VA Comicon saw smaller turnout than in previous years

Attendees and vendors in costume participated in the 2015 VA ComiCon at the Richmond Internation Raceway. Costumes varied widely in genre and fandom. Photo by Taylor Hankins
Attendees and vendors in costume participated in the 2015 VA ComiCon at the Richmond Internation Raceway. Costumes varied widely in genre and fandom. Photo by Taylor Hankins
Attendees and vendors in costume participated in the 2015 VA ComiCon at the Richmond Internation Raceway. Costumes varied widely in genre and fandom. Photo by Taylor Hankins

Fewer cosplayers and fandom enthusiasts than usual clamored into the Richmond Raceway for the VA Comicon the weekend of Nov. 21.

The convention has new competition — this summer, the Wizard World ComiCon attracted thousands of enthusiasts from around the state to the Greater Richmond Convention Center. Typical cosplayers won’t attend multiple conventions, as the ticket prices can cost hundreds of dollars or more.

Vendor and Wolverine cosplayer Cameron King said that the lacking turnout may have also been due to the way tickets were sold this year.

“They could have sold two-day tickets instead of just a pass a day,” King said. “It made the con not as big. I’m a vendor, so it was kind of shocking.”

At times, the aisles would be completely devoid of people except for vendors. This scene was a far cry from the bright, lively images that one would usually associate with the idea of comicon.

Those who did attend ComiCon, though, had the rare opportunity to meet and get signatures from key figures from multiple fandoms.

Among the famous presenters was the creator of the classic ’80s movie “Back to the Future,” Bob Gale. Also at the events were three models of the DeLorean car, which was an iconic symbol from the film. The “Back to the Future” memorabilia was very fitting for this year’s comic con considering the fact that 2015 was the year that Marty McFly travels to in the movie.

Other guests included actors Trini Nishimursa, who voices Mikasa on the anime “Attack on Titan”; Marina Sirtis of “Star Trek: The Next Generation”; and Walter Jones, who played the black Power Ranger on “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers.” Artists of the “Spider-Man” Sunday strip and “Steven Universe” were also in attendance.

On the final day of Comicon, cosplayers could enter into a costume contest for the chance to win cash money. The categories were best adult comic book character, best non-comic book character and best group cosplay. Winners received $200 and a trophy.

The event also included the option for attendees to bring their comic books and have them certified and graded by representatives from CBCS Comics. The process involved verifying the comic book’s authenticity and quality, which are crucial pieces of information to have especially when trying to resell the comic.

The next fan convention coming to Virginia will be Star City Anime Con in Roanoke on the weekend of Feb. 5. Tickets are being sold as weekend passes, rather than for individual days.

Article by: Taylor Knight, Contributing Writer

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