You don’t need to travel to San Diego or Chicago to visit a top-notch comic book convention. There’s one this weekend in Fort Wayne.
Whether you’ve jumped on the Marvel bandwagon thanks to summer blockbusters or you’re the lifetime collector looking for that rare comic book, the Appleseed Comic Con offers everything for the novice and the expert.
The Appleseed Comic Con runs 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday at the Grand Wayne Center, 120 W. Jefferson Blvd. Tickets for the event are $10 per person for one day or $15 per person for two days. Kids under 12 get in for free. Tickets can be purchased by visiting the Appleseed Comic Con website.
Zack Kruse, organizer of the comic con, said it’s a big year for the convention because it’s grown from one day to two days.
“Adding another day is a big milestone for the show. But, I also think this year has the best guest list so far. We are very excited to have some people back from last year and new artists joining us for the first time,” he said.
One artist is Peter Bagge, Kruse’s hero.
“Bagge is a comic book and artistic hero of mine. He is an indie comics icon producing some of the most influential indie comics work anywhere over the last 30 years. His work with the character Bradley has meant a lot to me personally and other fans. We’ve been able to watch that character grow over the years. It’s incredible to see. This is the culmination of something I’ve been dreaming about since I started doing conventions,” he said.
Bagge is a cartoonist whose best-known work includes the comics Hate and Neat Stuff. His work has been featured in publications such as MAD Magazine and the Weekly World News.
Bagge said the popularity of comic conventions has increased significantly over the years and he was surprised to be invited to one in Fort Wayne.
“I was dubious at first because Fort Wayne is not a big market but I saw that several artists who I know and like will be attending, so I said count me in. It sounds like it will draw people from a wide area, and I hope to meet and make new fans. I will bring more than 35 years of material, most of which is in print,” he said. “More than anything it’s become a real social event. It’s getting people out of their bedrooms and away from the computers. It’s great to mix and mingle with people with common interests.”
Another popular comic artists is Jim Steranko. Steranko’s most famous comic book work was with the 1960s superspy feature "Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D." in Marvel Comics’ Strange Tales.
“In the ’60s and ’70s, he changed the face of what comics are and what they could be. At the time, his cover designs and storytelling was unlike anything coming out at the time and he has not stopped since. This is his first time at a convention in Indiana, so this is not something you want to miss,” Kruse said.
Appleseed also involves many local and national comic retailers for folks on the hunt for a back issue or wanting to beef up their collection.
“We have four comic book stores here in Fort Wayne, and per capita, that’s more than most large cities have. So the convention is not just important because of the national guests, but because it’s for the comic community. We are not worried about celebrities or charging $75 for autographs. We are here to celebrate the community, the comics and the artists,” he said.