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With the popularity of comic-book inspired movies, TV shows, and video gaming at an all-time high, fans of every age have come out of the woodwork to share in their love of pop-culture. And while the Internet and social media offer digital means of connection, even they can’t beat the real-world interaction unique to comic book conventions – or comicons, as their devoted attendees call them. The conventions, which feature celebrity guests alongside renown comic book writers and artists as well as comic and toy vendors, attract millions of attendees all over the nation each year. And now thanks to the locally-run NC Comicon, that experience is coming to Raleigh.
This weekend, the Raleigh Convention Center will be home to NC Comicon: Oak City. The two-day event boasts major celebrity guests including hip-hop icon Darryl “DMC” McDaniels of RUN-DMC fame, and the creators from IDW Publishing, whose properties includes such favorites as G.I. Joe, Transformers, My Little Pony, and Ghostbusters. Joining them will be hundreds of local and international comic book writers, artists, publishers, and vendors packing a total of more than 100,000 square feet of space for fans to explore.
Another staple of the comicon experience you’ll find at the show: Cosplay. Short for costume-play, it’s the practice of fans dressing up as their favorite characters, often in elaborate hand-crafted costumes they’ve made themselves. Cosplayers come from far and wide to attend the convention, showing off their hard work and costuming skills, taking photographs with fans and fellow characters, and participating in the Cosplay Showcase – a fashion show of sorts with prizes awarded to the best costumes in a multitude of categories.
NC Comicon Media Director Cliff Bumgardner says from the books on the shelves to the costumes on stage, it’s all part of an inclusive community that’s proud to call Raleigh home. “I grew up in this city and having a show like this in my hometown has always been something of a dream,” says Bumgardner. “To have a place where fans, creators, collectors – everybody can come together to learn and have fun and celebrate this culture we love is incredible… It doesn’t matter who you are, how old you are, whether you’ve read comics your entire life or have never seen one – you are welcome at this show, you will feel at home at this show, and you’ll have the time of your life.”
It all kicks off this Saturday, March 18th at 10am, when the doors will open for a weekend of events including panels and workshops on a wide range of topics from comics to cosplay, filmmaking, writing, and more, as well as film screenings and the Energon Bash – an ‘80s cartoon-inspired dance party featuring special guest DJ’s and a dazzling light show.
More details can be found at nccomicon.com, where you can also purchase tickets and VIP passes and download the convention’s free mobile app, putting access to the entire show in the palm of your hand.