Recently, I attended my first Comic Book Convention in Charlotte. I have always lived in North Carolina, but I have never really experienced Charlotte. I heard that it was huge and stressful making me think it was like Minneapolis, Philadelphia, or Toronto, which I have experienced through my hockey travels.
So I was prepared for the hustle and bustle of Toronto, but I found that Charlotte is very laid back and a comfortable city. Of course, it’s much larger than Pikeville, but I didn’t feel like I would be trampled by a crowd or that the “walk” sign would change while in the middle of the street.
We stayed at the Hampton Inn Uptown in an accessible room. I was really impressed with the room! Most accessible rooms have 1 bed, but this one had 2, all the furniture, and an accessible bathroom with plenty of space for my wheelchair.
When I travel, I try to find a good meal. I decided on LaVecchia’s, a seafood restaurant. Apparently, it’s pretty popular as it is completely sold out for the week of the Democratic National Convention. The food was great! I had sea bass and there are at least 3 other dishes I would love to try, so I’ll have to go back. Dessert was an amazing piece of chocolate cake. I definitely recommend LaVecchia’s if you’re in the area. It is a little pricey, but it’s okay to spoil yourself occasionally.
The Convention was the next morning. My parents and I didn’t know what to expect, but we enjoy new experiences. I was as prepared as possible because I had been emailing questions to one of the organizers, Karla Marsh. She was extremely helpful and wanted us to have a good experience. She even put us on her comp list and got us in the convention for free! Unfortunately, I didn’t get to meet Karla in the zoo of people, but I am very thankful for her kindness. She helped make the event enjoyable for us.
Being on the list, we were able to go in 30 minutes early, so we walked down the red carpet into the most comic books I have ever seen! Being a rookie, I stopped at the first table where the salesman asked me what I was interested in. Although I had a list, I just said, “Captain America.” Of course, then he brings out this huge pile of nothing but Cap for me to go through. They all just looked so cool that I ended up buying about 10 books before I really even got in the building! I ended up with 47 books and I think my list only had 8! There were just so many good deals.
So far, my favorite purchase was a “Men of War” #1 first printing from 1977. It’s not in “mint condition” as I only paid $2.00 for it, but I am a fan of that comic and was just excited to find the first one. The story was great! The character overcame polio and joined the Army in WWII, where he was given a low level job because he was black. By the end, however, he’s a celebrated hero. I enjoy the whole “striving to be the best you can be even through adversity” type story.
The convention also had many artists, which will be more exciting for me as I continue to learn more about comics, but I don’t know any of them yet. There were also workshops on the business of comics, which I would like to see next time. I could only spend one day at the event with hockey practice the following day, but it was a good day!