Big Lick Comic Con


On May 14, 2022, I loaded up my backpack, and headed off to the Dulles Expo Center to be part of the scene that was, Big Lick Comic Con. Unfortunately, I also made an error in my time of arrival.

Weekend ticket holders had the ability to get into the show an hour early, and somehow, I got it in my mind that it was 9:00 AM that doors opened for early access. This turned out to not be correct. Doors actually opened at 11:00 AM for general admission, and early access was at 10:00 AM. This meant I was two hours early for the show. While I was first in line, I was also out in the drizzle of rain for two hours.

When the doors opened, I immediately made a right turn upon entering, and made a "B" line for what I had come for. But more on that after a quick tour of the show. I didn't honestly take as many photos as I could have. I focused my shots on wall racks, and even then the pictures I got didn't even scratch the surface of what was there.

While I had a small list of books I was looking for, my main goal for the show was to get some autographs.

First stop for me, without question, was the drill instructor of the Joes. You know who I'm talking about.

The Sarge not only hooked me up with three autographs, but also put me in a Cobra Clutch for a series of photos.

In addition to the poster, I also got a few other items autographed. However, since I got more than his signature on these things, I'll share them further below.

My next stop was to the savior of the universe, Flash Gordon, Mr. Sam Jones.

Not only was I super excited to meet him, but so to was my girl's son. He of course was excited to meet the guy from Ted

Sam was incredibly nice.He talked with everyone who wanted an autograph at length, and even prayed with my girl's son, who is going through a bit of a rough patch. We must has spent thirty minutes with him talking and getting a ton of autographs. Between the two of us we got about eight things. I even picked up something for George of G.I. Jigsaw. The photos below are just the stuff I got for myself.

From there, it was all the way to the back of the convention hall to meet the father of 80's G.I. Joe.

Seriously, I may as well have just signed my paycheck over to Larry Hama with how much stuff I got signed.

This book was intended to be a convention exclusive for a different show, but ended up being brought to Big Lick. It's a variant cover edition of issue 289, and features a cover by Hama. The book is apparently limited to 1,200 copies. I got three, and also opted to have them signed.

I then got two 11 X 17 prints which were signed in advance by artist, Michael Zeck. I opted to have Larry Hama sign these as well.

I then went for broke, having Larry sign my first prints of G.I. Joe number one and twenty-one. I stopped at Michaels on the way home and picked up all the frames that you see all the photos displayed in. I had an extra one left over that worked perfectly for the two books.

Then there were a couple more items thrown on the pile, and these I got signed by both Larry Hama and Sgt. Slaughter.

Yeah, buddy! I got my G.I. Joe The Movie and complete first series signed. For as much as I love having the above comics signed, THIS is what I came to Big Lick to get autographed. Well, that and my Flash Gordon soundtrack.

The last table I stopped at for autographs was one I was tossing back and forth in my mind since buying my tickets.

Jim Shooter is a legend of Marvel Comics (and more), yet I didn't honestly know if I had anything that was, well, worth getting signed. At the last minute this morning, I grabbed my entire run of Secret Wars and Secret Wars II, telling myself that if I did get anything signed out of the pile of twenty (plus) books, that I would figure out which ones those would be later.

I was really surprised to find that in general the autograph lines were non-existent at Big Lick. Well, except for Sam Jones who always seemed to be at least ten people deep at any given time. This was no different for Mr. Shooter, who only had one person there getting a few comics autographed.

The driving force behind getting any books signed was going to come down to price, and as I stepped up to his table, I asked very politely, "Could I ask if you had the time to sign my entire run of Secret Wars, how much would that cost?" Mr. Shooter responded, "Yeah, sure. I'll sign those for you, and there is no charge."

What?!?!?!! Well, if that's the case, then yes please, and thank you!

My collection of number one's feature the original error printing, the fixed printing, and formal second printing. What was really awesome was that he knew what each one was just by looking at the cover, and immediately launched into the story of how the error printing came to be, going into detail on the printing process that led to it's existence.

Jim Shooter was so awesome to meet! He was so kind, and shared so many stories about Marvel, other artists, and more. Say what you will about his "reputation" in the industry, the man was truly nice, and very happy to talk to fans.

I was kicking myself when it dawned on me that I could have brought my Marvel Age issue that had the announcement of Secret Wars, as well as the first appearance of black suit Spider-Man.

With things autographed, it was time to actually walk the floor and see what was out there to be had. I had a small list of McFarlane based comics that I was looking for...and quickly found that I had left this at home.

Working from memory, I ran forward with the only title I remembered the issues from. Incredible Hulk 330 through 346. I really didn't expect this to be as challenging as it was. I thought from the various tables that I could easily put together a run of these books. Boy, was I wrong.

Out of all the tables, only one had the majority that I found, and another had a single issue that the other table didn't. I came up five books short when it was all said and done. Oh well. Next time.

While chatting with Joe, the dealer who helped me dive headlong into my vintage G.I. Joe collection, I had an outburst moment when I looked up from the boxes on the table, saw someone, and shouted, "Hey, it's the guy from YouTube!"

For those of you who don't follow comic book collector's on YouTube, this dude is Long Box Love Affair. I don't know that he's ever shared his real name on his videos, and considering I was asking for his photo randomly, I didn't want to look all the more weirder than I did by imposing a request for his true credentials.

I really hope I didn't make myself look like a dope.

The last item I picked up was one I really didn't need, but figured, my chances of finding one in the wild were pretty slim.

Yes, it's yet another copy of Todd McFarlane's Spider-Man number one, but this one is signed on the polybag.

I think the selling point on this was that the signature was on the polybag itself, which isn't common. The dealer that was selling it ALWAYS over charges, and I definitely paid more than it was worth. But, at that point in the day, I had already more than blown the budget I intended to spend.

Overall, it was a great way to spend the day. We got to meet some celebrities, get autographs, and enjoy something new and exciting.

Though I could have gone back on Sunday to get a few more autographs from Jim Shooter, I opted to instead find other ways to spend my last day of the weekend, which included hanging all the stuff I got on the walls.

I also rebagged and boarded my Incredible Hulk books.

I know that issue 335 isn't a McFarlane issue, but it would have driven my OCD nuts to be missing this issue in consecutive order of 330 through 346. I just need 331, 333, 341, 344, and 346 to complete the run.

And with that, as well as a few other errands and stuff, that wrapped up my weekend.

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  1. Looks like a good time. That's awesome that Shooter signed all those books!

    1. I don't know who I enjoyed more. Sam Jones was so friendly, and wanted to talk to everyone. Yet, Jim Shooter was not only friendly, buy had so many great stories. It's a tough toss up for me.

  2. Very cool. Looks like an amazing time and great interactions with some legends.