Awesome Con has become a very popular comic and pop culture attraction in Washington, DC. The convention, held annually in the spring, hosts celebrities from film and TV, comic writers and artists, a large list of diverse vendors, and gaming, plus exhibits and showcased sections for pop culture fans. One such exhibit gave attendees a taste of the treasures housed at Geppi’s Entertainment Museum (GEM).
During Awesome Con, GEM exhibited comics, art, and collectibles from the museum’s vast inventory. It immersed convention goers in pop culture history, showing off highly coveted comic books, notable collectibles, and fun tidbits.
Attendees at any convention are moved by a sea of hustle and bustle to purchase key comics and other collectibles, or to meet favorite comic creators and celebrities. But when they entered the GEM traveling exhibit, there was an obvious slowing of pace and change in demeanor as people registered what they were seeing. They became transfixed by seeing toys of their past and comics they assumed they’d never see in person.
“Everyone was stopped in their tracks by the displays. Reactions ranged from gasps and awes to actual tears of joy. The original Plane Crazy storyboards were incredibly well received. We were thanked by everyone for bringing the exhibit to DC and many guests returned to tour multiple times, in most cases bringing back friends to see it – just as happens with our actual museum location,” GEM President Melissa Bowersox said during the event.
Comics on display included first issues and debuts by several major characters. Amazing Fantasy #15 with the first appearance of Spider-Man, The Amazing Spider-Man #1, Tales of Suspense #39 with the first appearance of Iron Man, Journey Into Mystery #83 with the debut of Thor, Fantastic Four #1 with the first appearance of the team, Luke Cage #1 with the first appearance of the Hero for Hire, and The Incredible Hulk #181 with the debut of Wolverine were among the comic highlights.
Display cases were filled with artwork, such as the original Plane Crazy storyboards of Mickey Mouse, Alice in Wonderland movie poster, and Mickey Mouse and Batman advertising pieces. Toys, action figures, and statues covered everything from kid friendly to horror from the 1980s to more modern items. They had collectibles featuring the Pink Power Ranger, Bart Simpson, Negan from The Walking Dead, Freddy Krueger from A Nightmare on Elm Street, the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, a Rainbow Brite doll, Cabbage Patch Kid, the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, plus records and vintage video game materials.
“It’s been phenomenal. We’ve been so happy that people not only have been coming and seeing the exhibit, but then coming back a second, third, and fourth time to look at some of these things,” Collections and Exhibits Manager Michael Solof said during Awesome Con.
Friends excitedly reminisced over versions of their old toys, teenagers marveled at the vintage material, and parents could be seen telling kids stories about the toys in the cases that they had as kids. The exhibit was a trip down memory lane and showed con goers what the convention scene was truly built on many years ago.
Editor’s Note: Over the next few months, we’ll have retrospectives of some of the great exhibits and events held at Geppi’s Entertainment Museum. Items from Steve Geppi’s gift to the nation will be on display at the Library of Congress beginning in Fall 2018.
Other Installments in our Retrospective Series
Geppi’s Entertainment Museum in Photos - Part I
Atlas At Last
Artistry of Amanda Conner
Alice in Wonderland