From teenage gun-wielding turtles to the chance to rub shoulders with anime superstars, there’s something for every geeks, nerds, and otakus at Abilene’s inaugural Comic Con.
The event is Saturday and Sunday at the Abilene Convention Center
The goal? To defeat the most powerful enemy of all.
Participants will mingle with the cast and voiceovers of some of their favorite anime shows, movies and productions, and there will be plenty of chances to part with some hard-earned loot for autographs, photos, and artwork. art and more.
This is the first event in Abilene.
There had been hope of bringing her here earlier, but COVID-19 ended those plans, said Myrisa Rutter, public relations coordinator for convention company ConLive.
Now that he’s here, the goal, she said, is to “bring him back for years to come.”
âWe love to participate, we love to bring together a community of other people who have the same interests as us,â said Rutter.
McClain McGuire, among those who set up the booths, said he worked in the comic book industry, doing lettering and designing for more than 30 titles.
âAbilene is, in my opinion, an untapped market,â said McGuire, who is also an artist. “So, as soon as I was asked to come to this show, I immediately jumped on it.”
What he enjoys most is interacting with the fans, he said.
âThis is where my reward comes in,â McGuire said.
Throughout the two days, famous guests will have panels, with opportunities for questions and answers.
In the program :
âº Kaiji Tang, the voice of Satoru Gojo, and Anne Yatco, the voice of Nobara Kugisak, from the popular anime “Jujustu Kaisen”.
âº Brittney Karbowski, who plays Black Star in “Soul Eater” and Wendy Marvel in “Fairy Tail”.
âº Jason Douglas, who plays Tobias on the hugely popular AMC show “The Walking Dead”, and is the voice actor for Beerus’ character in the equally popular animated universe “Dragon Ball”.
âº Kenn Scott, the costumed interpreter of the sai-spinning hero Raphael in “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze” from 1991.
âº Karan Ashley, who played the Yellow Ranger on Mighty Morphin Power Rangers.
Other activities include K-Pop dance lessons from the Key City Dance Company, a cosplay contest judged by guests Alecta Arcana and Katie Blake, and even a full pizza party and photo ops with the “Odessa Ninja Turtles” , a group that adapts to represent reptiles trained in martial arts.
Dozens of artist and exhibitor stands will be on site.
âWe actually had to make more room for salespeople,â Rutter said.
Artist Brian Clegg, who describes himself as the “Master of Villains”, specializes in the elaborate and finely detailed drawings of enemies from comics and movies.
Clegg has a 9-5 job, but also has a passion for drawing portraits of powerful figures, including Dracula, a “mirror” version wearing a goatee from “Star Trek” Mr. Spock and the multi-mouthed Xenomorph of the “Alien Series”.
Clegg said his chosen subjects help him stand out from other artists.
In a sea of ââtraditional four-color heroes, and only a select few villains, part of the fun is “doing characters that you usually wouldn’t see other artists do,” he said.
Whether it’s a scene from “Halloween III: Season of the Witch” or a portrait of Spider-Man’s nemesis, Dr. Otto Octavius, aka Dr. Octopus, it brings customers to its stand, he said.
Helping his family bring in what appeared to be the value of a toy store full of plastic and vinyl figures, Leonor Collectibles’ Ed Trevino said he made his own hobby into a profession.
âI started collecting when I was younger, then I decided to go ahead and open a business,â he said. “…” We have modern stuff and we have vintage stuff in our inventory. It’s horror, it’s anime, anything pop culture related. “
With characters ranging from professional wrestlers and anime heroes to horror icons like the Chucky killer doll, Trevino said interacting with fans and answering questions is what makes conventions fun.
There will be a gift-wrapping service available at the show for those looking for holiday gifts, as well as a chance to meet a cheerful old elf of the non-Tolkienesque variety, Santa Claus.
Something for everyone
Attracting guests to an event like Abilene’s requires networking, Rutter said.
âWe like to lean into the nostalgic aspects a bit,â she said.
But the anime, much of the two-day offerings, saw a “huge surge,” she said, becoming even more popular during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Those who are locked up or largely stuck at home have had plenty of time to catch up or find new favorite shows, Rutter said.
“That’s why some of our guests (…) are from ‘Jujutsu Kaisen’, which has exploded over the last year,” she said.
The anime, based on a popular Japanese manga series, follows the story of Yuji Itadori, a freshman jujutsu wizard at Tokyo Jujutsu High.
With his classmates Megumi Fushiguro and Nobara Kugisaki by his side, he exorcises demonic “curses” while attempting to honor his grandfather’s legacy.
The show received the “Anime of the Year” award at the 2021 Crunchyroll Anime Awards.
Rutter said the more support and interest this first event receives, the more future incarnations may seek to attract specific guests, including bigger names.
âWe tell people if you want to ask someone to just send a message (via Facebook),â she said.
The more people who ask for a particular guest, “the more likely we can get that person” to a future convention, Rutter said.
Brian Bethel covers city and county government and general news for Abilene Reporter-News. If you value local news, you can support local journalists with a digital subscription to ReporterNews.com.
If you are going to
What: Abilene Comic Con
âº Saturday, VIP access 9:30 a.m. Doors open 10 a.m. Closure of the vendors’ hall 6 p.m.
âºSunday, VIP access 10:30 a.m. Doors open 11 a.m. Closure of the vendors’ hall at 4 p.m., show closes at 5 p.m.
Or: Abilene Convention Center, 1100 North Sixth St.
Cost: Tickets online, www.abilenecomicon.com, or at the door for an additional price. Starting at $ 20 for the Saturday pass, $ 15 for a Sunday pass. $ 30 for the weekend pass. $ 85 for the VIP pass.