Remembering The Original Shreveport Comic Conventions
Its no secret, I'm a geek. Like, a BIG time geek. Comic books, video games, pro wrestling, Pokemon, sports cards, nerf guns, Star Wars...on and on...and that's actually just the stuff on the walls in my office.
A couple of years ago, I came to Shreveport for the first time and was asked if I'd ever created any "events" before. In radio, you do a lot of concert "events" but that's not what I was being asked for, I was being asked for something different. So I blurted out "I helped create a comic con once".
Way back in 2009 I was able to help launch the Cherry Capital Con (or C3 as we called it) in Traverse City, Mi. The event has since morphed into the Cherry Capital Comic Con (now C4, get it?) and continues to draw some of the biggest names in the comic world. In our first year, we welcomed Daniel Way (who was writing Deadpool and Wolverine:Origins at the time) Tommy Lee Edwards (who was getting ready to launch is critically acclaimed book Turf) and Jason Howard (who was drawing Robert Kirkman's Astounding Wolf-Man). The event has since hosted Ryan Stegman (Spider-Man artist), Angel Medina (Spawn artist), Ryan Ottley (Invincible artist), and Tony Moore (Walking Dead co-creator).
So when I came to the Ark-La-Tex, and floated the idea of doing a comic con style event here, it was met with open arms. After a ton of time meeting with other Shreveport-based geeks, talking to people about what they wanted to see out of an event like this here, and hours of planning, we launched Geek'd Con in 2015.
ANYWAY, this isn't about MY comic con origin story...this is about Shreveport's comic con origin.
Geek'd Con wasn't the first Comic-Con-style event in Shreveport's history, it was just the biggest. But that shouldn't take away from the conventions that paved the road in Shreveport.
From the time we announced Geek'd Con in 2015, we started to hear stories about the original Shreveport comic cons. Some pre-dated the mass use of the internet, so finding details are difficult. But through our conversations with fellow Shreveport-based-geeks, we were able to gather more info on these events. There are some of these events that I've been told stories about, that I haven't been able to research, but I'm sure as we talk more about the originals, more of those stories will come out.
Here's what we have so far:
EARLY 90'S COMIC CON SHOWS IN BOSSIER:
These are the ones that are most interesting to me. The stories I've heard about these center around the old "ball room" comic con vibe. Where most of the vendors were strictly comic book retailers, and all of the guests were comic book artists or writers. Here are some of the details we got from other Shreveport-area-geeks:
The dates have been as hard to pin-down as the location has been. Most of the years in the stories fall in the same period, 1991-1994, but without a flyer or a website, it seems to be a lot of memories. The location though, seems to be a little clearer to some...
There is ONE constant in all of these stories about these events though, and that's one of the guests. Comic artist Sam de Le Rosa was definitely at one (or more) of these shows. With the help of Shreveport-super-geek Brad Campbell, we were even able to get confirmation from Sam himself:
As far as we can tell, with all of our research and all of our conversations with the Shreveport geek community, these early 90s events are the ORIGINAL Shreveport Comic Cons. We owe a ton to the original organizers, guests, vendors, and ticket buyers. There's no telling where the state of geek'dom in Shreveport would be without these original events.
So we mentioned that we can't pin down a lot of details without a flyer...and next thing you know...
As soon as this story made it to Facebook, we heard from Jonathan M. Thompson who happened to have a copy of the flyer. Signed by the guests, and framed!
This gives us the details we were looking for...September 1993, at the Quality Inn on Airline Drive in Bossier. This is such an incredible piece, and so well-timed for today. We have to say THANK YOU again to Jonathan for bringing it up and sharing it with us!
SHREVEPORT SCI-FI EXPO:
This one has been very interesting, and very difficult to research. Perhaps writing about it might actually help with some of the fuzzy details.
When stories started coming in, the one that kept coming up was essentially a Shreveport legend..."that time Chewbacca came to Shreveport." Which we may have heard a lot in 2015 because the headline guest at Geek'd Con was Peter Mayhew, the actor who plays Chewbacca in the Star Wars franchise.
This event took place in the summer of 2001 in Downtown Shreveport. It wasn't actually "headlined" by Peter Mayhew, he was listed behind Michonne Bourriague on the lineup. Which, to be fair, made sense at the time. This was 2001, in the heat of the franchise renaissance with Episode 1 already out, and Episode 2 on the way. Bourriague was Aurra Sing, a bounty hunter seen for a scene in Episode 1, though her role in the Star Wars mythos is actually expanded through the Clone Wars. Other guests included Jeremy Bulloch, who played Boba Fett, and Mike Quinn, who portrays Nien Nunb.
The show was actually historic in a way, beyond Shreveport, because it was the first US appearance of Alan Ruscoe, who played Jedi Plo Koon in Episode 1 & Episode 2, as well as Bib Fortuna, Daultay Dofine, and Lott Dod across multiple Star Wars films. Ruscoe has gone on to find multiple roles in the Doctor Who franchise.
As far as the stories we've heard go, there was apparently another show that happened around this time. But perhaps it was actually the same event, that was referred to with multiple different names. Because we have been told about two separate years (2001 and 2002) and have heard the names "Shreveport Sci Fi Expo" and also "Hollywood Expo". However, finding info on a Shreveport "Hollywood Expo" online has been a lost cause. But there are BUCKETS of details on the "Shreveport Sci Fi Expo". Including this huge write up that included first-person accounts of each guest.
Now with more updates!
After the post went up, we found some PICTURES from inside the 2001 Shreveport Sci Fi Expo...
NOW GEEK'D CON AND MORE:
After all of this, and the various other shows that have happened between then and now, we have Geek'd Con...but that's not all.
There are other tremendous events popping up in our area, including the Shreveport Bossier Geek Fair at Centenary. Which is a maker's fair event that happens twice a year. As well as events being hosted at places like 2nd & Charles in Bossier City, Excalibur Comics on E. 70th in Shreveport, and BC Comics in Bossier City.
From a geek community that has grown from a few hundred people in a hotel ball room in the early 90s, to 15,000 people coming through the Shreveport Convention Center, this is something to be proud of Shreveport.
Not only has this event become a massive event in Downtown Shreveport, the Geek'd Con brand has grown across the country. Over the last year there have been Geek'd Cons in Tyler, Tx and Rockford, IL.
The best part is, each Geek'd Con is run by geeks in each town! So the geeks of Rockford got to build a convention that fits Rockford, just like the geeks of Shreveport get to build a convention that fits Shreveport!
The Shreveport geek community has a lot to look forward to as well. The planning for Geek'd Con 2017 has already started in Shreveport, and the target it to make it even bigger and better.
If you want to stay up to date with all of the Geek'd Con news, or just Geek'd Con Shreveport, you can use these links: