It's not all Hollywood up in here at this weekend's convention


Columbus' Jeff Smith ("Bone," "RASL") is one of many features at this weekend's Wizard World Ohio Comic Con with an Ohio tie. Smith will give a talk on Will Eisner at 1:30 p.m. Saturday at the convention. Alive file photo.

Special post by Matthew Lovett

We can get contribute to the chaos of crowding around Giancarlo Esposito or the Boondock Saints cast, or we can take a deep breath and remember why we came to Comic Con: comics. Not only is Wizard World Ohio Comic Con celebrating comics, but they're celebrating Ohio comics, too.

Here are five highlights for the Ohio-centric comic fan. Oh, and while you're at, maybe scope this 2013 piece by the great Jackie Mantey about why Columbus is fast-tracking it as a comics-destination.

Creator Pro Am: Drink & Draw Hosted by Victor Dandridge (8:30 p.m. Friday)

Victor Dandridge, the Columbus-based proprietor of Vintage:Inhouse Productions (a small-press comic imprint), will host a bit of a contest on Wizard Con's opening night. It's an open competition to all attendees with an inclination for comic writing and drawing (and presumably, a need for a drink). The gist of it is this: Dandridge sets the scenario, and all the writer-artists teams will be called on to create a comic based on it. Prizes go to best writer and artist.

Heartland: The Marriage Between Comics & Ohio (12:30 p.m. Saturday)

Unbeknownst to, well, probably many people out of the comic book loop, Ohio is the birthplace of Superman - the original comic book superhero. The Man of Steel was crafted in 1930s Cleveland when its creators Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster were just in high school. Little did they know that would serve as the backdrop to a grand tradition of Ohio comic creators. In this Heartland segment, cartoonists from across the state will celebrate and discuss not only Superman, but also the other quality works (including those of Harvey Pekar, who also has his own celebratory event outside of this) that have come out of the Buckeye State.

Will Eisner: Life and Legacy, a Presentation by "Bone's" Jeff Smith (1:30 p.m. Saturday)

Currently on display in Columbus' amazing Billy Ireland Cartoon Museum is a collection of Will Eisner works from the library's stash. Recognized largely for the innovative content and design of his 1950s series "The Spirit," Eisner is also the guy that actually popularized the term "graphic novel" in the '70s. Now just think about that as "Bones" creator Jeff Smith - a Columbus resident - walks Wizard Con visitors through Eisner's career and legacy.

Comics Assembled Presents: Small Publishers, Big Books! (12:30 p.m. Saturday)

In this panel discussion, four cartoonists, including Ohio's Thom Zahler ("My Little Pony) and Lora Innes ("The Dreamer"), break down what it means to do-it-yourself as a writer/artist in the comic book industry. Listen in to hear about the rewarding trials and tribulations of being a small- or self-publisher.

Spotlight on the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum (2:30 p.m. Saturday)

Our own amazing Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum will be featured on Saturday, with the museum's Caitlin McGurk talking about its incredible holdings and fascinating current exhibitions. Danny Fingeroth (The Stan Lee Universe) moderates.