Comic Conventions News and Events
For our guest today we have the exciting privilege of talking to Gary Sohmers, known in the media and collecting world as the “King of Pop Culture.”
Gary has been a collector and dealer in antiques for over 50 years, which gives him a unique perspective on the market, and an inside look at how to navigate it. He’s also attended and sold at numerous antiques and collectibles events each year, including the Historic Brimfield Antiques Flea Market. He appeared as an appraiser of toys, collectibles, and memorabilia on the popular PBS television program Antiques Roadshow for 13 seasons, with over 80 appraisal appearances.
Gary is a collector of popular culture, an author, a talk radio host and guest, along with being a TV personality, who shares his passion for collecting with audiences around the world. Gary’s collecting bug began at the age eight when he began to wheel and deal his toys at a yard sale. His respect for collecting was born from his father’s passion for campaign buttons. He went from hustling toys, to campaign buttons, to record albums, to everything that is “popular culture” – from Mark Twain to The Simpsons.
The “King of Pop Culture” is an entertainment industry insider, appraiser, consultant and expert. He has had his collectibles and appraisals featured in many publications. Mr. Sohmers has been a featured guest on many television and radio programs over the past 45 years. As a lecturer, he speaks at historical societies, schools, libraries, corporations, and antiques shows, and appears as an appraiser at other special events on a number of subjects.
With all of that, Gary is producer of the NorthEast ComicCon and Collectibles Extravaganzas, Pop Culture Expo events happening numerous times a year.
Comic Conventions News and Events: While talking about your Collectibles Events, what is the difference between NorthEast ComicCon and your Collectibles Extravaganza shows?
Gary Sohmers: The NorthEast ComicCon is an opportunity to aggregate artists, authors and celebrities from the world of comic books, including novels, films and television shows. The audience is entertained and educated about the careers in the creative arts surrounding these artistic endeavors, and including Cosplay to involve more of the creativity of pop culture fans. We add the long running Collectibles Extravaganza to NorthEast ComicCon for fans to buy high quality comics, toys, pop culture and collectibles at reasonable prices. We also produce standalone Collectibles Extravaganzas that do not include artists, celebrity guests and cosplay to provide an opportunity for collectibles sellers and buyers to meet.
CCNE: Why is “family friendly” and “low dough admissions” at your events important to you? Having been to many ComicCons, the prices do vary greatly.
GS: Our goal is to create an event that can be enjoyed by all generations together, so the entire family is considered when booking guests and providing programming. As my old friend “Buffalo” Bob Smith called them, “the dimples, the pimples and the wrinkles.” Our audience enjoys the variety and camaraderie of the event. The “low dough” aspect is so that after paying admission, and parking is free, the attendees still have money to spend with the vendors, artists and celebrities.
CCNE: We were there when Batman star Adam West, talked about your shows, although being a smaller event compared to the massive convention center shows, he referred it to being the “biggest, because of the heart”, to which the crowd applauded. Having been to many of your events ourselves, there is a very welcoming feeling: the staff is wonderful, and it is nice to be able to meet and talk to your celebrity guests, whether it’s actor, author, artist panels, or one-on-one conversations at their booths. Many other shows you could wait for hours to have just a moment or so of interaction. Are there plans to make the show bigger, and if so, how do you keep the events as welcoming and affordable as they are now?
GS: Having produced the “big shows” in the 1990s, including the Lost In Space cast reunions in 1990 and 1995, and shows numbering 400+ vendors, I’m content producing an event where everyone can enjoy it comfortably and affordably. The giant celebrity shows are too expensive to attend and there is no money left for vendors after the fees the promoter and celebrities charge. I don’t need to be in that business.
CCNE: Okay, enough of the business end, let’s get some spoilers! Any early celebrities, speakers, bands or exhibitors you can tell us about scheduled at your upcoming November 25-27th Event?
GS: November 25-27 will include the fabulous Harp Twins, appearing to meet fans and do photo ops all weekend, plus performances each day. We will be announcing guests beginning in late August 2022 and may have a special cast reunion if all goes as planned.
CCNE: Any spoilers for special vendors on October 1-2, 2022?
GS: The October 1-2 show is 40 collectibles vendors selling toys, comics and pop culture in the Boxboro Regency Ballroom, and it’s only $10 to get in. In the big Parade room on that weekend will be the Nashua Valley Railroad Association model train show with multiple train layouts.
CCNE: If celebrities, vendors or speakers would like to be part of these shows, how would they go about it?
GS: They can email me at GarySohmers@gmail.com
CCNE: We have seen you at many other conventions, shows, and events as a celebrity guest, speaker, and even vendor. It is incredible that you find the time! If another show or event wanted you to be a guest, how would they contact you?
GS: I am available for appraisals and offer written services for insurance, probate or knowledge. I also buy collections and accumulations of toys, comics, records, antiques or other collectibles. I appear at events for conventions, historical societies, Libraries etc doing Free Verbal appraisals for attendees in order to offer them a TV-like experience, like what they’ve seen on Antiques Roadshow. Email GarySohmers@gmail.com for info.
CCNE: To wrap things up, another show you are producing is The HighLifeStyle Show, October 7-9, 2022 in Boxboro. We will be covering this in a full interview coming up, but is there anything you would like to mention about this upcoming show?
GS: The HIghLifeStyle Show is a hybrid B2B and B2C event for the cannabis consumer and business person. Following the path of craft wine and craft beer, we believe that a craft bud tasting event can be similar, and we are including live music, comedy and programming all in a hotel.
CCNE: Anything we missed?
GS: I have a new record being released. Its called Beasties: A Sci-Fi Rock Opera. On the brink of planetary destruction, an otherworldly impulse rallies humans and their out-of-control beasties to save terra firma from corporate destruction in the midst of a concert in Central Park. I wrote all of the lyrics to 17 songs, and most of the music. The cast concept record features the singing voices of myself, Dave Bickler, Chris Farlowe, Barrence Whitfield, Bill Holloman, Liz Proteau and others. GarySohmers.bandcamp.com
CCNE: Again we want to thank our guest Gary Sohmers! Don’t miss any of the FAN-tastic upcoming Events and shows!
November 25-27, 2022 – NorthEast ComicCon & Collectibles Extravaganza
The NorthEast ComicCon & Collectibles Extravaganza is set to make its annual return the weekend of November 25-27, 2022 at the Boxboro Regency Hotel & Convention Center, Boxborough, MA. This family friendly event features a wide variety of vendors selling comic books, collectibles, cards and more. With over 30,000 sq ft. of celebrity guests, vendors, live music & concerts, celebrity karaoke and more! There is something for everyone.
October 1-2, 2022 COLLECTIBLES EXTRAVAGANZA
The Fall Collectibles Extravaganza will be held on Oct 1-2, 2022 at the Boxboro Regency Hotel & Convention Center, Boxborough, MA. The event will feature: 40 dealers and exhibitors representing vendors selling comic books, collectibles, cards and more.
October 7-9, 2022 HighLifeStyle Show
The HighLifeStyleShow is a gathering of brands, dispensaries, distributors, growers, artists, performers and consumers to converge in the HighLifeStyle of B2B and B2C in a resort hotel conference setting with exhibitors, vendors, concerts, comedy, education, celebrities, socializing and networking.