Monday, May 4, 2015

Blastoff Comicfest Was A NOHO Festival

I was surprised to see the comic festival from the street. Happy patrons with bags with blue and white that read Free Comic Book Day walked down Lankershim as I reached Blastoff Comicfest. The one day event created a festival of free comics, food and signings for comic fans.

The fest came from Jud Meyers, the owner of the not too distant Blastoff Comics in North Hollywood and creator of Blastoff Comicfest, who decided to hold the festival in a lot near The Federal on Free Comic Book Day, last Saturday, May 2nd. A day when comic shops hand out free comics to customers and some hold special events. "It's exceeded all expectations, " Jud told me himself as he helped hand out free comics to those attending. He told me about the event as free balloons he was giving out made funny noises in the air as younger comic fans played with them. "Skeee," you could hear a balloon deflate as he told me, "Everybody wants to take pictures with cosplayers...we have a designated super hero photo area, where you can step in and get a picture with you favorite super hero." I asked Jud, "Why go all out and have a full on festival?" Jud almost got misty eyed as he told me "After fifteen years of doing this I realized you either have your store or convention...and yet there's so many other things to do. Right now, in this place, I have the city, I don't have my community, I've got people coming from Downtown LA, passed Culver City, from Torrance. I've got people coming from Simi Valley and they're coming from everywhere. Because it's a festival." He's not big on conventions.

Jud pointed me out to many of the writers and artist in attendance who were signing, proud of how many came out to connect with fans. Jim Krueger, a celebrated writer told me "It's not just a chance to meet fans, but to meet kids, Free Comic Book Day is a day kids go into comic book stores and begin reading as a hobby." He was showing off one book that wasn't for  little kids "The High Cost of Happily Ever After", a dark fairy tale that won't hit the market for a few months. Jim mentioned how much he enjoyed Blastoff as why he participated in the event.

He sentiments were joined by Joe Casey, another celebrated writer for comics. Joe said,  It's been great, I love it when people come out to look at comics." This Marvel/DC/Image writer has been in comics for twenty years, with his latest being "Sex" for Image. "I've known Jud for many years and shop at his, he asked, so I was happy to be here."

Don't be too sad if you missed it, Jud said it was the 1st Annual Comicfest, so they'll be one next year.