Catwoman made her way to the Bull City this weekend along with some other comic book favorites.
Hundreds of comic fans, collectors and curious guests filled the Durham Convention Center over the weekend at the colorful North Carolina Comicon. Visitors to the event were able to participate in an art contest on Saturday and a costume contest on Sunday. A vast ballroom at the DCC filled with exhibitors from around the state came to showcase both new and vintage comic book collections to the hordes of visitors. Panels of comic book authors and experts spanned both days. This was the first time the event took place in Durham, having moved from the Morrisville Outlet Mall after last year.
“I’ve been at the San Diego Comicon,” said Richard Wang, a freshman who attended the event on Sunday. “It was huge and awesome. This is smaller, but the quality is consistent.”
Attendees arrived in costumes ranging from a complete group of the Avengers to a middle-aged Eleventh Doctor Who. One pre-school-aged Batman took advantage of the opportunity to pose for a picture in a replica of the original Batmobile parked outside the Convention Center.
Other costumes included aliens with pill-shaped heads, complex devils and demonic-looking fairies. One teenager simply wore street clothes with huge, pointed ears sticking out from her hair. Other visitors skipped the costumes and came for the atmosphere.
“With school and work, conventions like this let you be someone else for a weekend,” said attendee Adrienne Rumley. “Everyone here is a family.”
Rumley, a community college student from Greensboro, wore a completely self-made Wonder Woman costume complete with a boned corset and a flashing lasso. She said she took two months to sew and paint the outfit.
“Everyone needs a hobby to relieve yourself from the daily stresses of life,” she said of her dedication.
The convention boasted special guests such as Chris Giarusso, creator of G-MAN, Brian Clevinger, creator of 8-Bit Theater, and Ben McCool, who has worked on characters such as Superman and the Justice League. Panels of the artists and experts hosted sessions titled “Secrets of the Lego Master,” “Surviving the Zombie Apocalypse” and “Genre in Comics: Thinking Outside the Tights.” In the latter, panelists discussed the expectations imposed by certain genres such as science fiction or technology.
“You have to decide—what do you want to do with your life? You have to do what you love, if you can afford it,” said illustrator and panelist Tommy Lee Edwards.
Wally Lamb, owner of Wally’s Comics, was one of more than 70 dealers running booths selling and trading comic books, posters and other paraphernalia at the Comicon. One- and two-dollar comic books filled bins upon bins at his booth while the antique collectors’ issues gleamed from behind protective plastic sheets. These rare comics fetched significantly higher prices at the discretion of the vendors.
“When it comes to conventions, I am a local,” Lamb said. “I have a day job, and I try to make any show that’s local, but I try to branch out. It’s a convenient event because we’re right here in Durham.”
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Although exhibitors and customers alike praised the high attendance, Wally’s employee Tyler Pokass noted an absence of “golden and silver age” collectors who sought early editions of comic classics like Spiderman.