James Dufendach, an editor at local comic book publisher PLB Comics, had often talked with his fellow editors about hosting a Comic Con in Ocean City. Now, thanks to their passion and dedication to the world of comics, anime and other “geeky goods,” Ocean City’s first-ever Comic Con is taking the town on Dec. 9.
Bringing the first event of its kind to OC
For those not so in-the-know, a Comic Con is generally a convention for comic books and comic book lovers, often with an emphasis on other things that might be considered “geek culture.” Anime, cosplay (dressing up as specific characters in pop culture), video games and movies and TV shows popular within the subculture also tend to be involved.
“This is a very underserved area for these kinds of events,” Dufendach, the convention’s coordinator, said. “I put the call out–who’d be interested? And would you come?–And got a resounding ‘yes.'”
Dufendach and his PLB crew have previously been involved with the Eastern Shore Fan Con, a similar convention in Princess Anne.
“The last time we hosted it we had 1,000 people down in Princess Anne,” he said. “To have 1,000 people in one spot, specifically for nerdy stuff– that show is a little more anime focused–we were very proud of that.”
Ocean City Comic Con will similarly involve anime, with screenings happening all day, but OCCC will also be heavily focused on cosplay, independent artists and vendors, and the panels that will be held throughout the day. Star Wars costuming club 501st Legion will be there, Dufendach said, as well as a replica of the Dr. Who TARDIS and special guest Greg LaRocque, a comic artist best known for his work on The Flash and Legion of Super-Heroes.
The inaugural event is locals-oriented, although anyone is welcome to come, and taking place during Ocean City’s off-season in order to provide an affordable admission fee and low hotel rates for visitors.
“I’m excited to see the faces of people who have never been to anything like this before and just be excited,” Dufendach said. “To see people excited about something that I’m so passionate about, it’s really uplifting and makes everything you do worth it.”
The details you need to know
The convention will take place at the Grand Hotel & Spa on Saturday, Dec. 9 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
On hosting the premiere convention of its kind in Ocean City, the Grand Hotel’s Director of Sales Kimberly Wootteon said, “why not? It was a great opportunity to bring something new to Ocean City and even though it’d never been hosted before, it was worth the risk on our end to be part of something new.”
Admission to the convention is $7 and kids nine and younger are free with a paying adult. Attendees can get $1 off their admission for showing up in costume, in addition to $1 off for bringing a non-perishable food item for Diakonia.
Artists, vendors and guests: Comic and toy vendors, local artists and cosplayers will be tabling and panel-ing all day. Sponsors include Corsets & Cogs, Delaware Anime Society, Phoenix Rising Games and Comics, Pizza Party Printing and Dufendach’s independent comic publisher PLB Comics.
Panels: Panels will be running all day, from 10:20 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Topics include “Introduction to Foam Cosplay Armor,” “Cosplay is for everyone!,” “Corsets & Cosplay,” award-winning horror web series “Or So the Story Goes,” “CSI Gotham City” and “Be Your Own Superhero.”
“Two that I think are really cool–we’re going to have cosplayer Kati Coe do a panel on foam cosplay armor for budding cosplayers and for people who don’t know costuming at all, that’s a very good panel to check out,” Dufendach said.
“On the opposite end, we’re doing one that’s called CSI Gotham City. That’s John French who’s an author and also a CSI for the Baltimore PD. He’s going to be doing a panel on why CSI in comics and comic books and movies are always wrong, breaking down the real vs. what you see in the media, which is a super cool panel.”
Anime: There will be anime screenings running all day in the Grand’s Sunrise Ballroom, provided by the Delaware Anime Society.
Cosplay: Anyone who arrives in costume will get $1 off their admission, as well as the chance to participate in a cosplay contest (one category for those 12 years old and under, another category for those 13+). Local veteran cosplayers Kati Coe, Kevin D, Jesse Jarvis, Toxic Girl Cosplay and Carter Cosplay will be in attendance either judging the cosplay contests, panel-ing, tabling or generally hanging around, having a good time.
More information about Ocean City Comic Con is available on their website.