All it takes is a cursory look at the listings for your local multiplex to know that pop culture is comic book crazy. The top grossing movies so far this year are “Avengers: Endgame” and “Captain Marvel,” and on track to rival them is “Spider-Man: Far from Home,” which opened July 2.
So it’s no surprise that Atlanta has two comic conventions, where aficionados can immerse themselves in their favorite fantasy worlds, commune with like-minded comrades, rub shoulders with artists and take home prized new additions to their comic book and action figure collections.
The veteran is the Atlanta Comic Convention. Started in 1994 by Wes Pillander, it’s a one-day event held four times a year, and its 99th show is July 28 at the Atlanta Marriott Northeast / Emory Area.
Primarily a marketplace for collectors, the Atlanta Comic Convention hosts scores of vendors selling comic books and toys, as well as comic artists and creators, who autograph collectibles for free.
The guest artist this year is Robert E. Brown, aka REB, from Dalton, who has more than 50 comic credits to his resume, including Spider-man and the Avengers.
Considering the popularity of comic book culture, Pillander thinks there is plenty of room for multiple conventions in Atlanta, he just wishes the new kid on the block, Atlanta Comic Con, had picked a different name. He’s been inundated with phone calls from vendors and service providers who have confused the two shows.
“If it was called Atlanta Comic Spectacular, I would probably attend it,” Pillander said.
Now in its second year, Atlanta Comic Con is owned and produced by Imaginarium, a Florida-based company that holds comic conventions in six cities, including San Francisco, Detroit and Tampa, Florida. The Atlanta show is July 12-14.
“I see them as two very different events,” said Solomon about the similarly named shows. “The Atlanta Comic Convention is a hotel show for one day, and they don’t bring in big guest artists. We’re three days at the Georgia World Congress Center, and we bring in major artists.”
Among the celebrities on hand this year to sign autographs and mug for Instagram pics ($15-$80, cash only) are “Batman Forever” star Val Kilmer, “The Office” costar Creed Bratton, Ryan Hurst from “Remember the Titans” and “The Walking Dead,” and Bonnie Wright from the Harry Potter films.
But it’s the comic artists that Solomon, who books the convention’s guests, is most excited about.
“For me, I first got into conventions as a comics collector. I wasn’t a celebrity hound, so I’m always excited about the artists like Ron Lin, who worked on Infinity War, the comic that ‘Avengers Endgame’ is based off of,” he said.
Other Atlanta Comic Con events include movie screenings, live shows, video and board game competitions, a cosplay contest and a slew of panels on a variety of topics, including how-to sessions on podcasting and self-made comic books.
Gas lighting 101: Learn how to defend yourself from toxic fandoms. This interactive panel discussion examines real world examples of trolls trying to shutdown marginalized voices through manipulation, as well as tactics for avoiding or controlling the conversation. 1 p.m. Friday.
‘An Avengers Line: A Musical Parody.’ “A Chorus Line” meets Marvel super heroes and villains in this musical send-up that pits eager new super heroes against one another as they audition their crime fighting skills to land a spot on Mr. Fury’s new super team. Presented by Rainbow Sun Productions. 10:30 p.m. Friday
Cineprov. Like watching cheesy movies with your funniest, snarkiest friend only better, Cineprov turns bad movies into a night of comedy. If you like “Mystery Science Theater 3000,” you’ll love Cineprov. 10 p.m. Friday.
Hogwarts Bingo. Harry Potter fans will want to compete for magical prizes at this PG-13 rated, themed bingo game. 4 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. Sunday. Meanwhile, future Quidditch champions can check out Pimp my Broom, a workshop in broom making and decorating. 3 p.m. Saturday.
Cosplay Contest. Compete for cash prizes up to $500 in the popular cosplay competition. Categories include TV/movies, comics, video games, anime, Star Wars and kids. 1:30 p.m. Saturday.
‘Rocky Horror Picture Show.’ Sing, dance, throw things and scream lines at the screen in this interactive presentation of the schlock classic led by shadow casters Lips Down on Dixie, which repeats the chaos every Friday night at midnight at the Plaza Theater. 10:30 p.m. Saturday.
Supergirl’s 60th anniversary. She debuted in 1959, but Supergirl never grows old — she just gets more empowered. This panel looks at how Supergirl has evolved from Superman’s secret weapon to the leading lady in her own comic books and movies. Noon Sunday.
Atlanta Comic Con. July 12-14. Noon-midnight Friday, 10 a.m.-midnight Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday. $60-$30, free for children 12 and younger. Georgia World Congress Center, 285 Andrew Young International Blvd., Atlanta. www.atlantacomiccon.com
Atlanta Comic Convention.11 a.m.-5 p.m. July 28. $5. Atlanta Marriott Northeast / Emory Area, 2000 Century Blvd., Atlanta. www.atlantacomicconvention.com
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