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Boston celebrates Comic-Con


Annie Ropeik from The Daily Free Press covers the convention:

Artists, dealers, enthusiasts and superheroes of all ages and levels of experience gathered Saturday and Sunday for Boston Comic-Con at the Back Bay Events Center.

About 3,000 people attended the two-day convention, where New England merchants sold thousands of single-issue comics and other merchandise and guest artists drew commissioned sketches and signed autographs.

Co-promoter Nick Kanieff said near the end of the festival Sunday that it had gone “great.”

“It’s really busy,” he said. “All the fans are happy, the artists are happy, the vendors are happy, and if they’re happy, I’m happy.”

Though the convention is smaller than others nationwide such as San Diego Comic-Con or New York’s Big Apple Con, a subset of Wizard Con that took place last week, many participants said this helps the event be more personal.

“Boston Comic-Con has been the best to me of all the cons I’ve done,” guest artist Peter Vinton, who does freelance work, said.

He said he attended Big Apple Con, a three-day event, last week.

“A lot of celebrities were there, which kind of takes away from the artist,” Vinton said. “But we’ve all got to make a living.”

He said he had been drawing and selling character sketches all weekend.

“They’ve been the most popular for the little kids and the older little kids, meaning those who are 30 and older,” he said.

Massachusetts College of Art and Design sophomore Amanda Myers said she came at the suggestion of a friend. Her purchases included vintage issues of the comic versions of Ren & Stimpy and the Kool-Aid Man.

“I talked to some of the people at the venues and they were nice,” she said. “I don’t know a lot of comics, but they were nice enough to tell me what ones I might be interested in and I got to flip through a few.”

Ted VanLiew, owner of Superworld Comics in Holden, sold a few issues to investors and collectors for hundreds of dollars, though his most expensive issues were priced above $1000.

“By and large, it’s people with disposable income, professionals mostly, because what we have is the high-end stuff,” he said.

The majority of the attendees were men in their 30s and 40s, though some children attended with parents. VanLiew said though kids are not his target audience, he appreciates seeing them.

“I like talking to the kids and encouraging them,” he said. “If they’re with [their] Dad, I get excited to see the next generation.”

Though many said the intimate atmosphere has its perks, Kanieff said the convention is due to double in size at a new venue next year near the waterfront and will feature “huge superstars” such as Jim Lee, a co-creator of the 1991 “Uncanny X-Men” spinoff titled “X-Men,” the first issue of which is the best-selling comic of all time.

Bethany Fong, a University of Massachusetts-Amherst 2008 alumna, said she was looking forward to the expansion, though the headcount seemed to have increased this year.

“With enough coverage, that will attract more people and more costumes and more attendance and just participation in general,” she said.