MARIETTA - Comic fans converged Sunday on the Washington County Fairgrounds for River City Comic Con, the first event of its kind in the Mid-Ohio Valley in more than 10 years.
Around 20 local illustrators and vendors attended the event. Convention-goers had the opportunity to mingle with local cartoonists, purchase comic books and portray their favorite comic book characters with a costume contest.
Jordan Lowe, event organizer and owner of Asylum Comics in Marietta, said the turnout Sunday was impressive.
Photos by Natalee Seely
Darren Bonar, of Marietta, attended River City Comic Con dressed as one of his favorite X-Men characters, Nightcrawler.
"It's been hot, but attendance has been steady all day," said Lowe. "There are lots of kids; we really wanted this to be a family event. We've had about 10 to 15 people dress up as comic book characters. People are having fun with it."
The event was the first comic convention in the area in more than 10 years.
"There was a similar promotional event about 12 years ago in Vienna. Since then people have been bugging me to organize another one," said Lowe.
Darren Bonar, of Marietta, went all out in his choice of costume. Complete with blue face paint and cat eye contacts, Bonar arrived at the convention dressed as Nightcrawler, one of his favorite characters from X-Men.
Bonar attends four or five conventions each year.
"I started going to the Mid-Ohio Comic Con in Columbus about 12 years ago, and from there, it grew into a hobby of mine," said Bonar. "I'm so glad they decided to put one on locally. It's great that they're bringing the comic culture back to this area."
Bonar said comics have changed a lot in the last couple of decades.
"The mythology that some of these comics get into is quite interesting. There are some wonderful storylines," he said. "Comics aren't just for kids anymore."
Among the artists at the convention Sunday was Terence E. Hanley, of Athens. He was promoting his first print comic "Lucky Girl" as well as his two kids coloring books.
"I grew up loving comics, and I started drawing when I was 5 years old. I always liked the science fiction-type heroes as well as the classic characters like Batman and Spider-man," said Hanley. "In my own work, I tend to gravitate towards the characters I liked as a kid."
Hanley's coloring books feature monsters, including the Mothman.
"A couple years ago I went to the Mothman Festival in Point Pleasant, and it really fascinated me," said Hanley.
Alia Reed, of McConnelsville, promoted her web comic "Low Forecast," about an ordinary family that moves into a town of mythical creatures and lives in a house occupied by two fairies.
Reed attended the Art Institute of Pittsburgh before pursuing her passion for comic illustrating.
"I started out going to school for video gaming, but realized I really liked to draw," she said. "My drawing style takes after a lot of the characters you might see in video games, like Zelda."
In addition to illustrators, the event featured face painting, a coloring and gaming table and comic book sales.
Jugger Ohio, a sports league in Marietta, set up a booth promoting Jugger, a sport gaining popularity in the United States. Jugger Ohio is one of only a handful of Jugger sports leagues in the country.
"It's a fast-paced sport with elements of armed and unarmed combat," said Wess Apshaga-Meaux, league member. "It's a popular sport in Germany and Australia. Our goal is to spread the sport and see it grow here."