Sunday, March 23, 2014

CONversations: Interview with James Maddox of Tri-State Comic Con

Show organizers James Maddox (left)
and Eric Watkins (right)
I had the esteemed pleasure of attending Tri-State Comic Con in Huntington, West Virginia last April.  Now in its third year, Tricon has become the largest comic-centered show in West Virginia. Thought it still remains a one-day show, it has been recognized for gaining the participation of the best and most active creators in the comic community. And while these attractions bring people through the door, the show’s primary interest is to help shine a spotlight on independent creators in the region. Be sure to read my thoughts on the show and, after the break, check out my interview with one of the key members of the TriCon team, James Maddox.

Kentucky Geek Girl: What is your relationship to Tricon?
James Maddox: As one of the two main guys of Tricon, I have the distinct honor of getting the word out on the show to the region's comic enthusiasts--which is just a fancy way of saying that I shout to anyone who will listen about the awesome show that Eric Watkins and I have put together. The coolest thing: There's a lot to shout about. Whether it's the amazing guests that we've coaxed into coming to the show, or the top quality exhibitors and vendors, I'm continually surprised each year by the amount of great components we're able to bring to the area.

KGG: Tell me a bit about your background and relationship to comics.
JM: In 2009, Eric and I started Broken Icon Comics in an effort to publish our own comics the way that we would like to show them to readers. After the success of our flagship titles Nightmare Unknown, Chosen & Forsaken, and Hunterprey, we began branching out and looking for new titles from other quality creators trying to get their books in print.

Both Eric and I continue to create new titles, both within Broken Icon and outside of it.   Since his release of Chosen & Forsaken and Night of the Living Tricon, Eric has gone on to write a crazy amount of books that are in development right now, as well as creating and releasing the series G-Raver (, which is developing a solid following in both the comics and wrestling worlds.

I have been hard at work creating a series called THE DEAD (, which was just released on ComiXology and has since been getting an embarrassing amount of praise from pros, readers and critics. Beyond that, the second installment of my critically acclaimed Broken Icon short story The Horror Show will be making its debut at Tricon (May 31), and I've been releasing a 28-page story each week on my home site called Clown (

KGG: What are your favorite comics?
JM: First and foremost, Transmetropolitan has always remained my "stuck on a desert island" series. After that, it's a free for all with titles like Luther Strode, Unwritten, Sandman, Surrogates, Criminal Macabre, Fables, American Vampire, 68, and so many others. More often than not, new independent comics are what's on my nightstand.

KGG: Why did you want to get involved with the convention?
JM: Personally, I love talking with the professional and indie creators who come to our show. Swapping ideas and trading both horror and victory stories of the comics industry is a great way of networking and creating a community.

Also, both Eric and I go to several conventions every year, and we've seen some really stellar shows devolve into nothing more than media-heavy experiences where the sales of comic creators suffer. When we started tossing around the idea of starting a convention in Huntington, keeping the show centered on comics was a big sticking point for us. Even our media guests (which are intentionally small in number every year) have direct connections with the comic industry, and many times, as is the case with Mick Foley, they are creators themselves.

KGG: What do you think that your show offers that makes it unique?
JM: Comics. Tricon is a convention made by comic enthusiasts for comic enthusiasts. Beyond that, the amount of top comic talent we've been able to bring in for our one-day show has always made me smile.

KGG: What do you have planned that is special for 2014?
JM: Eric has outdone himself with amassing a mind-blowing guest list this year. We are thrilled to be one of the few shows that uber-creator Gail Simone will be attending in 2014. Building from that, we've brought in comic creators Daniel Way, Jeremy Barlow, James Asmus, Chris Sprouse, Pop Mhan and many others. And our latest guest announcement of Mick Foley has made everyone do happy dances, both because of his career in wrestling and because of his critically acclaimed work in writing.

KGG: Any details for the future of the con?
JM: Tricon is ever-evolving, so the future of it is highly dependent on what the demand from our attendees are. Our Facebook page is a great place for discussion about what the next year of Tricon will become. If there are creators or features that Tricon fans want in the future, they're quick to tell us what that is. (

KGG: Besides Tricon, what other conventions do you like to attend as a fan?
JM: As a creator and a fan, I always enjoy attending shows like NYCC, along with Baltimore and Boston Comic Cons. Regionally, I love attending Lexington, Gem City, and Derby City. The producers of those conventions are excellent promoters who continue to impress each and every year.

Tri-State Comic Con
Big Sandy Superstore Arena
Huntington, WV
Saturday, May 31, 2014
VIP: $25; General admission: $10 (Children under 10: Free)
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