NC Comicon History and Staff
The North Carolina Comicon started in March of 2009 in an outlet mall in Morrisville, N.C. “Our dealer room and our artist alley were separated by a Baby Gap, I think,” Gill chuckles.
In 2003, Gill opened and was running a successful chain of comic book stores he named Ultimate Comics. On a whim he decided to start his own comic book convention. Together with Event Director Eric Hoover the two men put the entire show together in under 30 days. Gill says he wanted to host a fun get-together focused on comic books and those who loved them. His longtime friend and legendary book creator, Tommy Lee Edwards, was one of the first guests to appear at the show.
“I could tell this show was going to be special,” Edwards says. “It reminded me of the creator-based conventions I loved when I was first getting started.”
On opening day in 2009, there were fans lined up at the door, wrapping around the building. The Ultimate crew was stunned as the attendees flooded the outlet mall in search of their favorite books, creators and toys. The show was a smashing success. Gill smiles, “As soon as it was over I said, ‘That was good, right? Let’s do another one.’”
And Edwards volunteered to help. “I was just doing it because I believed in the show. I wanted to help my friend put on the greatest comic book convention possible.”
Over the next few years, the NC Comicon grew into the huge scale, fan-favorite, multi-event convention it is today. Along the way Edwards became a co-owner as well as the show’s senior director, and though the show may have grown out of the outlet mall and into the Durham Convention Center, both men are intent on keeping their convention an intimate, local affair. In 2015 long-time guest and contributor to the show, Brockton McKinney, was added to the roster as creative director. “Brockton has been helping the NC Comicon behind the scenes for years, and with the recent growth of this fan-favorite show we were thrilled to offer him a permanent position with our convention.”
The 2015 convention was an unmitigated success with high profile guests Gerard Way (My Chemical Romance, Umbrella Academy) and Charlie Adlard (artist for the Walking Dead) joining forces with the NCC to raise over 16,000 dollars for Duke Children’s Hospital.
“NCC is a one-of-a-kind annual event with a unique approach geared specifically to the triangle, and it draws in the major creators of today. Hugely popular working professionals want to come to our show to meet fans and share their experiences because of the way NCC is run. It’s an all-inclusive event run by industry professionals who love comics in a way that mixes everything from unique education for aspiring creators to fan costume contests, charity events, signings, and fun for all ages, ” says Edwards.
Gill adds, “Our show is about comic books and the comic book culture, and always will be. We are a ‘creator-based’ show in the sense that we want to support those who create. That could be creating comic books, film, cosplay and everything in between that the comic book culture encompasses. And we fully support Durham and love helping the economy of the triangle area with our show. We live here; this is our backyard.”
This year marks the 7 year anniversary for the NC Comicon, and both men agree they’ve pulled out all the stops for the November 11-13, 2016 show. With new announcements every month leading up to the 2016 convention, fans are clamoring to find out what else is in store for this year’s show!
“It’s big stuff, believe me,” grins Gill. “But, I mean really it comes down to comic books. We’re as big of fans as anyone, and that’s the way we run our show.”
And judging by the massive response regarding this year’s convention, the fans wouldn’t have it any other way.
“I sell comics, and TLE makes ‘em. We’re honestly just two guys who love comic books.” -Alan Gill, creator and co-owner of the NC Comicon