Oak City Comicon's 2018 logo
Comicon seen as boone to downtown economy, having grown for the 5th straight year, bringing and estimated $25k to downtown businesses test
RALEIGH—Comic book fans, science-fiction geeks, steampunk enthusiasts and nerds of all stripes in the Triangle will have a busy two days this weekend as Raleigh hosts its eighth annual Oak City Comicon. Comicon is a fan-driven multimedia extravaganza that functions as part artist meet-and-greet, part academic conference, part costume party and part flea market. Most importantly, it is the convergence of a culture whose interests were once considered fringe. But nowadays—let’s face it—the nerds have won.
The myriad subcultures that grew from the tiny, cult-like book clubs and fanzines of the 1930s and ’40s have received unprecedented mainstream attention over the last 15 years. Marvel is now the wellspring of one of the most successful film franchises of the last 70 years, and the rise of the graphic novel has elevated sequential image storytelling to the status of literature. Some of the bigger names slated to give presentations and appear on panels include comedian and former Mad TV repertory player Orlando Jones, Eisner Award-winning cartoonist Art Baltazar, prizefighter and voice actor James “Buster” Douglas (yes, the same one who knocked out Mike Tyson in 1990). They are joined by Lovecraftian podcaster Cap Blackard, and legendary “Superman” writer and editor Louise Simonson (co-author of the “Death of Superman” storyline). Artist Alley will host booths where individual creators sign books, and take selfies and interact with fans.
True nerds will have plenty to keep them occupied. Workshops and panel discussions are as diverse as “Finding God in Comics,” “Queer Comics,” “How to Paint, Prime, and Seal,” and “Leather Working 101.” Cosplay (costume play) is encouraged and will be the main draw for many attendees, who will not find a socially acceptable occasion for their Princess Mononoke outfit otherwise. Festivities begin at 10 AM Saturday, March 17 and continue through Sunday afternoon. A two-day pass is priced at $40, with some additional VIP tickets available for select events.