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Fanboys and girls gather at various cons

By Staff | May 28, 2014

Fans of comic books, anime, science fiction, role-playing, board games and more will gather around West Virginia this year at a quartet of cons.

Up first, on May 31, is the Tri-State Comic Con, aka Tricon, which continues to add star power to its guest list in its third year.

WWE legend Mick Foley, a best-selling author and writer of the “WWE Superstars” comic, will be at the Big Sandy Superstore Arena in downtown Huntington for the show, along with “Batgirl” writer Gail Simone, “Deadpool” and “Wolverine” writer Daniel Way, “Shi” creator Billy Tucci and Star Wars comic and novel author Jeremy Barlow. They will be joined by numerous independent comic creators.

“We love indie comic creators because we are indie comic creators,” said Tricon co-founder Eric Watkins. “It’s great that we can blend the world of large publishing and small press together like we have. Everyone walks away happy.”

The fans themselves add to the attraction, with numerous cosplayers, many of who compete in the show’s costume contest.

The West Virginia Pop Culture Convention will span Aug. 23-24 at the Mylan Park Expo Center in Morgantown this year.

The show covers a variety of pop culture media, with guests including Brian J.L. Glass, writer of the Harvey Award-winning comic “The Mice Templar;” “Fanboys vs. Zombies” artist Jerry Gaylord; “Supergirl” and “Firestorm” artist Jamal Igle; and cosplayer Knightmage. The show will also feature its biggest ever Magic: The Gathering tournament and a replica of the DeLorean from “Back to the Future.”

Back in Huntington Oct. 10-12 is Tsubasacon, a celebration of anime, manga, gaming and Japanese culture that has grown from a little over 400 guests in 2004 to more than 1,500 last year.

Cosplay is a major factor at this event, with a contest for craftsmanship and a cosplay masquerade where attendees take to the stage to entertain. Featured guests include video game and anime voice actors like Paul St. Peter (“Digimon,” “Kingdom Hearts”) and Lisle Wilkerson (“Tekken 4,” “Virtua Fighter 5”), as well as cosplayer Vedetta Marie and cosplay-influenced musical act Ein Streife.

CharCon returns for its ninth installment from Oct. 24-26 at the Charleston Civic Center. This con focuses on games – from board games to collectible cards and miniatures to tabletop and live-action role-playing. This year’s theme is superheroes.

“Our theme kind of drives costumes,” said convention director Travis Reynolds, adding that it’s a suggestion not a hard-and-fast rule, so cosplayers aren’t limited to only that genre. “People run superhero-themed games. We’ll have all sorts of stuff going on that’s superhero-themed.”

There are a variety of games scheduled, as well as a board game library provided by the Appalachian Gamers for people to try out and space to bring and play their own games. The NERO Southern West Virginia chapter will provide live demonstrations of their games, with a special children’s event slated for the final day of the convention.

Other attractions include a life-size Artemis Starship Bridge Simulator and special guest Larry Elmore, a renowned artist for role-playing game materials like Dungeons and Dragons.

“(He’s the) godfather of fantasy art,” Reynolds said. “He draws lots of cool dragons and hot chicks in armor.”