[COMICS] When a new comic con is set to debut, there’s a reasonable expectation of growing pains. New organizers must navigate the complicated web of procuring locations, guests, and vendors while making sure advertising and marketing are on point, leading up to the big day of the event. With so many moving parts to keep in order, it’s no wonder that early forays into the booming business often sputter out. That’s not the expectation for Nickel City Con, which is set to debut Saturday and Sunday, August 13 and 14 at the Buffalo Convention Center. With major collectible players Dave and Adam’s at the helm of the ship, the Nickel City Con is making a splash directly out of the gate. Guests like Ric Flair, Sean Astin, Ray Park from Star Wars, and comic artist Neal Adams are among the most in demand in the industry.
About five years ago, Dave and Adam’s expanded into the vintage comic book business, prompting co-owner Adam Martin and his staff to begin studying the comic convention business with designs on hosting their own in the city. “We started attending all significant comic cons around the country. And here we are, six years later…we attend 40 different comic cons a year and we have eight people who work here in our offices full-time simply buying and selling comic books,” Martin said. “So for the past several years we’ve been very involved in the comic con industry. And we kept saying to ourselves, right from the beginning, ‘Boy, Buffalo could use something like this.’”
With attendees in mind, Martin and company were meticulous in vetting guests for the Nickel City Con. Drawing a crowd is important, but a reputation for engagement and fun were key when choosing their list of stars, which also includes actors Brett Dalton (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.), Larry Thomas (the Soup Nazi from Seinfeld), and Christopher McDonald (Shooter McGavin from Happy Gilmore) who we had the honor of speaking to this week.
An Interview with Chris McDonald, guest at Nickel City Comic Con
Yes, Chris McDonald has been in everything. All of the movies and most of the TV shows have featured the New York City native in some role at some point.
Okay, so it might only feel that way, but the point is McDonald is extremely prolific, with over 189 acting credits spanning his career. He can currently be seen on HBO’s Ballers, playing an owner of the Dallas Cowboys, and he is cast alongside Nathan Lane in the Front Page, set to debut on Broadway in October.
With such a busy schedule, McDonald is just now finding time between acting gigs to make the rounds on the bustling comic con scene, where his iconic roles in Happy Gilmore, Thelma and Louise, and Quiz Show have made him a popular attraction.
A diehard Bills fan, McDonald relishes the opportunity to visit the city this weekend, when he will be a special guest at the first ever Nickel City Comic Con at the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center August 13-14.
Your name has started to pop up recently on the “special guests” list for these comic con events. What has it been like to get involved in this scene?
I just started a couple of years ago. I’ve been invited (to work comic cons), but I was always working. This year, I’m about to go into a play in New York. So, I know that I’m going to be sold to the company store on Broadway for six months so I won’t be able to do anything. So, I just wanted to reach out, (and) especially because they said Buffalo—I said absolutely, because I had been up in Niagara and had a good time, and I just love that Western New York thing. It feels great, to be honest with you. People will come up to me and ask me for a picture of something I did maybe 25 years ago and I’ll say, ‘Man, I just sold out. Note to self: Get a picture of SLC Punk’ or something. So, I’m getting better and better at it and I love the interaction and I love the people.
Some convention attendees can be intimidated or flustered when meeting their favorite celebrities. Do you have any tips for folks who want to make the most out of their celebrity meeting experience?
I know it can be a little bit daunting when someone will come up and start quoting all these lines from their favorite movies they’ve seen you in and stuff like that, and if there is a line, it becomes a problem. So I guess the perfect way is to come in, take a picture, we will sign it, and we’ll have a selfie together… It’s like that Chris Farley thing on Saturday Night Live, “Remember that time when you were in that thing and you were driving your car, remember that?” You don’t want any of that action, but you get it anyway.
Who seems to attract the most attention from fans at the comic cons you’ve been a part of?
What I get blown away at, I’ll tell you thisis the lines for the Walking Dead. Zombie lovers are lined up around the building to get a picture from some guy with his eyes drooping out of his head. I don’t get that personally but more power to them. I was just absolutely blown away.
To many people, you are closely identified with the Shooter McGavin character from Happy Gilmore. I often hear actors, like the guy who played Urkel or the guy who played Screech, sounding bitter about being referred to by their character’s name. I don’t get the impression you feel that way.
I like it actually, because I think it’s better than not getting recognized for something. I mean, it could have been a lot worse. I look at it like, it could have been Porkies. Not that I was in Porkies, but you know, it could be, “Hey, Doofus!” or something. Shooter was cool, Shooter was fun. Shooter was the loveable guy you love to hate, and it was just a lot of fun. I still love the movie, and I’m glad it’s going on and on. So, I embrace it.
Chris McDonald will be on hand both days at the Nickel City Con, Aug. 13-14 at the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center.