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‘Walking Dead’ co-creator helps organize Cincinnati ComiCon

This is the second year for the Cincinnati ComiCon, running one week in advance of the Cincinnati Comic Expo, which itself began only in 2010. The distinction is that while the Cincinnati Comic Expo is a multigenre show, featuring celebrity guests from movies and TV shows, the Cincinnati ComiCon focuses entirely on comic books.

“It’s an art-centered show,” said Tony Moore, one of Cincinnati ComiCon’s organizers and a renowned comic book artist himself. “We want to make it the destination place for comic book collectors and comic book industry folks, and we do that by bringing in top-tier talent from all over the U.S. and Canada.”

Moore said he and other organizers structured Cincinnati ComiCon partially as a response to their own experiences visiting and attending conventions.

“A lot of it is simple things, like having a volunteer to watch over an artist’s table so he can take a bathroom break or get a snack,” he said. “Many times when you go to a show, you’re left to your own devices. We want to make sure everyone’s taken care of.”

To the general public, Moore’s most famous work is “The Walking Dead,” which would eventually be adapted into a cable series that has become one of the highest rated shows on cable television. Moore created the series with Robert Kirkman and did illustrations. Although he quit doing interior illustrations after the sixth issue, he continued to draw covers up to issue No. 24.

“I was able to grow and spread my wings as an illustrator,” Moore said. “I wasn’t as familiar with cover art duties (before “The Walking Dead”). It’s a separate job from interiors. It’s more design-heavy, where the challenge is coming up with a singular, eye-catching design. I had to work on developing those muscles.”

Due to his own body of work, Moore said he will spend some time greeting fans, but most of his time will be spent working the festival.

“I have a couple of signing periods per day, but mostly I’ll be trying to run stuff,” he said. “Since I live here, I do several other local signings per year.”

Highlights of the convention will include panel discussions, a “drink and draw,” where comic book creators can draw on the fly with the aid of a libation or two, a costume contest, and a sketch-off between two artists who pick a crowd-friendly topic and start riffing.

“The artist alley is really the backbone of the convention,” Moore said. “Our big ‘gets’ are Kelley Jones (“Batman,” “Sandman”), who rarely goes to conventions, and Tony Millionaire (“The Drinky Crow Show”), who’s considered indie comics royalty. We also have a surprising amount of local talent, which is very exciting.”

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