Tim Pratt, email@example.com
11:06 a.m. EDT, October 20, 2014
There were heroes and villains, archrivals and sidekicks.
But the dozens of comic book, fantasy and science-fiction characters wandering through the Roger “Pip” Moyer Recreation Center in Annapolis on Sunday weren't at war.
Comic Con was in town. The event featured dozens of comic book vendors and illustrators, catering to more than 500 people. Many of them — from young children to middle-aged men and women — were in costume. There were workshops, drawing activities and a guest speaker.
A costume contest took place, too, featuring about three dozen costume-clad contestants.
At the heart of the event was a desire to congregate with other “like-minded people,” said 24-year-old Tyler Hoover of Arbutus, who dressed up as Ultimate Spider-Man and wowed onlookers with a series of acrobatic moves.
“It's basically a celebration of comics and geek culture,” said organizer Ben Penrod, president of Awesome Conventions.
Rows of comic book vendors stretched out in the rec center gymnasium. Worn, commonly found issues sold for as little as 50 cents. Others went for as much as $2,000, depending on the condition and desirability. Old issues that debuted characters were in high demand.
Comics that have been transformed into movies also were in demand. “If it's related to the movies, it's getting really big, really fast,” said vendor Harry Hopkins of Fredericksburg, Va.
There was money to be made, but Hopkins said the business he runs with his wife, Mariane, serves another purpose: “We're in it to get the next generation reading,” he said.
Among other vendors was Kevin Hock of Severn, who recently completed work on his first comic book, “Fantasy Killer.” It took him two months to write and artist Leigh Jeffery of Canada to illustrate. Now he's preparing for a release and signing at Third Eye Comics in Annapolis on Wednesday but had copies for sale Sunday at Comic Con.
The exposure is important, he said, as he launches the first of the four-part series. “I just wanted to get out here and make as much noise as I can,” he said.
While patrons browsed through comics, artwork, toys and other items in one room, costume-clad visitors competed for best costume in another.
Phil Mallon, of Glen Burnie, won the contest with his homemade Captain America costume. His son, Hayden, dressed up as Marvel character Star-Lord, recently featured in the movie “Guardians of the Galaxy.”
The pair posed for pictures with several other characters throughout the afternoon. “It's just fun to get out and do something different,” Mallon said.
“I didn't care if I won,” Hayden chimed in. “I just wanted to have fun.”
The panel of three judges picked the winner based on the quality and accuracy of the costume, effort, enthusiasm and crowd reaction, among other factors, said judge Arnold T. Blumberg. “Everything about his came together,” Blumberg said.
Jessica Quinn, of Cambridge, on the Eastern Shore, was one of a number of people who dressed up as Harley Quinn, a fictional villain in the DC Universe. She said she often dresses up to travel to such conventions.
“I like seeing the different costumes. I like meeting new people,” she said. “It's just a lot of fun.”
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