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Comic Convention Brings Superheroes, Super Fans

  • June Soh

Comic conventions, which originally showcased comic books, cartoons, science fiction and related popular arts, have grown into pop culture events in major U.S. cities. Recently one such convention was held in Washington and drew thousands of visitors. Some comic fans take the fun seriously.

Acting like superheroes or super-villains, or just showing off, comic fans dressed up as their favorite characters are having a good time at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center.

Some enjoy the fantasy of the comic convention.

Edward Nigma says he and his wife came from "Gotham City," the fictional home of Batman.

Many take the fun seriously. It took more than four months for Dale Harvey to build this costume of a video game character.

“I get enjoyment out of creating it, building it with my friends, just having a good time seeing people’s reaction to it," said Harvey. "The most awesome thing for me is watching kids, young and old, have a good time seeing a character come to life.”

The event also offers an opportunity to make new friends.

Organizers say the "Awesome Con DC" event drew more than 5,000 visitors for two days. Ben Penrod is the event coordinator.

“These types of conventions are huge right now," said Penrod. "They have them in every city. This is only a fraction of the size of San Diego every year, or even the one in Baltimore.”

Penrod says mega hit superhero films based on comic books have helped fuel the conventions’ popularity.

“You had to read comic books to know The Avengers," he said. "Now The Avengers is the third highest-grossing film of all time. And people, everybody knows about it.”

The core of Awesome Con DC is about comics, but it embraces movies, TV and video games.

Special events include independent filmmakers’ screenings and discussions.

Celebrity guests like Phil LaMarr, who is best known for his voice acting in animated films, and Ernie Hudson, who was in the blockbuster movie Ghostbusters, help attract fans.

Fans also get to learn how to draw characters from some famous comic creators.

The costume contest is a big part of the fun.

And the impromptu duel between costumed characters is a bit of surprise entertainment for the spectators. The organizers and comic fans agree that Awesome Con DC will be an annual event and will grow bigger as other such conventions have in other cities.