals as running a good convention. We spent a year or two attending various conventions together and kept planning our future convention.
John: Andrew & I first met when he was a customer at Comics World. About 6 years ago, he started helping at the store & he's become an invaluable resource as well as one of my best friends.
RAF: What made you want to host a comic con?
ALL: One of the things that makes it easy working together is that all three of us are very similar. We give everything we do 110%, we are always looking to improve, and we are all a little crazy. We also go to conventions ourselves and often see things that we would like to see differently, so that leads to leading by example and showing others how it should be done. We aim to please not obviously only the attendees but the vendors, artists, and guests.
RAF: Can you give us the history of both comic cons?
ALL: Harrisburg (Harrisburg Comic & Pop Con): We did well at Hagerstown with our conventions and knew it was time to expand. Harrisburg was the logical choice. It's 90 minutes from our Hagerstown show, so close enough for vendors and attendees to follow us, but it's far enough away that we get a new group of vendors and attendees. Harrisburg is close to Lancaster, so we pull a large new group of people from there. Harrisburg 2019 was the first convention that we did in Harrisburg, and it was a huge success. We are super excited to return to Harrisburg in 2021.
Hagerstown (Four State Comic-Con): This was the convention that was purchased by John and myself in 2018, at which time we brought Brian in to have the perfect storm of 3 people who have incredible strengths in different areas. This convention was started by the previous owner at a roller-skating rink, and as it got bigger, he needed help so John and I assisted in making them bigger and taking the convention to an actual convention hall. This is our flagship show and has been growing rapidly and becoming a fan favorite.
RAF: Scariest moments in producing these events?
We were devastated in March of 2020 when we were forced to cancel our Hagerstown show, which was going to be at a new larger venue. At the time, we were ready to go. Everything was done, and the event was a week out. It was looking to be our most successful convention to date when we got the call that the state closed down all public gatherings.
RAF: Favorite Comic Book? Your favorite movie adapted from a comic? Tell us why.
Brian: While I love superheroes, I've been reading more and more non-superhero comics recently, especially science fiction. I'm a big Star Wars fan, so I read all of the Star Wars comics, but Marvel Comics is putting out some really good Aliens comics right now (based on the 20th Century Fox movie franchise).
John: Wolverine. Plenty of people say that, but he was the first character that really intrigued me when I was introduced to him in X-Men #142 & that was my start to actually collecting & following storylines in comics. I love everything that Marvel has been doing with the MCU. Hard to pick a favorite. I just enjoy good storytelling & cinema.
Andrew: Amazing Spider-Man- Spider-Man (1st Movie)- Why?................because it's Spider-Man
RAF: If you could have any celebrity come to these events, who would it be and why?
Brian: That's a tough question. If money were not an issue, I think my #1 get would be Harrison Ford. I am a huge Star Wars fan and would love to meet Han Solo and speak with him.
John: I'd have to say Joe Manganiello because my wife is such a big fan of his.
Andrew: Please see the above answer, lol
RAF: What would you like people to know about the events, comic stores, yourselves that we didn’t discuss?
Brian: All three of us love to hear feedback from attendees. This is the best way for us to improve our next convention.
John: Ditto what Brian and Andrew said.
Andrew: We do this because of the people. Our prices are some of the lowest around anywhere for the size of our shows. Thank you to everyone who has ever supported us!
Here's some additional information about the events and owners that make both Comic Con's happen:
Brian’s store info:
Comic Store West
2111 Industrial Highway
York, PA 17402
John’s store info:
1670 Lincoln Way E
Chambersburg, PA 17202
Harrisburg Comic & Pop Con 2021 Event Page:
Four State Comic Con 2022 Event Page:
Owner - Comic Store West LLC
Owner - Four State Comic Con LLC
Well, my friends, that's a wrap for this month! Make sure to come out and visit the vendors this year at the Harrisburg Comic and Pop Con on September 18th and 19th, 2021, at the Harrisburg East Mall. If you would like more information about our books or merchandise, please visit our website and follow us on Instagram and Facebook.
On behalf of Rachel and myself, we thank you for joining our adventure. Until next time, fare thee well, friends.