(Photo courtesy of Wizard World)

(Photo courtesy of Wizard World)

Status Check: Comics in the Capital Region

Back Article Apr 4, 2016 By Robin Epley

Last year we reported on the growing comic convention scene in the Capital Region (“Level Up” by Bill Romanelli, May 2015). Check out what the comic world has been up to since then:

In March 2016, Sac-Con welcomed more than 5,000 attendees to their convention at the McClellan Conference Center. Kay Groves, vice chair of customer and media relations for SacAnime/Sac-Con, says that attendance has increased nearly 50 percent since the event moved to the larger space in 2015. (In fact, the event’s cosplay competition grew so much in size from the start of Sac-Con in 1986 that about 10 years ago it split off to form its own convention: SacAnime.) More than 350 vendors filled the convention hall to sell everything from costumes to signatures and beyond.

Groves attributes the ever-increasing numbers at conventions to a growing interest in the DC and Marvel comic universes, with the recent spate of superhero movies that have been released. But fandom isn’t anything new. “We’ve always been here,” Groves says. “It’s just now getting noticed.”

Sac-Con still holds four comic convention events every year: The next will be October 17-19, also at McClellan Conference Center, and they recently added a program in May called “SacAnime Gives Back” to support the community they serve by donating all proceeds to local charities. Check out more at sacanimegivesback.com.

Meanwhile, the other big show in town — Wizard World Comic Con — will open its doors again in June to several thousand comic fans and a host of well-known comic actors, including Evan Peters of FX’s “American Horror Story” and William Shatner.

Jerry Milani, who does public relations for Wizard World, says this year the event will include more programming panels, space on the show floor and vendors. He says the event will also start featuring a rotating list of guest celebrities each year to appeal to a wide variety of fandoms.​

“The region has a strong fan-base for our kind of pop culture show,” Milani says. “This marks the third year in Sacramento, and we found out right away, that first year, that people all across the area were excited to attend, and last year reinforced that.”

And for more information about locally-produced comic books, visit comstocksmag.com to check out  “Squad Goals,” a web-exclusive about local comic book writer Eben Burgoon and his team of Capital Region comic artists.