Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Derby City Spotlight: Interview with Chuck Moore

I'm very sad to have announced that I will not be appearing at Derby City Comic Con as a media guest as originally planned. That being said, I wish the convention and all of my friends there the best and look forward to seeing everyone next year.

As part of my coverage of DCCC, I reached out to Chuck Moore, who graciously answered some questions for me. Hit the jump for our interview.

Kentucky Geek Girl: What is your relationship to Derby City Comic Con?
Chuck Moore: At the end of the 2012 show, I purchased Derby City Comic Con (the show, the brand and the collected history) from Eric Bannister who did such an amazing job building this event in those first two years. Since then I've not only been the owner but I've been the show director overseeing or delegating all activities for the 2013 show. I've had some great help from people like Ginny Tonic, Jenna Foster, Allison Cuyjet, Paul Brown, John Wilson along the way.

KGG: Tell me a bit about your background and relationship to comics.
CM: Let me help by sharing my earliest memories in a link... Over the course of my life I opened a series of comic stores in Kentucky and southern Ohio called Chuck's Comics. After managing a radio station and traveling with a boat racing series doing press work with ESPN, I decided to take what I learned there and mix it with my love of comics. I created in 2004 as a vehicle to serve up comics and news but in a way that made room for indie and small press in a way I wasn't seeing around other comic news sites. That was the birth of the "CR family" of contributors, creators and regional friends. That site has exploded over the years. I'm still a partial owner having shared what I built with two partners. I organized small scale events in Cincinnati (most notably the 2012 Steampunk Empire Symposium). Everything over the years has been building to something like Derby City Comic Con and I'm excited to make that my career and my future.

KGG: Why did you want to give involved with DCCC?
CM: Eric was a friend and his "day job" was growing in some exciting ways. He wasn't sure he would have time to continue the show as he had in the past and was looking for someone to sell it to. He reached out to me as we were friends. After a couple conversations I was very proud to step in and take the reigns and purchase it from him. I had been getting more seriously into events management and a comic con, especially one I loved like Eric's, was a dream for me.

KGG: What do you think that your show offers that makes it unique?
CM: In a growing world of mixed media shows, we put comics first at Derby City Comic Con. From the vendors we invite to the guests we target, we want to grow a show that is all about loving comics and celebrating the individual creators behind the amazing world of sequential art. We're working to grow a show in the proud tradition of shows like HeroesCon in Charlotte. We want to build a show that will attract collectors and readers alike not just from this area, but from this entire side of the country.

KGG: What do you have planned that is special for 2013?
CM: We have grown the show floor without actually growing the show hall. We've ramped up our kids program, expanded the charities we're working with and made a real effort to grow the regional creator presence at the show. It is a 45,000 square foot show floor. We field about 225 tables on the show floor and that is split almost down the middle between vendors and creators. It is the same space we have occupied the last two years, but it will feel like there is more there as we have packed so much more into the space (dropping a stage we had in prior years). We have plans to expand starting next year in some very big ways. We're going to be doing a pre-con party Friday night where we will be making some very big announcements and hosting members of the media. A couple announcements are a bit jaw dropping honestly.

KGG: Any details for the future of the con?
CM:  I feel that this year marks a turning point for the show. We are hitting that ceiling where we are doing about as much as we can with the space and type of show we are. A one day show has limits and I think three years in we're right where we should be. That said, we've begun laying out a five year plan with the convention center and we will be unveiling most aspects of that Friday night. We have some very big plans for growth and ramping up the guest list each year with bigger targets is one aspect. We will be remaining at the Kentucky International Convention Center for the foreseeable future and have nailed down our show dates through 2018. We want to grow this show for the city of Louisville and we're here to stay and evolve in support of the community.

KGG: Besides DCCC, what other conventions do you like to attend as a fan?
CM:  Most certainly with and Derby City Comic Con, I not only attend but table at a lot of shows. New York Comic Con and C2E2 and annual traditions and have been for 6-7 years. In 2011 I attended roughly 30 shows. I hit almost everything I can on this side of the country and make it to San Diego when the chips land the right way. More recently 8-12 shows is the norm. From S.P.A.C.E. to Gem City to Lexington Comic and Toy show, this area has some amazing events to enjoy.

KGG: What are your favorite comics?
CM:  I am a huge fan of the character of John Constantine who grew out Alan Moore's Swamp Thing run. I love the redemptive villain in comics. That comeback kid who draws very grey lines, but rallies to vanquish the foes even as he struggles to preserve his own honor and soul. Many writers over the years have taken Constantine there and it's been a pleasure to read. Also, he's one of those characters that I was reading when he was introduced and I've followed almost everything he's been in since. I'm also a big Legion of Super-Heroes and X-Men fan. I also have a true affinity for the character of Shazam that started me collecting comic.

Current comics? Loving the old X-Men being drawn into the modern Marvel Universe in All New X-Men. I think the Batman family of titles over at DC are amazing. I'm really enjoying Mark Waid's Daredevil, the Walking Dead, Locke and Key, Stumptown, Sixth Gun, Lost Vegas and so many more. I read about 40-50 titles a month when I can.

Thanks, Charlie, for your thoughtful answers! Check back on the blog where I'll have be doing more "Derby City Spotlight" and will be sharing the announcements regarding the convention as they come through.

Derby City Comic Con
Kentucky International Convention Center
221 South 4th Street
Louisville, KY 40202
Saturday, June 29, 2013
Doors open at 10
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