Trouble with Comics

Five Questions About The Albany Comic Con


The Albany Comic Con returns to the Holiday Inn on Wolf Road in Colonie, New York this Sunday, June 16th from 10 AM to 4 PM. The show has grown larger and attracted a more impressive list of comics professionals with each passing year. This year’s lineup includes J.M. DeMatteis, Todd Dezago, Fred Hembeck, Joe Jusko, Rick Leonardi, Ron Marz, Matthew Dow Smith, Joe Sinnott, Joe Staton, and others.

The Albany Comic Con always features benefits for local charities, and this year there are two to raise funds for the Albany Ronald McDonald House. The first is a charity art auction that takes place at the convention, as artwork created by the pros attending the con will be auctioned to bidders during the show. All of this year’s pieces are based on Marvel’s Avengers movie. The second fundraiser is the Albany Comic Con sponsoring the Tri-City ValleyCats (the Class A affiliate of the Houston Astros) game Saturday, July 6th, at Joe Bruno Stadium on the campus of  Hudson Valley Community College in Troy. Albany Comic Con will honor legendary comics artist Joe Sinnott.  Dubbed “Meet Joe at the Joe,” the event will give fans a chance to meet Sinnott, receive an exclusive baseball card, and get autographs from Joe and other local comic professionals. Albany Comic Con will be selling tickets to the July 6th baseball game during this Sunday’s convention. Tickets are also available at Excellent Adventures Comics in Ballston Spa, Comics Depot in Saratoga Springs, and other local comic shops around the Albany area. Game tickets are $5, and come with the Joe Sinnott baseball card. Proceeds from the tickets will benefit the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Albany.

In this edition of the Five Questions, Albany Comic Con 
organizer John Belskis weighs in with his thoughts about what has become an annual Albany tradition.

1. What is your overarching philosophy or vision of the Albany Comic Con?

To provide the regional area with a convention based on comic books and comic book art, that can be affordable and family-friendly. I think most of the larger shows have become major media events that have left comics a distant second. They can also be tremendously expensive to attend, especially for a family. Our show is more intimate, and even though smaller, is well-attended enough to give it a real sense of what a bigger convention is like. We also have kept our prices affordable which allows for a more family-friendly environment.

2. What have you learned from the past few years of holding conventions in the Albany area?

How talent-rich this area is. I’m amazed at how many professional comic book creators live within a short drive of Albany, and how willing they are to attend and always contribute to the convention. I’m also grateful to all of the local stores who help promote, and attend the convention. Many shows use the city’s name they are located in, but have many vendors from outside the city, and little support from the local shops. Our show is truly Albany Comic Con, with a local following that’s hard to match, anywhere else.

3. What one thing would you like someone to know, if they’re considering coming but have never been?

If you’re a comic fan, then this show is for you, but even if you’re not a comic fan, this is six hours of fun and nostalgia, and it’s all for only $5.00. It may also inspire your kids to want to read. What parent wouldn’t feel good about their children wanting something to read. People who have never explored comics would be amazed at the variety and complexity this hobby has to offer, for kids, and adults.

4. What is the most fulfilling thing about organizing this show year after year?

Seeing kids loving the comics, and the convention. Comics today sorely lack a next generation to continue reading and loving them. There is so much competition for the attention of kids these days. Our show in its small way gets the word out that comics are still alive. Hopefully we are inspiring another generation that will want to keep buying, reading and collecting them, for many years to come.

5. How would you like to see the show evolve in future years?

I’m happy with the slow and steady growth the show has had. I like the idea of more smaller events throughout the year, than just one large event once a year. I don’t know if we will ever grow into a major multi-day convention, but if we get there, it will happen when the time is right. I would be happier, if in 20 years, the Albany Comic Con is still going strong, with two or three shows a year, that everyone can still attend and enjoy.

Alan David Doane

PR: Albany Comic Con To Benefit Ronald McDonald House

Press release:

The Albany Comic Con will host an auction of original comic book artwork to benefit the local chapter of the Capital District Ronald McDonald House Charities. Local comic book professionals have donated original sketches to the Albany Comic Con which will be auctioned the day of the convention in a silent auction. The auction will run from 10am to 3pm, Sunday, June 10th, 2012. Sketches of famous comic book characters including Batgirl, Supergirl, The Thing (from The Fantastic Four), Black Widow (from The Avengers), and more will be the highlights of the auction.  Sketches have been donated by such notable longtime artists as Joe Staton, Joe Sinnott, Lee Moder, Paul Abrams, Fred Hembeck, and many others. This is the third charity auction that the Albany Comic Con has held, and it is expected to be the largest in terms of the number of pieces of original comic book art available.

The mission of Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) is to create, find and support programs that directly improve the health and well being of children. The charity’s core values include:

* Focusing on the critical needs of children.

* Celebrating the diversity of the programs and staff, volunteers and donors who make them possible.

* Staying true to a heritage of more than 36 years of responsible stewardship.

* Operating with accountability and transparency.

There is no charge to enter the auction and all of the proceeds from the auctioned artwork will be donated directly to the Albany Ronald McDonald House. The Albany Comic Con will be held Sunday, June 10th. Admission to the convention is $5.00. We invite local media to come out for this event, and we thank you for helping spread the word about the charity auction for a very worthwhile organization. 

What: Albany Comic Con  Silent Art Charity Auction

When:  Sunday, June 10th, 2012    Time:  10am to 4pm.

Where:  Albany Comic Con, Holiday Inn, 205 Wolf Rd., Albany, NY 12205

The REAL Adirondack Comic Book Show

Please be aware that a rumoured “Adirondack ComicFest” is bad news, and Google its “organizer” Rick Olney for all the details on why. I live in the foothills of the Adirondack region, and as a resident it really grinds my gears to see Olney trying to ply his toxic wares in my backyard (literally; I can see the Adirondacks from my backyard). Tony Isabella often reminds people of why they should shun Olney and his many various fictional “shows” and “companies,” and his column today prompted me to add my voice to the choir, with a far better idea for anyone interested in comics that might have been sucked in to Olney’s latest scam.

You might consider attending the REAL comic book show of the Adirondack region, the Albany Comic Con. It’s run by honest people that I have personally dealt with for years, and features great guests twice a year, including Fred Hembeck, Joe Staton, Matt Smith, Ron Marz, Joe Sinnott, and this fall, Jim Starlin. Folks like Staton and Hembeck have attended twice a year for years now, so I assume they get paid and are happy with the show, unlike many people who have been victimized by Rick Olney in the past. I write this now in the hopes of preventing future pain to people who love comics. So forget Olney’s latest scheme and plan to attend the Albany Comic Con this October. Details are here:

The Albany Comic Con is only an hour or so from the Adirondacks and the Adirondack Park, so anyone who had been excited about Olney’s show before finding out the truth about him might want to consider coming to the October Albany Comic Con. Please note that the show is an occasional advertiser on this site, but even if they weren’t, I would urge you to attend because it’s a great show, a good time and a wonderful chance to see all the comics-oriented people in the upstate New York/Adirondack region; and I would still urge you to avoid anything at all that is connected in any way to Rick Olney.

Alan David Doane 

Albany Comic Con Argonauts Variant Cover

Thanks to John Belskis at Excellent Adventures in Ballston Spa, NY (an occasional advertiser here on the site), here’s a look at the Argonauts Albany Comic Con Variant, which will be available at the convention at the Holiday Inn on Wolf Road in Albany on October 24th.

The comic is written by Keith Dallas, and the cover was done by Christian St. Pierre. It features Nipper, a well-known downtown Albany landmark. Hope to see you at the show!

Alan David Doane

PR: Details on April 25th Albany Comic Con

From the official press release:

The city of Albany’s instantly recognizable skyline will be featured on a special edition cover of Magdalena #1, published by the Image Comics imprint Top Cow Productions. The exclusive, variant edition cover will only be available at the Albany Comic Con, to be held 10 a.m.-4p.m. on April 25 at the Holiday Inn on Wolf Road in Colonie. Admission is $3.

The special cover was created by local artists Matthew Dow Smith of Saratoga and Terry Austin of Woodstock, both of whom will appear at the comic con. Local author Ron Marz, who wrote Magdalena #1, will also appear. Only 250 copies will be made available at the show, and all three creators will be signing the issue. Convention promoter John Belskis worked with Marz, Smith and Austin to make the cover a reality.

  “Usually a convention exclusive cover is a pin-up of the main character. We really felt like this was an opportunity to create an image specific to Albany itself, and Matt and Terry  did a beautiful job of bringing it to life,” Marz said.  The Magdalena #1 cover features the title character, in her signature red-and-black costume, framed against the Albany skyline.

  “The cover shows the state towers and the Egg, a very nice perspective of the city,” said Belskis. “It’s great to see the capital city on a comic cover, and the Albany Comic Con is honored to have a small part in making it happen.”

The Los Angeles-based Top Cow Productions worked directly with the convention and the local pros to bring the cover to life. Last year’s Albany Comic Con featured a special cover of Top Cow’s Witchblade #131, also drawn by Smith. “I’ve been attending the Albany Comic Con since it began a few years ago, and it’s one of my favorite conventions,” Smith said. “I was happy draw something like this special cover to help bring attention to the show, and the city of Albany. I’ve always admired Ron’s work, and I’m a big fan of Terry Austin. Having Terry ink my pencils on this cover is a dream comes true.” 

For additional information on the cover and the convention please go to or

To see a larger scan of the cover, click here. Note: The Albany Comic Con advertises on Comic Book Galaxy.