The most exciting aspect of Indy Comic Con is the chance to hang with the true heroes of the comic business: the artists and writers. They're the ones who toil day after day to make beautiful masterpieces for us to read, love, or just stare at with awe.
Here's a rundown of the folks I'm looking forward to meeting:
Denny O'Neil. O'Neil, along with Neal Adams, made Batman into the dark and complex man he is today. O'Neil transformed the Caped Crusader from the campy, shark-repellant wielding Batsy of the 1960s into the brooding Dark Knight we all know and love. He and Adams created one of Batman's biggest enemies, Ra's Al Ghul, a nearly immortal international criminal whose daughter, Talia, is the mother of Batman's son Damian Wayne. O'Neil also breathed new life into the Joker, making him a homicidal maniac (as he'd been originally created) instead of an annoying trickster.
Christina Blanch. Blanch — who owns Muncie comic shop Aw Yeah Comics with husband Mark Waid — is writing a comic called Damnation of Charlie Wormwood and teaches college courses on comic books. Waid is a freelance writer who wrote one of my favorite comics of all time, Kingdom Come, about the future of the DC Universe. He's now working on rebooting the Archie series.
Joe Jusko. If you ever bought a pack of Marvel trading cards in the 90s, they were probably painted by Jusko, whose career traversed both the superhero and fantasy art world.
Jae Lee. The youngest professional artist to work for a major comic book company, whose aesthetic might be best described as nightmarishly romantic.
Amy Chu. A big advocate for females in comics, Chu's most recent work is in issue No. 7 of Sensation Comics featuring Wonder Woman, currently on the rack.
I'd be remiss to not mention local artists, the grassroots future of the comic book industry. They practice to perfect skills and talents for months and years with only encouragement from local fans, and the hope their talents will be recognized by the big publishers. I've met many locals during my two years of working at a comic shop and they each bring something new and unique to the table.
Trent Fairbrother works in a photo realistic drawing style, paying very close attention to detail. Chris Dunn focuses mostly on sequential art. Samantha and Lee Cherolis are not only husband and wife, but also amazing artists. Samantha does promotional art and Lee works on a web comic series called Little Guardians. Ben Olson, former manager at Downtown Comics, illustrates a web comic called Solo Acoustic.
I'm also excited to meet some of the celebrities. Aquaman — er, I mean, Jason Momoa is attending. He's Conan the Barbarian to a few of you, Khal Drogo to most of you; but to me, he's the King of Atlantis. Billy West, voice of Fry, among others, on Futurama, plus Stimpy and Doug Funny, will be there as well. Then you've got Jenna Coleman from Doctor Who — and THREE Disney Princesses! Paige O'Hara, the voice of Belle from Beauty and the Beast; Linda Larkin, who voices Princess Jasmine in Aladdin; and probably the most famous princess of them all, Carrie Fisher, also known as Princess Leia. (LucasArts is, of course, a fully owned subsidiary of Disney.)
And we can't forget the discussion groups: There are dozens of panels all three days, discussing topics such as being a Whoosier (that's Doctor Who fan plus Hoosier — clever, huh?) and being a woman in the comics world.
Bridget Wilson is a nerd, comic vlogger and store manager at Downtown Comics.