06/27/2012 10:46 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

The Story of VertCon: A Comic Convention Put Together by a 17-Year-Old Kid


I first met Everett Watford a few years ago.

There used to be a comic store here in Chicago called The Comic Vault and that's where I first met Everett. My first thought upon meeting him was that this kid was a character. He had that tall and lanky awkwardness that only teenage life could provide. He was baby-faced and friendly, but mostly one of the definite things about Everett is that he knew comics.

For as young as he was, he had a crazy amount of knowledge when it came to comics. Whether it to be other creators, characters or story-lines, he knew a ton. He was helpful, and at times almost too helpful, but it was always great to see someone as young as him so passionate about something.

Working at The Comic Vault he was obviously too young to work for a paycheck, so he was paid in store credit and it didn't matter because Everett would probably spend all his money on comics anyways.

More and more as I got involved into the comic community, creating comics myself, I did more events and showed up to more comic shows and signings. Everett was at all of these events. It was very rare that he didn't show up at something, even the smallest gatherings.

All of the local Chicago creators, some doing small press work and others doing major industry work (Marvel, DC, Image Comics) knew Everett quite well. Ask any of them and they probably have a great story about him.

As I got to know Everett the past couple of years, he began talking about throwing his own comic book convention, inspired from another local "Decapitated" Dan Royer who started his own convention Dan Con. He talked and talked and talked about it and lot of people doubted it would ever happen. As ambitious as Everett was, some thought he was maybe too ambitious, and that the show would never happen.

Upon looking around and figuring out his options as far as financing the show himself, Everett took his cause to the mega popular crowd sourcing site Kickstarter, in which he made over a thousand dollars in support of the show from people all the country.

I think once that happened, a lot of more people took Everett seriously and creators booked tables to sell their comics at the show. News spread here and there about the show, some major comic news sites got wind of it and posted stories about it and that helped a bit.

This past weekend marked for the first-ever VertCon. Attendance was fairly small and even for the lack of air conditioning on a hot summer day, those who did show up bought a lot of comics and supported local creators and the community.

That word: community. That's what's amazing about the comic book scene, we support our friends and colleagues and encourage each other and keep each other on our toes.

Seeing VertCon become a reality and seeing people showing up for it is one of the best examples of the love we share for what we do. We weren't there to make a bunch of money or advance our careers or try and pitch books to companies. We were there to support our friend Everett and to support our community.

Everett loves what he does, and it shows. He has love and ambition and drive for all things comics and that's why we support him. We're lucky to have him. Keep your eye on this kid. Big things are going to happen to him. Just you wait.