ThePullbox catches up with The Oconocon’s Joshua Goes

The Oconocon, the premier Comics event of Wisconsin and it’s coming up soon! The Oconocon is May 4th at The Olympia Resort & Convention Center 1350 Royale Mile Road, Oconomowoc, WI 53066. Oconomowoc, WI is located right in between Milwaukee and Madison. The Resort is conveniently situated less than 2 miles off of Interstate 94.

Some of the guests are: Jim Krueger (Justice, Project: Superpowers), Sean McKeever (Teen Titans, Countdown), John Jackson Miller (Star Wars: KOTOR), Mark Stegbauer (Femme Noir, The Four Uncles of the Apocolypse), Worth Gowell (Kid Houdini), Matt Anderson (White Picket Fences), Micah Farritor (White Picket Fences), Andy Brase (Kull, Incredible Hulk), Josh Elder (The Batman Strikes!), Rich Koslowski (Marvel Comics Presents), Russell Lissau (The Batman Strikes!), Tom Nguyen (Batman, Green Lantern Corps), Ande Parks (Green Arrow, Superman Confidential)… plus many, many more… check out the complete list here!

The architect and driving force behind the Oconocon is Joshua Goes. I have had the pleasure of knowing Josh for a year or two now. Recently I was able to get a few words out of him about the Oconocon, his life and how he uses his powers of geekdom for good!

Check out below for Josh’s interview, an insight into setting up a convention and monkeybread sweet deals on airline to and from comic conventions!

Josh, around these parts most people consider you to be an expert on most things “geek”, can you give us some of your background or when did you first get involved on the comic scene?

Well Eric, I don’t consider my self to be an expert on anything, but that ironically is kind of how it all began. I suffer from a depressive disorder and in my teens I wound up in a hospital. While I was there I traded the kid across the hall some of my Nintendo Mags for some comics. From there I was hooked. when I got out I borrowed a run of Uncanny X-Men (#179 – 269)from a friend down the street and a few days later I went back for his run of X-Factor. The books brought something out in me, I saw these people that were different fighting for their dream and never giving up. From there I started going to conventions and getting books signed. When I was 16 I attended my first show (at The Burnham Bowl) as a dealer with a short box of signed books. From there everything snowballed and by the time I was 17 I was running my first store Masumane Comics. Sadly I lost everything due to some bad decisions and the industry crash in the mid 90’s. And I stepped away from comics for a while. In 2003 I started attending shows again and started buying and selling on ebay. In in just a few short years I rebuilt my stock of signed books and opened my ebay store M Pulp Culture.

What should fanboys and fangirls expect at the Oconocon?

Comic Books! The Oconocon will be heavily focused on comic book creators and will be kept as pure to comic related only items as I can make it. This will be a celebration of the people that give us all the great art to see, stories to read and items to sell. All of it put together by people that love comics. Also I think fans and guests alike will be impressed by the venue, The Olympia Resort.

Given that in the SE Wisconsin area, there has not been a comic event of this size, what kind of epiphany was there, or what inspired a full blown event like Oconocon?

I have wanted to do a show for a while now. During recent trips to much a larger convention I heard a lot of dealers and guests talk about the high costs to set up only to get the table scraps left over after the attendees were done buying all the “con exclusives”. It seems that comic book conventions are spreading out to as many forms collecting and fanfare as they can. Sure this brings more people thru the door, but how far should it go before it stops being a COMIC BOOK convention.

I know that the Oconocon is helping raise money for Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin. How did that come about? How do we connect the dots between the two organizations?

Well, like I said it all started with my time in a hospital and comics helping to inspire me. When I was starting out as a dealer I helped Andrew Borgstorm with his Children’s Charity Comic Book Show that also benefited Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin. During my time getting back into comics, my son was rushed to the hospital on night and had to have emergency surgery. I was relieved that everything turned out fine. Then a few months later I found my self under the crushing weight of the medical bills and I sank into a depression once again. I made the choice to try and raise money for charity to help kids receive better care and to help lessen the financial burden on parents.

As you have been the backbone, soul and driving force behind this event, what has been your biggest surprise? your biggest hurdle? your biggest blessing (if you want to use that word)?

The biggest surprise had to be when I went to just look at a possible venue and I left with a date set. At that point I had planed for one small room and 5 or 6 guests…

For the hurdle there are three things. The first would be Free Comic Book Day. I had thought that having the show the day after FCBD would work out great. But it turns out that making the trip to set up at the show would be too taxing on shop owners who’s biggest sales weekend is FCBD. Also it made in impossible for some guests to attend due to other commitments. Added is the rise in gas prices and travel costs, we are all feeling that pinch. Because of this I have lowered the dealer table fees and I thank all the dealers that have signed on so far. Lastly has been my health. I was very ill for three weeks and for the last three I have been suffering from severe sinus migraines.

The Blessing, all the help I have received from great volunteers such as Neil “Nelly” Miller, Chris & Neil from Kowabunga Comics, Greg and yourself from The Pullbox and so many others that have helped out in the last few months.

What are your personal goals for the future of this event?

I would like to bump the con to a two day event next year. I currently have a few (non FCBD weekend) dates in mind. Also ther are quite a few big name guest and companies that are unable to attend this year that are interested in attending our next event. I can’t give too much away now but I should have a date set and guest list started by late June.

Josh, Thanks for your time and your inspirational story

I personally cannot wait for the Oconocon, not only do I get to go and be the big geek that I love being, but this is all to support the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin. See you there!

Now on top of just being a great con for a great cause, The Oconocon would like to help you get here (or to the Comic-Con International!)

The Oconocon just set up a promotion with Midwest Airlines!

With use of the promo code you get 10% off flights not only to The Oconocon, but to Comic-Con International: San Diego as well.

For The Oconocon:
10% discount off tickets purchased 45 days in advance.
6% discount off tickets purchased – No advance needed.
Discount code is good for all Midwest Airlines flights between May 1st – 7th.

For Comic-Con International: San Diego:
10% discount off tickets purchased 45 days in advance.
6% discount off tickets purchased – No advance needed.
Discount code is good for all Midwest Airlines flights between July 21st – 31st.

Go to http://www.midwestairlines.com and use the promo code CMZ7063

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Updated: April 16, 2008 — 6:26 pm

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