I walked into the dealer’s room and was immediately beset by the power of suck that was AggieCon 37. Trent was there waiting for me in that sad, sad wasteland with its small monuments to geek-fueled fiduciary futility. According to Trent’s count there were exactly two and a half vendors who were selling comics at this year’s con. Now I have been to several AggieCons in the past and this number was not too far off the mark, but I found the fact that roughly one third of the tables in the dealer’s room sad. We swung by one gent’s table and began our individual quests. I was looking for The 300 issues 4 and 5, the Joe Chen cover of Serenity 2, and several issues of The Legion series which I have been try to collect over the last couple of months. Trent had a list which was, in his words, “…longer than the hands of God,” and this was all neatly typed out. Trent is a SERIOUS collector when it comes to comics. His particular comic fetish seems to be first appearances and alternate covers to series he is already collecting. In this case he was seeking several first appearances and some other bits and pieces. I don’t think he found anything at the first vendor and so he wandered off to the second vendor, Krazy Komix. I was not able to find anything from my list however since the guy was doing a buy one get half off deal I decided to peruse his boxes in search of a deal. I managed to pick up all three issues of Mike Grell’s seminal Green Lantern work The Longbow Hunters (which I plan on reviewing for you guys at some point in the future) and a handful of Sgt. Rock comics whose Joe Kubert covers seduced me in to buying them (sadly there was no Joe Kubert writing or art in the books themselves.) All in all not too bad a haul for twenty-five clams (although the git tried to not give me my change from the forty I handed to him.) After that I headed over to the Krazy Komix table to see what was to be seen.
Now the Krazy Komix guys freak me out a little bit. They seem nice enough, but the longboxes are in pretty rough shape and some of the books are not properly protected, which offends my inner OCD collector. Trent had them hopping about trying to find as many of the issues on his list as possible and when I showed up they flung the Legion box at me and left me to my devices. Alas they did not have any of the issues I needed, so after admiring the rare issue displays I headed for the hills, leaving Trent to eventually run down four of the issues for which he was searching. (Justice League #64, which is the first appearance of the Red Tornado, Justice League #166 which filled in a gap in his collection, Detective Comics #311, the first appearance of Cat-Man, and Green Lantern #54, which is the first appearance of Guy Gardner.) As I headed out I took a moment to reflect on the irony that the theme of AggieCon 37 was Back in Black as even the presence of Peter Mayhew, the man beneath the fur for Chewbacca (which is, sadly, in MS Word’s dictionary as it is not throwing up a red line of death indicating a spelling error) could not shed any light in the black hole of cool that was AggieCon 37.
With that I was on my way to the Brent Mullins Jeep Parts/Museum of the American G.I. Open House and reenactment with my new camera in hand. What’s that? I haven’t mentioned my new camera yet? Well my friend, brace yourself for I have finally taken the plunge into the realm of digital photography with my purchase of a Canon EOS 20D. I love my new toy! I was able to take something on the order of 378 pictures this weekend and paid exactly nothing for processing. Glorious! But enough about my new toy, which is going to lead to some retarded photo-posts in the coming months, we’re here to talk about tanks and guns!
I am a little pissed that I did not know about Brent Mullins Jeep Parts until April of last year. I would have loved to have been going out and seeing the toys and the reenactments for the past several years. Oh well, no point in crying over spilt milk. This year’s show featured a M18 Hell Cat tank destroyer, a M5A1 Stuart light tank, a M24 Chaffee light tank, a M8 Greyhound armored car, a 105mm howitzer and plenty of jeeps and infantry to mix it up. The day started with static displays of the vehicles and some equipment before the reenactment.
Before the reenactment there was a parade of participants, in which the Hellcat parked right in front of the crowd and fired off a round. This startled everyone, including the announcer who had moments before told us it was going to happen.
The final step before the reenactment started was the weapons demonstration which included:
M3 Grease Gun submachine gun
.30 caliber machine gun (which jammed up and would not fire)
The highlight of that show was when the mortar demo almost got some of the fruitcake photographers/videographers that were hiding in the grove of trees. Secretly I was hoping they would get hit and therefore be out of the picture once the reenactment started. No such luck.
Then it was time for WWII to get underway once again. This year the scenario was set along the Siegfried Line in which elements of the U.S. Army were trying to find and rescue the crew of a downed B-17. As a scouting party consisting of the M5A1 Stuart and the M8 Greyhound locate the crew, the Germans see the rescue party and launch an attack. Those damned Huns!
After disabling the Stuart and Greyhound the Germans press the attack but are eventually pushed back by the combined might of American infantry and armor supported, oddly enough, by a few British paras, a Canadian engineer with truck, and elements of the 13th demi-brigade of the French Foreign Legion. The action was fast and furious but, as to be expected, the American
forces carried the day.
This was only my second real show battle, my first being the reenactment held in Bellmead last May (I really need to scan the pictures I shot that day and get them up on the Webshots account) and I had a blast. Admittedly I was not able to ride in any of the vehicles like I was at Bellmead and there wasn’t Dave Estes’ Flak 88 out there blowing people away (it’s make a hell of a loud bang), but it was still fun. My favorite part? I think this final picture will tell you what it’s all aboot:
You can check out all of the pictures I shot in their unedited glory in the BMJP Open House (03/2006) album on my Webshots page. Enojy!
(One final observation on AggieCon 37. While I was writing this post I went to the official AggieCon website and noticed that they have already decided on the theme for next year: The Winds of Change. I had to chuckle as this year blew.)