OrlandoCon

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OrlandoCon
StatusDefunct
GenreComic books, TV, and movies
VenueInternational Inn
Location(s)Orlando, Florida
CountryUnited States
Inaugurated1974
Most recent1996
Organized byJim Ivey & Charlie Roberts[1]
Filing statusfor-profit

OrlandoCon, also known as O'Con, was a long-running comic book fan convention which was held annually between 1974 and 1996 in Orlando, Florida. The first comic book convention held in the Orlando area, OrlandoCon billed itself as a "Central Florida comic art convention and early TV/film festival." Captain Marvel-creator C. C. Beck was a regular guest of the show; as were many other Golden Age of Comic Books creators who lived in the Orlando area.

The founders of OrlandoCon were regional chairman of the National Cartoonists Society Jim Ivey, and local enthusiasts Charlie Roberts, Richard Kravitz, Rob Word, and Neil Austin.[2] Most OrlandoCons took place over a September weekend.

Events and activities[edit]

Each year's show featured a banquet for attending cartoonists and the presentation to the guest of honor of a gold brick called the Ignatz Award[3] named in honor of George Herriman's Krazy Kat. Recipients of the Ignatz included Don Martin,[4] Joe Kubert, Martin Nodell, and Don Addis.[5] (The OrlandoCon Ignatz Award is not connected to the current award of the same name presented annually at the Bethesda, Maryland-based Small Press Expo.)

Each show featured a charity auction to benefit the Milt Gross Fund of the National Cartoonists Society.[2] The OrlandoCon often featured screenings of early TV shows, as well as panels, seminars, and workshops with comic book professionals. In addition, there was a floorspace for exhibitors, including comic book dealers and collectibles merchants. The show included an autograph area, as well as an Artists' Alley where comics artists signed autographs and sold or produced free sketches.

History[edit]

The first OrlandoCon was held in September 1974 at the Orlando Howard Johnson's Convention Center — guests include C. C. Beck, Roy Crane, Hal Foster, Ron Goulart, Mel Graff [fr], Les Turner, Ralph Dunagin, Bill Crooks, Harold McCauley, "Scorchy Smith" artist Edmund Good, and Disney artist Ralph Kent.

In 1976 OrlandoCon moved venues from the Howard Johnson Convention Center to the International Inn, where the convention stayed for most of the rest of its existence.

Even though he moved to Pennsylvania in 1974, Charlie Roberts stayed with the OrlandoCon as co-organizer with Jim Ivey until 1979,[6] at which point small press publisher Bill Black became involved with the convention.

With the collapse of the comic book speculating market in 1993, the show petered out. One of the final OrlandoCons was produced by local retailer Mike Kott on September 10–11, 1994, at the Clarion Towers; guests include show founder Jim Ivey and Martin Nodell.[7]

Locations and dates[edit]

Dates Venue Guest of honor/
Ignatz Award recipient
Official guests Notes
September 1974 Howard Johnson's Convention Center C. C. Beck, Roy Crane, Hal Foster, Ron Goulart, Mel Graff, Les Turner, Ralph Dunagin, Bill Crooks, Harold McCauley, "Scorchy Smith" artist Edmund Good, and Disney artist Ralph Kent Convention booklet featured a cover sketch by Roy Crane; the back cover was illustrated by C.C. Beck.
August 16–17, 1975 Howard Johnson Convention Center Burne Hogarth Harvey Kurtzman, Roy Crane, Hal Foster, and Ralph Kent Program booklet cover by Harvey Kurtzman
September 18–19,[8] 1976 International Inn Jack Davis, Harvey Kurtzman,[1] and Floyd Gottfredson Program cover by Jack Davis, with interior profiles of Floyd Gottfredson and Mel Graff
1977 Walter B. Gibson, Ralph Dunagin and Scorchy Smith's Edmund Good Program booklet cover featured The Spirit, drawn by Will Eisner; the back cover was drawn by Bob Clampett; and interior art by, among others, Les Turner, C. C. Beck, Bill Black, Morris Weiss, and Zack Mosley.
1978 Will Eisner, Bob Clampett, Les Turner, Ralph Dunagin, C. C. Beck, Edmund Good, Bill Black, Morris Weiss, Ralph Kent, Bill Crooks, and Zack Mosley Program cover by Will Eisner
1979 Robert Cummings and Kirby Grant Will Eisner, C. C. Beck, and Jack Rosen
1980 Jock Mahoney ("media guest of honor") Gil Kane and Autumn Russell
1981 Dik Browne[9] C. C. Beck,[10] Fred Lasswell Program book, with a cover by Dik Browne, celebrating "Florida's 70 Cartoonists"
1982 International Inn[11] Bob McLeod[12] C. C. Beck
1983 Don Wright C. C. Beck, Harvey Kurtzman, Wayne Boring, Will Eisner, Joe Kubert, Ralph Kent, Morris Weiss, Dik Browne, and Dean Young 10th anniversary show; program cover included a list of Florida cartoonists and featured artwork by Harvey Kurtzman, Wayne Boring, C. C. Beck, Morris Weiss, Dik Browne, and Dean Young, among others.
September 22–23, 1984 Will Eisner
1985 Martin Nodell[13]
1986
September 25–27, 1987[14] International Inn[14]
1988
September 23–24, 1989[15] International Inn[15] Bob Burden[16] 16th annual edition
1990 Gates McFadden 17th annual edition, celebrating the 50th anniversary of Martin Nodell's Green Lantern. Program booklet cover by Bill Black.
1991 Dick Ayers and Joe Kubert
1992 Jack Bender[17]
1993 Don Addis and Don Martin
September 10–11, 1994[7] Clarion Towers[7] Jim Ivey and Martin Nodell[7] Produced by local retailer Mike Kott
1995
1996

Legacy[edit]

The huge Orlando-based multi-genre convention MegaCon was inaugurated in 1993;[18] it continues to this day.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Fratz, Doug. "TNJ Listings," The New Nostalgia Journal #28 (Aug. 1976), p. 39.
  2. ^ a b Roberts, Charlie. "Milton Caniff and Shel Dorf: A Personal View," Scoop. Accessed Dec. 24, 2013.
  3. ^ Harvey, R. C. ""Blood & Thunder: Two for Cho, The Comics Journal #219 (Jan. 2000), p. 3.
  4. ^ Boyar, Jay. "The Real Don Martin We All Grew Up On His Cartoons. Fortunately, So Did He." Orlando Sentinel (May 12, 1985).
  5. ^ "About Don Addis," St. Petersburg Times. Accessed Jan. 4, 2013.
  6. ^ "Superstars: The Charlie Roberts Collection at Hake’s," Scoop. Accessed Dec. 24, 2013.
  7. ^ a b c d Parrish, Ines Davis. "Hobby is No Laughing Matter Comic Book Collectors: Superheroes a Super Investment," Orlando Sentinel (12 Sep 1994), C1.
  8. ^ Grimes, Paul. "Fantasy Boom: The Profits Are Real; Fantasy Boom: $50,000 a Weekend, $2 Million a Year," New York Times (May 30, 1976).
  9. ^ Dik Browne was unable to attend the convention & banquet; Fred Lasswell accepted the Ignatz Award on his behalf.
  10. ^ Hamerlinck, P.C., "I'll Never Forget C. C. Beck: C. C. Beck, Captain Marvel's Chief Artist," Fawcett Companion: The Best of FCA, Fawcett Collectors of America (TwoMorrows Publishing, 2001), p. 137.
  11. ^ Greatrex, Dana. "Comic Book Collecting, a Hobby for Darren," Daytona Beach Morning Journal (Oct. 26, 1982).
  12. ^ McLeod entry, Who's Who of American Comic Books, 1928–1999.
  13. ^ Nodell entry, Who's Who of American Comic Books, 1928–1999.
  14. ^ a b "Monday," Orlando Sentinel (21 Sep 1987): 24.
  15. ^ a b "Convention Caters to Cartoon Fans," Orlando Sentinel (23 Sep 1989): E2.
  16. ^ Burden entry, Who's Who of American Comic Books, 1928–1999.
  17. ^ Bender profile, Jack Bender Cartoons: Syracuse University Libraries. Accessed Dec. 24, 2013.
  18. ^ Walt, Andra. "Owner/Director Beth Widera of Orlando’s MegaCon Stops by InvestComics," InvestComics (Feb. 13, 2012).

External links[edit]