20th Anniversary of FallCon

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This weekend marks the 20th Anniversary of the Twin Cities’ premiere comic book convention FallCon! What began in 1989 as a small hotel convention has fully blossomed into a stalwart chunk of the Midwest’s comic culture. I’ve known people to come in from as far as Iowa just to visit. Iowa, I say!

Featuring panels, local indie and mainstream creators, dealers and reliably the Justice League, the event has yet to outgrow its highly unique sense of hospitality. All creator tables are free, and the event is even catered. Soda, tacos, sloppy joes, chips, cake and other delicious foods are available to creators over the two-day event, plus on Saturday night a special dinner is also offered, giving guests an opportunity to unwind and meet. Do other conventions offer their guests steak dinner? I don’t think so. As volunteer Nick Post would say, “We’ll not have any starving artists on our watch!”

FallCon in 1999 at the Thunderbird Hotel in Bloomington, MN.

FallCon in 1999 at the Thunderbird Hotel in Bloomington, MN.

Volunteers from the Midwest Comic Book Association (formerly the Minnesota Comic Book Association) have hosted the event since it began. The surprisingly small group of 25 volunteers meets about 10 times a year outside of event-planning season, and they manage to put on a stellar show each time. In addition to courteously offering small-time artists (like me!) their first chance to table in a cheap, friendly environment, they also raise funds for the Lupus Foundation, the Food Shelf, and the Hero Initiative. MCBA members also serve as resources to burgeoning comic conventions in the region – such as I-CON in Des Moines, Iowa.

On a personal note, I’d like to credit the event with catalyzing my current relationship. I met Will Dinski at FallCon in ’06 after I’d just moved back to Sioux Falls, SD. I was lamented to note that the state didn’t offer much to the upstart indie cartoonist, and when I got to FallCon I thought it would be nice to tell Sam Hiti that his were the only indie comics currently sold in the whole state. I was waiting in line for him, when I happened to feel rude just standing beside another cartoonist’s table. The very man was Will Dinski, and when I looked at his books I thought, ‘Golly, those sure are some good looking books.’ So we struck up a conversation about Abraham Lincoln in which I learned quickly that Will was way hotter than me, considerably less awkward, and definitely out of my league. That was my reading, at least, but I guess he didn’t think so. Thanks, FallCon!

You can celebrate the 20th Anniversary of FallCon this coming weekend, October 4-5th, 10am-5pm, by visiting the Minnesota State Fairgrounds bandstand. Parking is free. Admission is just $11 per adult for the whole weekend, and children 9-years and under get in for free! Plus, if you bring in a canned food item, you’ll get a $1 discount on adult admission. Another plus: if you get there early you’ll receive some kind of fabulous gift bag full of stuff you totally want, like original drawings from some of the creators.

Fallcon in 2006 at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds.

Fallcon in 2006 at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds.

Sadly, I’ll be at SPX, but if you’re going to FallCon, stop by Tom Anderson‘s table. He’s got the best damn Kiss posters you’ll ever see. Other recommended artists include: Tuesday Bassan, Kevin Cannon, Zander Cannon, Katie Cook, Sam Hiti, the International Cartoonist Conspiracy, Tom Kaczynski, Bob Lipski, Ed Moorman, Barbara Schulz, Tim Sievert, Andy Singer, Steve Stwalley, Mike Toft, and many, many others.

– Sarah Morean

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