NOVI, Michigan — Last weekend, I made my semi-annual pilgrimage to Motor City Comic Con, the Metro Detroit area comic book and pop culture convention that played a significant role in reigniting my interest in comic books when I moved to Michigan in the summer of 2005. The fall version of Motor City Comic Con is a smaller scale convention that organizers began to do in October 2021, after the spring 2020 and 2021 conventions were canceled due to the pandemic.
This year, I decided to go on Sunday, November 12, as Sundays are typically a slower, less expensive day to attend at Suburban Collection Showplace, in Novi. Of course, I would be going with professional wrestling collectibles on my mind, in addition to comic books and Garbage Pail Kids, and before I even made it to the Suburban Collection Showplace, I started the day with an easy Facebook Marketplace purchase, and picked up a sealed 1985 WWF Wrestling Superstars Captain Lou Albano jigsaw puzzle for $10.
I entered the convention in the celebrity guest area, and one of the first people I saw was Danhausen, who was one of the only wrestling guests this time, other than Jimmy Hart. At previous Motor City Comic Cons, I had the privilege of meeting Diamond Dallas Page, Vader, Rowdy Roddy Piper, and Virgil, to name a few, and this time I came with the intention of talking to Danhausen at his first appearance as a guest at his hometown convention, but first, it was time to go shopping.
After a couple of laps around the convention floor, I picked up a nice variety of pro wrestling-related items. My first purchase was a copy of The Mighty Thor #290, featuring the first appearance of El Toro Rojo. Generally speaking, I’m not a fan of Thor, but being that I collect pro wrestling-inspired comic books, this issue of The Mighty Thor with a cover that shows Thor and El Toro Rojo in a wrestling ring was an instant buy.
The next item I bought was from a vendor named MuckyChris. Part of MuckyChris’s table was covered with a display of various 3D printed Mt. Rushmores, but instead of Presidents of the United States, MuckyChris’s Mt. Rushmores featured a variety of pop culture characters and personalities. As soon as I saw this, I thought to myself, I wonder if he has any … and before I could finish my thought, I saw that he had a pro wrestling Mt. Rushmore, featuring Andre the Giant, Ric Flair, Roddy Piper and Hulk Hogan, and regardless of whether or not you agree with the faces on this specific Mt. Rushmore, it was a cool sight to see, and I bought a small one for my office desk.
After this, my next purchase came from a vendor I’ve previously bought numerous items from who consistently has a good mix of random, affordable wrestling items. The first thing I picked was the April 1992 issue of Nintendo Power magazine, which features a review of the WWF Super WrestleMania video game for the Super Nintendo, and an awesome cover with Hulk Hogan, Super Nintendo controller in-hand, dropping a leg on Earthquake. The vendor actually had two copies of this issue, one for $20 that still had the Street Fighter 2 centerfold poster intact, but with a mailing label on the cover, and one for $10 that didn’t have the poster, but also didn’t have the mailing label, so I opted for the $10 copy with no mailing label and an unobstructed cover. It turns out there’s at least a few more issues of Nintendo Power with wrestling video game covers, so this might be the start of a new subcollection for me.
The other thing I bought from this vendor was a paperback book titled Wrestling Superstars 2 by Daniel and Susan Cohen, from 1986. It looked pristine, like the spine had never been cracked, and I loved that the cover featured mainly non-WWF talent. The taglines are great, like “More terrific stories about the wacky world of wrestling!” and for only $8, this was an easy choice, although I’ll admit I haven’t read Wrestling Superstars 1, so I might need to find the Cliffs Notes for that.
After this, it was time to get in line for Danhausen, which gave me time to decide what I wanted to buy from him. In addition to 8x10s, Danhausen had a selection of action figures he would sign, including his Micro Brawler, a Major Wrestling Figure Podcast Bendie, and his Heels and Faces action figure, but what caught my attention were his comic books. Danhausen had a limited supply of his Batman #251 variant issue from the 2023 New York Comic Con, in both regular stock and foil options. On the cover of this comic book, the original image of the Joker was replaced with Danhausen, featuring the text, “Look out, Gotham! Danhausen’s back in town!” Danhausen was signing the foil variant for $80 and the stock cover for $60, so I opted for the stock version, which he signed in Joker-green paint pen.
Danhausen was actually featured on two New York Comic Con covers this year, the Batman #251 issue I bought at Motor City Comic Con, and an extra-limited variant reprint of IDW’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #1, featuring Danhausen and Brody King in a wrestling match with Shredder, as drawn by Do A Powerbomb! creator Daniel Warren Johnson. It’s an absolutely stunning cover, limited to only 500 copies on the first print and 250 copies on the second print. An unsigned copy recently sold on eBay for $114.99 and a copy signed by Danhausen and Brody King sold for $199.99. This comic book is currently on my wish list, just in case Santa Claus is reading this.
I took great care to allow Danhausen’s green paint pen autograph to dry, so it didn’t smudge, then I headed home. Motor City Comic Con was a fun time, as always, even during its more scaled-down iteration, and while I made it a point to not spend as much time or money as I have in events past, I still left the convention with several new wrestling collectibles, including two new wrestling-inspired comic books, a wrestling book, and a magazine.