The first-ever BAY-CON took place on October 20th, 2019. 

BAY-CON by Jeff Ritchie

So I woke up Monday.. and for the first time in so long I can’t remember I was free. Free of worry and the feeling of deadlines. I have been lucky to be super busy over the last few years. Sometimes it wasn’t worth it sometimes it was magic.

Last Sunday definitely fell into the Magical category.

Simple idea.. let’s do free comic book day with our students and ask all of our amazing friends to help them have an art filled day!

So many people asked me what I thought throughout the day and the only thing I could think was “it’s great”. You see I’m lucky enough to have befriended some of the most amazing and wonderful people on earth. So I knew the show would be great. I just went to them and told them our idea and they almost to a person were on board after a simple calendar glance. A few couldn’t make it but it was literally do to a prior commitment. One offered to drive from Chillicothe next year because he loved the idea so much. But my only worry was would anyone show up… you can never control that. Would anyone come and support the kids and all of the wonderful artists and makers.

And yes people did come.. lots of families and friends.. random people who had just heard about the show. It was a mini Comicon and it was light and fun and you could feel all of the love in the room.

I could not have been prouder of the students for putting themselves out there and seeing their faces as people talked about how much they loved their artwork.

And I will never be able to thank my friends enough. Even the new friends I made like Stephan Manchir and Scott Bleisath were down to do whatever it took to make the kids smile! (Please thank the other 501st members for me) The show was exactly ,down to the room layout ,the way I had imagined and hoped.

So much hard work from everyone at BAYArts and all of my friends bringing the joy… and all for little monkey people. That’s the way it should be and thats what we did!

I have edited this down from a longer ramble .. but only because I’m going under for awhile. Working on new crazy dumb ideas and hopefully people will follow me there as well. So a huge thanks to Linda Goik for always and I mean always saying “do it” whenever I had a weird idea! You couldn’t ask for a better or harder working partner on a project. She even made me seem lazy ! Haha

James Giar and Eric Dull for believing my idea and getting all of their crew involved. These guys put in a bunch of extra work just to make these kids have a rockin day!

Nancy Walters Heaton for letting us try a stunt like this! Melanie Matty Harlan, Lauren Goik for helping out all day!!

And to all of my friends that lent their time..and goodies I love you all more than can be said….. Angela Oster, John Dudas, Ben Joines-Mundy, Heather Curtiss, Rick Lozano, Jason Fitch, Andrea Maile, Kristen Burns, Christopher Michael, Drew Roesky, Paul ‘Tiberius’ Steadman, Steven King, Amber White, Amalia DeGirolamo, Sequoia Bostick, Samantha Hudson, Jessica Stockdale, Keith Miller, Courtney Miller, Riley Rivera, Ernest Mcilwee

And finally.. Marissa Joy Flynn for the half a dozen conversations we had about doing an event like this. It worked!! We knew it! Haha


BAY-CON by Jim Giar

Now that I’ve had time to reflect on BAYCon….

There’s a quick story with it…So I’ll try and be brief. I am a comics guy. It’s what I’ve wanted to do since I was a kid. And although I’ve taken several different directions in the “fork in the road” that is life. My love for the storytelling medium is still deeply a part of me.

When I was invited to join the team at BAYArts, I had little to no experience in teaching. Other than a few workshops for local libraries and community college…that was the extent of it. I knew going into BAYArts I wanted to get those that were on the outside, to understand that Comics were and are, an art form. It’s not just panels and word balloons, there’s an art to panel arrangement, pacing…mood and heart. Page design…there is a purpose. In most cases it’s not a solitary venture, it’s collaborative. You work with writers, editors, letterers, colorist.

So jump ahead to now….And the entrance of Jeff Ritchie to the staff. BAYCon was a result of a 15-20 minute conversation before class I had with Jeff…about how he wanted to do a ComicCon for our kids. With much collaborative work with most of the staff…And Jeff’s planning and contacts from his con experience, what resulted was an amazing 4-5 hours filled with superheroes, storm troopers…painting…creativity and yes Comics. There are so many people to thank, and I won’t attempt to do so, in fear of forgetting someone. But if you were there…well then you’re the recipient of our thanks. Other than pics of my family and grandkids enjoying the festivities, I do have one single photo that is my fave.

It’s of a group of kids sitting outside, opening their bags of comics…..Much like I did so many years ago, every Saturday after chores. Going thru comics with my friends outside the Pharmacy down the street from my home.

My thanks to all that made it possible and big thanks to Jeff…for his vision and John Dudas and his family from Carol and Johns Comic Shop for providing the comics. We’ll see you cats next year.

Pictures from Event: 1, 2, 3