News Column

ComiConn: A Comic-Book Lover's Convention

August 12, 2014

By Griffin Colopy, The Hartford Courant



Aug. 12--The caped crusaders and masked vigilantes of comic-book lore come to life this weekend as fans from all over the state celebrate the classic superheroes that have become such a large part of American culture. The fifth annual ComiCONN convention will be at Bridgeport'sWebster Bank ArenaAug. 15 to 17.

Mitch Hallock, an original founder of the convention and now the sole producer, says this year is the first time ComiCONN is featuring movie and television celebrities. The convention previously focused son science fiction and comic-book media content.

"I like to say we keep the Com without the Con because we focus pretty much on comics," says Hallock. "A lot of these conventions say they're about comic books, but it's really just a convention of pop culture..."

Actors attending this year include Raymond Park, best known for his starring role as Darth Maul in "Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace"; Nicholas Brendon from WB's "Buffy the Vampire Slayer": Brian O'Halloran from "Clerks"; and Maximiliano Hernandez from ABC's "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.," "The Avengers" and more.

The convention will also feature live music, vendors, interactive games and the cast of AMC's "Comic Book Men" as well as legendary creators, artists and writers of comic books such as George PÉrez, Adam Kubert and David Finch.

The convention will be a first for famed comic book artist Neal Adams: "I've been to almost every convention around except for this one. This one is what we would call a little comic-con, but it seems to be growing exponentially."

Adams is credited with helping to create the artwork of Batman, Superman, the Green Lantern, the Green Arrow and more. He has been inducted into the Will Eisner Comic Book Hall of Fame and the Jack Kirby Hall of Fame. His most recent work includes the Batman Odyssey series.

Adams says that when he started writing comics in the early '60s, there was no real connection between the creators and the fans, but the recent increase in comic-book conventions has changed all that.

"Talking to people is my favorite part of the conventions," says Adams. "There was never a venue for this to happen. Now there is this mesh between fans and creators that has never happened before and is very new."

Of course, there will be cosplay costume contests for both children and adults.

"These folks who cosplay are so passionate about their craft it's amazing," says Hallock. "It's as serious as any other hobbyist or even more so. ... It's an artwork that you wear..." The adult contest will be held on Saturday and the children's constest will be on Sunday.

Attendance to ComiCONN has increased substantially each year. "The first year ... we were only expecting a couple hundred, and 900 people showed up," says Hallock. "The next year was during Hurricane Irene and 1,500 people came in the middle of a hurricane." Hallock says 6,000 people attended the convention last year and he expects between 10,000 and 15,000 this weekend.

The convention is "truly an all ages show," he says. "Everyone loves the modern day mythology of comics."

Comic books and super heroes "give us hope. It's fantasy that good will always triumph over evil, that one person or a group can save the world. ... We will always need someone to help make it all sane and tell us to have faith that things ultimately will work out for the best. Comics do that issue after issue."

>>ComiConn is at the Webster Bank Arena, 600 Main St., Bridgeport, Aug. 15 to 17. Convention hours are 3 to 8 p.m. on Friday; 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday; and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday. Friday's admission is $22.50 and the admission for both Saturday and Sunday is $26.50. Three-day pass admission is $55.50. information: www.comiconn.com.

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(c)2014 The Hartford Courant (Hartford, Conn.)

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Source: Hartford Courant (CT)


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