The Vermont Convention Scene

Gen Con 2003. Photo by  Alan De Smet. CC-BY-2.5; CC-BY-3.0.

Gen Con 2003. Photo by Alan De Smet. CC-BY-2.5; CC-BY-3.0.

Word’s getting around that Vermont’s getting its own comic convention in the fall: Vermont Comiccon. Information is sketchy at the moment, beyond the date and place: October 25th and 26th at the Sheraton hotel in South Burlington. The convention’s Facebook page is doling out guest announcements as they come. The prospect of a new convention in Vermont is pretty exciting, so we’re all keeping our eyes peeled for more information as it appears.

Addition: Throughout the 1980s, Greg Giordano ran four instances of Greeen Mountain Comicon, which included guests such as Vermont’s own Steve Bissette, Rick Veitch, Eastman & Laird and several other Mirage Studios guys, Mark Shainblum(Northstar) and Bernie Meirault(The Jam) and others.

Geek conventions in Vermont go back to at least the 90s, from my own personal experience. They’ve never approached the scale of mega-conventions like San Diego Comic Con or Gen Con, owing to Vermont’s population density and the facilities available to host such gatherings. Instead, Vermont conventions tend to be more about catching up with friends you don’t normally get to see, and discovering you share an interest with near-by neighbors.

Crisis Comics hosted comic shows in the Burlington area, which for me, in an age before the ubiquity of online sales, was a bonanza of picking up back issues that local dealers didn’t have. Quarterstaff Games hosted seven occasions of Northeast Wars, all about tabletop gaming. After Northeast Wars became dormant, Carnage picked up the tabletop convention torch and carries to this day in the Upper Valley of Vermont and New Hampshire. The Society for Creative Anachronism’s shire of Panther Vale — comprising the northeast quadrant of Vermont — began hosting Pantheria, a weekend-long outdoor gathering, in 1996.

In 2002, Bakuretsucon kicked off as a combination anime and gaming convention in the Burlington area. After a couple years, gaming spun off as Lore Con, while Bakuretsu focused on anime and moved to the fall, steadily growing in vibrancy every year as they descend upon Colchester. Northeast Wars briefly revived for a couple years, before returning to dormancy. The oft-missed Langdon Street Cafe in Montpelier hosted Geek Week annually until its final closing, dedicating each night of a whole week to a different area of geekiness. Green Mountain Gamers formed in 2010 to host mini-convention style game days throughout the state all year round.

Of course, those are only the conventions and convention-like events of which I’m aware. There are few works on the subject, none of which focus on Vermont in particular. If you have memories of conventions past, or information of conventions to come, share in the comments below.

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8 thoughts on “The Vermont Convention Scene

  1. FYI- I was running comic conventions in the 80’s- called Green Mountain Comicon; we had 4 of them in the mid-eighties. Among the many guests we had were Steve Bissette, Rick Veitch, Eastman & Laird and several other Mirage Studios guys, Mark Shainblum(Northstar) and Bernie Meirault(The Jam) and others. Glad to see that someone is trying to get conventions back into the area!

    – Greg Giordano

  2. There was also the Alternative Comics Expo in Manchester, VT in 1995 (ish) run by the Comics Route folks (John Rovenak, now with Panel to Panel), which officially remains the best con I ever attended. And what was that con that Josh Galper ran in the late 80s at Memorial Auditorium? Was that one of yours, Greg, or a separate thing? And there was another one I remember attending (maybe one of the Crisis ones) down at the Radisson (now the Hilton) — Dave Sim was there and Steve Bissette I recall. That would have been early 90s.

    • @Andrew- Yes of course, jeez I am brain-addled. The Winooski show was called Vermont Small Press & Comic Fair hosted at the now defunct Winooski Welcome Center. It was an amazing sample of regional indy creators, including some folks from The Center for Cartoon Studies. Ric Kasini Kadour was the organizer of that show and I was one of the assistant organizers and Co-host. One of the most successful comic shows I was a part of- wish we could have had more.

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