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Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

Milwaukee Comic Con features vendors, artists

Photo by Kate Holstein
Siblings come dressed to impress at Milwaukee Comic Convention.

Joseph Tingala, a Chicago native, is a Comic Con regular. Every weekend, he dons the outfit of one of his favorite characters — this time dressed as Jon Snow — and fills his car to the brim with canvases of his original artwork. He’s getting ready to sell his product at this year’s Milwaukee Comic Con.

“I have a daytime job, a big boy job during the week,” Tingala said, whose favorite comic is Doctor Strange. “I design furniture for Crate and Barrel and then this is just my weekend, my side hustle, but this is my passion.”  

Tingala isn’t the only vendor who comes out to sell original pieces, and there are others who aren’t earning a big payday. Many of the vendors use day jobs to fund their comic-con projects on the side.

“I say my slogan is drawing every day and a Comic Con every weekend,” Tingala said.

His artwork contains hundreds — if not thousands — of characters on one canvas. He says he is known for large group or composition drawings. Although he devotes a large amount of time to his drawings, they are not his main source of income.  

Another artist, grad student Haley Anderson, etches fantasy figures into glass cups and sells them at Comic Cons across the Midwest.  

“I’m in grad school and (art) is just something I do on the side,” Anderson, a Milwaukee native, said. “I would like it to be (my main source of income), but I’m in grad school, so there are struggles.”  

Studying to be an art therapist, Anderson finds time to sell her art.

“This is only my second year doing this,” Anderson, whose favorite comic is Batman, said. “I probably average about 20 conventions each year, but this is only my second year so we’ll see how it goes.” 

Though the event was filled with artists like Tingala and Anderson, not everyone at Comic Con sells their own original work. Some, like Dennis Mazur of Maz Collectables, have massive collections of vintage comics and action figures that they bring and sell to the public. 

“My parents always used to buy us a lot of action figures, and as the years went on we kept it all,” said Mazur, who is based in Chicago. “Then we started going to shows and we became, kind of, vendors for it, and we’ve been doing it non-stop for now 10 years, doing about 20 to 25 shows a year and (that number) is just increasing every year.” 

Even though Mazur has an incredible collection of vintage action figures, that alone does not put food on the table. Despite it being just a hobby, selling collectibles still takes up most of Mazur’s time.  

“We do have our day jobs, but this hobby has kind of become a little bit more than that,” Mazur said.

Mazur and his associates do shows all over the Midwest, from Minneapolis to Indiana. For them and many others, the journey from one Comic Con to another never seems to end.


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    Carol Wassberg (Marquette Alumna)Mar 6, 2018 at 6:13 pm

    Great story! Comic-con events are big in Chicago too. The reporter really caught the excitement of the event and dedication of the participants.