Bing Con to return bigger and better in 2014

Date: 8/13/2014

SPRINGFIELD – Bing Con, the region’s pop culture convention, returns for its second year from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Aug. 23 in a new location, Asbury Hall of Trinity Methodist Church, 361 Sumner Ave.

This year it will celebrate the Pioneer Valley’s dinosaur connection with two guests of honor both known for their work involving prehistoric beasts: comic book legend Stephen R. Bissette and Jim Lawson.

Bissette will be making his only convention appearance of 2014 at Bing Con. He is known not only for his groundbreaking work on “Swamp Thing,” but also his revolutionary horror comic series “Taboo,” and his book, “Tyrant” detailing the birth and life of a Tyrannosaurus Rex. He is a faculty member of the Center for Cartoon Studies in White River Junction, Vermont.

Jim Lawson, a 25-year member of the Mirage Studios, is well known not just for his work on the “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,” his own first dinosaur book, “Paleo Tales.” His new book, “Dinotour” will be out next spring.

The convention’s co-producer Mark Masztal told Reminder Publications the regional approach “gives local people the chance to meet new readers and get one on one face times with people.”

Masztal is an artist who whose new comic book, “Nomad,” will be making its debut at the show.

The convention he noted is less about presenting a media extravaganza such as the recent San Diego Comic Con and more about building a community.

Bing Con 2014 will feature a DJ and food on site provided by Wild Olive Pizzeria. There is free parking and the admission is $5, which benefits the building fund for the Bing Arts Center.

There will be a cosplay parade during the day and Masztal asked people coming in costume not to bring any metal prop or weapon into the convention and keep in mind the event is family oriented.

All convention attendees with their ticket stubs will be admitted free to the screening of the 1962 production of  “King Kong Versus Godzilla” at 7 p.m. at the Bing Arts Center, 716 Sumner Ave., which continues the giant monster theme.

Brian Hale, executive director of the Bing Arts Center, said, “Bing Con continues our efforts to reach as many of our region’s fans of imagination and creativity and entertainment.”

The guests at Bing Con represent a wide range of creativity from the region, including artists, writers, toymakers and crafters as well as collectibles dealers.

The guests include:

Stephen Murphy is a comic book writer best known for his work on the “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.” He also co-created the groundbreaking comic book series “The Puma Blues” with artist Michael Zulli, which in early 2014 was chosen by Rolling Stone magazine to be among its “Best 50 Non-Superhero Graphic Novels.” In 2007 he garnered Harvey Award nominations for both Best Writer and Best Comic Book Series for “Umbra.” The “Umbra” trade collection will be premiered at this year's Bing Con.

Casey Coller is a professional illustrator best known for his work on various Transformers comic books from IDW Publishing. He’s done covers and/or interior art for various titles, including: “Transformers: Ironhide,” “All Hail Megatron,” “Spotlights Drift|,” “Blurr” and “Cliffjumper, More Than Meets The Eye.”

• Artist Matt Smith drew his first “Conan the Barbarian” adventure when was eight years old and is a children’s book illustrator fascinated by traditional lore and comic-book heroes.

Brett E. Swanson is an artist who specializes primarily in comic book and cartoon art and dabbles occasionally in fine and abstract art. 

Tom Pappalardo is a writer, a cartoonist, and a painter, whose ongoing projects include comics and writing and jokes at, and “forever toiling on my illustrated novel “Broken Lines.’”

Michael Kelleher has worked as an illustrator for more than 20 years and has worked on dozens of titles from publishers such as Marvel, Dark House and Dynamic Forces.

Marshall “Plex” Couture works in many creative mediums under the imprint of Donkey Jaw Projects. “I feel I’ve been created to be creative and spend much of my time creating works around the hub of Hip Hop and comic books,” he said.

Scott Wauchope is creator of fan art as well original comic book and graphic novel publications, starting with a mini-series called “Son of Destroyer.” 

Kate Maldonado is a fine art photographer, working in both analog and digital mediums. Her work could mainly be described as surrealist conceptual portraiture, although she also has a love for street and travel photography.

T.C. Ford has been drawing since the age of 10. Through his past apprenticeship with Dick Giordano and Frank McLaughlin, he has assisted on art for DC, Marvel and Special Olympics among others.

Sabrina Zaremba is an artist currently working on her first foray into creating, writing and illustrating her first full length graphic novel “Rabbit Hole.” She is an artist working in many mediums and subjects ranging from portraits to comic book sequential.

• Katherine Bailey and her company Nox Felis Designs will feature crocheted cat toys, as well as “Minecraft” inspired items.

Lisa Cavalear is a crafter and webcomic artist based out of New Haven, Conn. She launched her first webcomic, “Project Poppet,” the goings on of her knitted creations when she is at her day job in October 2009. In 2010, Cavalear decided to take doodling chibis in her Dungeons and Dragons character sheets to the next level with her second comic, “Goober Glade.” A third comic, “Society’s Ills” was launched in 2011.

Michael Valade is the creator, writer and illustrator of the small press series, “My Monster,” which he plans to release as a full-length graphic novel in 2015.

Len Mihalovich and Lenovations Press will bring “The Adventures of Track Suit Man,” a book dedicated to the issue of selfish frequent fliers.

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