Gary Sohmers is the executive producer for the Northeast Comic Con and Collectibles Extravaganza. We were surprised to see him out on the floor last weekend, doing his part to sell his wares at a booth. It’s always admirable to see a leader getting their hands dirty with the rest of their flock. On the NECC website, it gives this information about Gary:
Gary Sohmers operates Wex Rex Collectibles and Saxonville Auction Services, attends and sells at numerous antiques and collectibles events each year, and has appeared as an appraiser of toys, collectibles, and memorabilia on the popular PBS television program ‘Antiques Roadshow’. Gary’s collecting bug began at age 8, when he began to wheel and deal his toys at a yard sale. Gary developed a respect for collecting 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.’ Gary has his main business operation in Framingham, Massachusetts, buying and selling pop culture collectibles and memorabilia. He has been a featured guest on many television and radio programs over the past 30 years. As a lecturer, he speaks at historical societies, schools, libraries, corporations, antiques shows, and appraisal and other special events on a number of subjects. Gary’s syndicated talk radio show ‘Calling All Collectors’, which he produces and hosts, is currently on hiatus. Gary continues to appear on over 50 radio programs across the U.S., regularly performs stand-up comedy, and records with his current musical ensemble, Mindjammer.”
We were able to ask him a few questions in between the organized chaos of the con. Here’s what he had to say:
LaPrade: “What is different about this convention?”
Sohmers: “We focus more on the creativity, instead of big corporate commercialism. We like to promote indie people. The next creator of something akin to “Guardians of the Galaxy” could be walking around these stalls. They could interact with other people in the business here. They might be inspired by the cosplayers. It’s a great opportunity to network. This convention could cause a trilogy of movies and they could get someone big like Steven Spielberg to direct the movie.”
LaPrade: “Tell us more about the cosplay contest.”
Sohmers: It’s called the cosplay deathmatch. Chris (Doherty) is the producer. He’s a cosplayer himself, but we also are featuring others like Negative Stacey, Zan, and Shea. Our favorite part is seeing all the mash-ups people come up with. We had this guy come in before as the “dead father.” He was a zombie version of ‘The Godfather.’ We’ve had very intricate costumes like a giant transformer walking around, too.
LaPrade: “What do you think about children cosplaying?”
Sohmers: “I think cosplay as a trend is going towards the directions of LARP (live action role playing). Cosplay is really like a gateway drug. Your parents start the process by dressing you up as Batman or something mainstream and then you work your way from there.”
Thanks to Gary, we were able to see some excellent comic book inspired paintings, illustrations, artful cosplay fashions, local literature, graphic designs, and other venues of note. If you think that comic book conventions are considered low brow art without even experiencing one, you would be mistaken.
Please note that this interview was possible due to a complimentary press pass.