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Monday, Jan. 19, 2015


First Louisiana Comic Con takes Bossier City by storm


Characters and fans will gather from all over the south for the first-ever Louisiana Comic Con.

The family-friendly event will bring together a diverse group of guests, vendors, artists and fan groups 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Feb. 21 at the Bossier Civic Center. While comic book enthusiasts will certainly want to attend, the day-long event promises to appeal to a much wider audience.

“Comic Con is for anyone with an interest in pop culture,” Greg Hanks, owner of AVC Conventions, said. “Families. Those who are interested in learning what a comic convention is. Comic Con is such a loose, somewhat generic term, but it’s one that people recognize. Of course, we will have comic artists. However, there will be so much more there.”

An impressive array of celebrity guests will be featured at Comic Con, including Theodus Crane (AMC’s “The Walking Dead”), Scott Schwartz (“A Christmas Story,” “The Toy”), pro wrestling legend Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake, and Anime star Trina Nishimura (“Attack on Titan,” “Desert Punk”). Comic book fans will enjoy meeting famed illustrators like Sam de la Rosa (“Spider-Man,” “Iron Man,” “Captain America”), Brian Steward (“Fangoria”), Kody Chamberlain (“30 Days of Night,” “Punks: The Comic,” “Sweets”), Rob Guillory (Image Comics’ “CHEW”) and more. In addition to these special guests, the convention will feature a variety of vendors selling everything from comic books and original artwork to fan-oriented clothing, costumes and accessories.

One of the special experiences at any Comic Con is dressing up in the costumes of popular characters, commonly known as cosplay. It can be surreal to see Captain America, Daenerys Strongborn from “Game of Thrones,” Sailor Moon or Jack Sparrow walking the convention floor.

“We will have lots of costumes,” Hanks said. “We will cap the day off with a costume contest.” Hanks encourages everyone to come in costume as their favorite character, but those not into cosplay themselves can have fun taking some really unique selfies. Rules for contest can be found on the convention website, but the two most important rules listed: 1. Have fun. 2. Don’t be a jerk.

“Star Wars” fans in particular will be excited about two groups scheduled to appear. Dagobah Base is part of the Rebel Legion, a “Star Wars” based costuming fan club. The Rebel Legion’s members create and wear costumes of the hero characters from the “Star Wars” saga. Degobah Base serves the states of Louisiana and Mississippi and regularly appear at sci-fi conventions and charity events. While Degobah Base represents the good guys, the dark side will also be represented: The Bast Alpha Garrison is the Louisiana Division of the 501st Legion, which is known as the world’s definitive Imperial costuming organization. The Bast Alpha Garrison works with Children’s Hospital of New Orleans and many other local and national charities. Attendees can expect to find Jedis and Storm Troopers mingling with convention guests.

“Supernatural” enthusiasts will want to check out Bela, a 1967 Chevrolet Impala used on the hit show, and the only one that resides in the United States; all the other models are in Canada where the show is filmed.

“As a fan of ‘Supernatural,’ I can’t wait to see Bela again,” Hanks said. “I met her and her owner Stefany in Dallas at a ‘Supernatural’ convention and can’t wait to see the car one more time. It’s a beauty.”

Local fans of comic books and collectibles are no doubt familiar with Excalibur Comics, cards and games and their popular YouTube talk show, “Talking Comics.”

Owner Chris Zepeda confirmed that Excalibur will be part of the fun at Comic Con.

“The guys from ‘Talking Comics,’ Randy and Chris, will sign autographs and talk comics and maybe even film stuff for the show. If you have ever wanted the chance to be internet famous, you should come on out.”

Zepeda is excited that Shreveport-Bossier City is getting its own Comic Con because he sees it as a chance for people to connect with others who share their interests.

“There are a lot of fans of a lot of different genres here,” Zepeda said. “Comic Con provides a bigger venue for people to find each other, so that people who enjoy the same things they do can connect. There are ‘Doctor Who’ fans around here, for example, but many don’t have a chance to meet other ‘Doctor Who’ fans who live in the same area.”

Hanks sees Comic Con as a fun-for-the-whole-family affair.

“It sounds cliche, but we just want everyone to have a good time,” Hanks said. “We want families to come out together and maybe have the parents learn something new or be exposed to a type of show or comic they didn’t know anything about. We also want parents to be able to show their kids the things or people that make them geek out.”

Zepeda agrees this is a great family outing.

“Comic Cons are fun for everybody in the family; they’re not just for the serious comic book hunters anymore. There is a broad spectrum of stuff now.”

“After the success of our show in Jackson, Mississippi, and all the fun we had, we started looking for other cities to host an event,” Hanks said. “We wanted to stay close and wondered how Shreveport-Bossier City would work. After traveling over to visit and getting an absolutely phenomenal response from those we talked to, we decided it would be cool to host the first event of this type in the area.”

Hanks pointed out an advantage of attending Louisiana Comic Con over some of the larger events: the price.

“We are at only $10 a ticket, and while you can’t really expect the enormous magnitude of say a Wizard World or San Diego Comic Con, at the same time, Dragon Con was started in a basement, so you have to start somewhere,” Hanks said. “We definitely want to keep getting bigger and better.”

Children ages 10 and younger get in free with a paid admission. For even more information about the guests, vendors and events scheduled, and to purchase tickets, go to www.louisianacomiccon.com.


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