In a galaxy far far away…
The Cincinnati Comic Expo was born when Director Andrew Satterfield—a lifelong Cincinnatian and comics collector—was traveling to yet another comic book show out of town when he was filled with the desire to bring a great comics and pop culture convention to Cincinnati. He decided to make it happen in 2010.
With the help of his childhood friend, Matt Bredestege, the first Cincinnati Comic Expo was held on September 18, 2010, in the concourse of the Cintas Center at Xavier University. The Guest of Honor was Michael Uslan, Executive Producer of the Batman movie franchise, as well as many other Hollywood feature films. The first Expo also hosted very special guests Allen Bellman, Murphy Anderson, and Russ Heath. In addition to these artists, over 70 other comic artists and creators as well as 50 comic book retailers and other vendors exhibited at the Expo. Even though it was only a one-day show with little name recognition, the first Cincinnati Comic Expo drew more than 1800 people and garnered rave reviews from fans and local media.
For 2011, Andrew and his team were determined to go “bigger and better.” Riding the momentum from their very successful inaugural comic book convention, they moved to a larger venue in downtown Cincinnati: the Duke Energy Convention Center. That year the Expo was still a one-day show, but had a larger show floor, and added activities. It was held September 17, 2011.
The Guest of Honor was Steranko. Allen Bellman and Michael Uslan returned as featured guests. New featured guests that year were Stan Goldberg, Jose Delbo, Mitch and Elizabeth Breitweiser, Katie Cook, Mike Norton, Chris Sprouse, Darryl Banks and David Mack. The larger venue meant the Expo could also host a larger number of artists and vendors. Even though it was still only a one-day show, attendance almost doubled, with more than 3000 fans in attendance.
Andrew and his team decided to make “bigger and better” part of their mission statement for the Expo, so the next year they made the leap to a weekend-long comic book convention. The Cincinnati Comic Expo 2012 was held September 22 and 23 in Hall A of the Duke Energy Convention Center. This impressive amount of space was filled with an equally impressive guest list. The Guests of Honor were the four artists from Saga of the Swamp Thing: John Totleben, Rick Veitch, Stephen R. Bissette, and Thomas Yeates. The Expo drew these artists together for their first-ever reunion at a comics convention.
The list of Featured Guests was led by George Perez and included Andy Price, Katie Cook, Georges Jeanty, Geof Darrow, Mike Royer, P. Craig Russell, Dave Dorman, David Petersen, Darryl Banks and Steve Englehart.
Allen Bellman, Craig Boldman and Dave Aikins led a long list of artists who returned a third time to exhibit at the Cincinnati Comic Expo. Hall A also gave the show room to add dozens more artists and vendors, almost tripling the number from those at the very first Expo, just two years previously.
The 2012 show also added media guests and even more events to entertain fans for the entire weekend. Television stars Jason David Frank and Chandler Riggs joined movie stars Ian Petrella and Nick Gillard in becoming the first celebrities to attend the Cincinnati Comic Expo. A 1966 Batmobile replica and Mystery Machine were also first-timers on the show floor. That year was also the inaugural Kid Con—a day filled with activities and art just for kids at the show. The 2012 Expo also mounted the largest Lego displays to be seen in Cincinnati.
Attendees responded to the “bigger and better” show by flocking downtown. For the second straight year, the Cincinnati Comic Expo doubled attendance from the prior show, drawing more than 6000 people.
The Cincinnati Comic Expo continued with the same successful path in 2013.
The show partnered with OKI LUG (Ohio Kentucky Indiana LEGO User’s Group) and launched the first-ever Bricks By the Banks event. Specific space was designated on the show floor for monumental LEGO displays, events, and contests for participants of all ages and fans of the most popular toy in the world.
The Cincinnati Comic Expo was pleased to welcome Billy Boyd and Craig Parker (Lord of the Rings), Richard Kiel (James Bond villain), Nicholas Brendon (Buffy the Vampire Slayer), Marina Sirtis (Star Trek: The Next Generation), David Yost (Power Rangers), and Ricou Browning (Creature from the Black Lagoon). We were also honored to have talented voice actors such as Richard Horvitz, Rikki Simons, Rob Paulsen, and Debi Derryberry.
Yet, the guests did not stop there. The 2013 event brought in renowned artists like Art Baltazar, Doug Mahnke, Jeff Balke, Mike McKone, Doug Sneyd, Scott Shaw, Nen, and Greg Horn, plus many more. Returning featured artists included David Mack, Jamie Snell, David Michael Beck, Craig Boldman, Dave Aikins, Darryl Banks, and others.
The year was also big that we welcomed publishers Zenescope and Aspen. Respectively, they brought talented employees Pat Shand and Peter Steigerwald.
All of these elements combined to create our largest and most successful show to date with nearly 9,000 fans and patrons walking through the Duke Energy Convention Center.
The 2014 Cincinnati Comic Expo continued to get bigger and better than the previous shows!
The show expanded into Halls B & C of the Duke Energy Convention Center, as well as conference rooms and ballrooms on the 2nd and 3rd floor to provide over 100,000 square feet of entertainment space.
The main exhibit hall hosted 300 vendors, artists, and guests from around the world!
The 5th annual Cincinnati Comic Expo welcomed Lou Ferrigno (The Incredible Hulk), Henry Winkler (Happy Days), Julie Newmar (Batman), Paul McGann (Doctor Who), Jewel Staite (Firefly), William Kircher (The Hobbit), John Rhys-Davies (Lord of the Rings), Walter Jones and the return of Jason David Frank (Power Rangers), a reunion of various Bobba Fett actors with Daniel Logan, Dickey Beer, and John Morton, and hosted the first convention appearance of local actress Livvy Stubenrauch (Frozen).
Successful and influential artists were a foundation for the show with many guests, such as Neal Adams, Marv Wolfman, Bob Layton, Mark Bagley, and the return of George Perez! Aspen Comics came back again and Aw Yeah! Comics brought several of their artists on staff. First time attendees Khoi Pham, Joe Benitez, Scott Beaderstadt, and Clay Mann were joined by Expo veterans Craig Boldman, Andy Bennett, Dave Aikins, Mark Kidwell, Joe Corroney, David Michael Beck, and dozens of others.
The 2014 Cincinnati Comic Expo saw nearly 16,300 attendees pass through the doors over the weekend.
The “bigger and better” theme continued for the 6th annual Cincinnati Comic Expo held on the weekend September 18-20, 2015. The event expanded into Halls A & B of the Duke Energy Convention Center as well several conference rooms on the second floor.
Media guests that year were Adam West and Burt Ward (Batman’s Batman and Robin), Ian Ziering (Beverly Hills 90210), Steve Guttenberg (Police Academy film franchise), Livvy Stubenrauch and Eva Bella (both young princesses from Disney’s Frozen), Sean Astin (The Goonies, Lord of the Rings), Austin St John and the return of David Yost (Mighty Morphin Power Rangers), Katrina Law (Spartacus, Arrow), Graham McTavish (The Hobbit), Eve Myles (Torchwood and Doctor Who) and Robin Lord Taylor (Gotham). The highlights were considered to be James Tolkan, Harry Waters Jr, and Claudia Wells, who all appeared in 1985′s Back to the Future, which celebrated its 30th anniversary.
In addition to growth on the Media Guest list, many artists were also in attendance. Neal Adams returned to the Queen City for his second consecutive year. He was joined by featured artists John Beatty and Mike Zeck, Joseph Linsner, Lee Weeks, Darwyn Cooke, Dave Johnson, David Marquez, Joel and Buzz Adams, Ron Marz, and Alex Saviuk. Allen Bellman returned one more time to Cincinnati! Aspen Comics came back again and Aw Yeah! Comics brought several of their artists on staff. Devil’s Due Entertainment also had a space with members of their artist and writing staff. Khoi Pham joined the ranks of Expo veteran by returning for the second time. He joins such honor with Mike Mckone, Craig Boldman, Andy Bennett, Dave Aikins, Mark Kidwell, Joe Corroney, David Michael Beck, and dozens of others.
The 2015 Cincinnati Comic Expo proved to be the largest at that time with 24,000 individuals passing through the convention center over the 3 day event!
The 2016 Cincinnati Comic Expo was as historical as it was entertaining! Held the weekend of September 23-25, 2016, the 7th annual Expo hosted the legendary Stan Lee! Stan Lee made his first and only visit to the Queen City by attending the Expo in one of his final Midwest signing appearances at the age of 93. As the pinnacle of pop culture, the attendance of Stan was surely a highlight for the history of the Expo and for all of the fans that turned out.
Rob Liefeld, creator of characters such as Deadpool, Cable, Youngblood, and others attended the 2016 Expo to meet fans and sign items. Other comic guests included Steve McNiven, Neal Adams, Jason Fabok, Mark Bright, Frank Brunner, Tony Fleecs, Tony Harris, Larry Hama, Todd Nauck, Kevin Nowlan, Tom Raney, William Stout, and several others.
A wide variety of Media Guests was headlined by the attending Star Wars cast members. Billy Dee Williams (Lando Calrissian), Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca), Dave Prowse (Darth Vader), Tim Rose (Admiral Ackbar), Mike Quinn (Nien Nunb), and Ray Park (Darth Maul). Other guests included Adam Baldwin (The Last Ship, Firefly), John Barrowman (Arrow, Torchwood), Karen Fukuhara (Suicide Squad), David Mazouz (Gotham, Touch), Lee Meriwether (Batman ’66, Star Trek), and Teddy Sears (The Flash, 24: Legacy).
In this short period of time, fans and professionals have recognized the Cincinnati Comic Expo as one of the premier comic conventions in the Midwest. If that is what we have accomplished so far, imagine what we have planned ahead.