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Grab Your Capes

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These days, everyone is a comics nerd. The Dark Knight grossed more than $500 million. The Avengers franchise has raked in $2.4 billion. Did you catch that "b" there? The fact of the matter is that a love for caped superhumans has left the comic shop and moved firmly into the mainstream. Which is why it's about time Indianapolis got its own comic convention.

"It was weird, Indianapolis had this great convention center but no comics convention," says Stephen Solomon, a spokesperson for Action 3, the creators of Indy Comic Con. "There are definitely fans here, so we knew that we had an open market."

The Hoosier state's first comic convention is shaping up to be a can't-miss event. - INDIANA COMIC CON
  • Indiana Comic Con
  • The Hoosier state's first comic convention is shaping up to be a can't-miss event.

This is Indianapolis' first comic con, which is unusual for a city of this size. Downtown residents are already familiar with fans showing up to GenCon in costume, but cosplayers do not a comic con make. 2014 Indy Comic Con will serve a different, if similar, clientele.

"We don't look at GenCon as a competitor," Solomon says. "What they do is a lot different from what we do, but it shows that there is support here for that kind of culture in the community."

While GenCon attracts its fair share of cosplay superheroes, it's dedicated to tabletop games (think: Dungeons & Dragons). Instead of dice venders, you can expect the booths at Indy Comic Con to be filled with comics artists, many of them locally based.

Comics collectors will be given a huge opportunity, as the convention promises to be one of the largest collections of vintage comics in state history. If you want your issue of The Walking Dead signed by artist Arthur Suydam, he'll be there. Comic conventions are a celebration of an art form and a pastime, and the dedication to that craft is one of the major appeals.

David Perry will be bringing his comic Scratch to the convention as part of the Petty Torture collective. - DAVID PERRY
  • David Perry
  • David Perry will be bringing his comic Scratch to the convention as part of the Petty Torture collective.

"I think people will get a real appreciation of the hard work that goes into comics," says David Perry, a local comic artist who'll be manning a booth at the convention. "Disney and Pixar produce these movies once every few years, but many comics are telling interesting stories each month."

Perry is very excited about having a convention in Indianapolis. Comics fans who normally only get the opportunity to talk about the latest storylines at the local shop are going to get a chance to meet up not just with other fans, but with many of the people responsible for making these stories. As for the creators themselves, it's an incredible opportunity to network without the expense of traveling out of state.

"Last year, my girlfriend and I went to Comicspalooza in Houston," Perry says, "and it ended up costing us thousands of dollars. With Indy Comic Con, not only will it be less expensive, but we'll be able to get our work in front of local readers in the community and get to know them."

The appeal isn't just for comics though. Attendee Mike Cachuela helped design many of the scenes in The Incredibles and Toy Story as a storyboard artist. If you have a subscription to HBO, chances are you'll recognize Maisie Williams from Game of Thrones (she plays sword-wielding tomboy Arya Stark). You can even get your picture taken with her, though it'll run you $30.

The convention isn't just a place to get autographs; a full schedule of panels will help fans new and old learn something more about comics and their culture. On Saturday alone, you can attend a "Comics in the Classroom" discussion of minority portrayals in comics, or take a "Cosplay 101" class to learn how to make your own super suit.

Speaking of cosplay, costumed fans are expected in droves. There's going to be a costume contest Saturday night with a $250 grand prize. Feel free to come and snap some fun pictures; it's a big part of the comic con experience. Just remember your manners -- there's a real person in that Iron Man suit!

Being a specialized nerd is no problem to IndyProv's Bill Skaggs, who believes "you have to be specialized in something" to perform improv. - INDYPROV
  • IndyProv
  • Being a specialized nerd is no problem to IndyProv's Bill Skaggs, who believes "you have to be specialized in something" to perform improv.

Local comedy troupe IndyProv will be in attendance as well, to help loosen up newbies and give everyone some laughs. Bill Skaggs is a founder of the group, and for him, Comic Con was a no-brainer.

"We're all kind of nerds at heart," Skaggs explained. "So we were really excited when we heard the announcement. We've always wanted to do a convention."

Skaggs believes to do good improv, you have to be an expert on something. "We've got so many experts in things like horror movies and comics. Besides, improv lends itself to interactivity anyways so it's a perfect fit."

IndyProv will be performing its regular Six Sided Comedy on Friday, but will be unveiling its Doctor Who Prov for the first time on Saturday. The performers will wrap up the Con on Sunday with a version of the Scooby Doo Prov they perform annually on Halloween.

From artist sketches to sketch comedy, the first Indy Comic Con is hoping to bring out the love of superheroes in our city. Given the embrace GenCon has received, there's reason to believe Indy Comic Con might be here to stay. Even if you weren't a comic fan before, Perry thinks everyone can come from the convention with a new appreciation for the art.

"You know people are going to learn that the popular characters aren't the only ones," says Perry. "You get to looking at these comics, the old ones and the new, and you realize there is a superhero for everyone."

2014 Indiana Comic Con runs March 14-16. One-day tickets cost $20 at the gate, or you can pay $45 for a three-day pass. Or avoid the line altogether by paying a little more for tickets online. Kids under 12 get in free, so bring your little superhero with you.

Superheroes aren't the only characters at the convention, but there will be plenty. - INDIANA COMIC CON
  • Indiana Comic Con
  • Superheroes aren't the only characters at the convention, but there will be plenty.

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