By Cailean Mcleod
Bellingham’s seventh annual ComiCon attracted so many people that the line reached to the back side of the Ferndale Events Center.
Whatcom County denizens in full regalia costume dress came out of the woodwork on Saturday, Oct., 22 to line up and get their wristband for the event.
Several babies were dressed as the BB-8 droid from “Star Wars,” one 10-year-old was dressed as Gordon Freeman from “Half-Life,” and a handful of people wore Pikachu hats.
And that was just from standing in line.
When the doors at the events center opened, everyone in their costume, their kids and their handbags in tow immediately began convening around the stands to buy merchandise, meet famous figures, and check out the local artists.
Brad Lamoent, a front desk volunteer for the Con, said he estimated that a total of 500 attended.
Eric Burris, event organizer for the Bellingham Comic Con, said, “It was well attended and there is a great buzz in the room. Everyone is really enjoying themselves. It’s just a great family event.”
One of the big names attending the Con this year was Randy Emberlin, who has worked at Marvel Studios for 20 years and has helped illustrate a total of 83 Spider-man comic books.
Emberlin expressed both enthusiasm and gratitude for coming once again to the Con.
“I love coming and (Burris) treats us like king and queen, I do love coming here again,” Emberlin said.
Some of the featured illustrators and writers who attended included David Hahn, who illustrated “Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane” and “Marvel Adventures,” Bob Smith, who worked with both DC Comics and Archie Comics, and Georgia Ball, who wrote several comics for Disney and for other titles such as “Evil Dead 2,” “My Little Pony,” and “Transformers.”
“We’re here to promote some of our comics and our Evil Dead 2 board game which just got funded on Kickstarter,” said J.D. Boucher, market coordinator for Space Goat Productions for which Georgia Ball writes, “We have no booth here but Bellingham Comiccon is always a great Con to visit and we’re happy to be here.”
In addition, local artists also came to the con to showcase their own artwork and comics. Sarah Williams and Quentin Shaw from QEW Publishing held a booth aiming to do just that.
“All of our stuff is from indie artists local to the region,” said Williams.
Wendi Chen, freelance conceptual and visual development artist, said, “I like this Con, I did it last year, too. I like how friendly everyone is. It’s actually busy all the time, which translates into good sales.”
Chen’s booth contained a myriad of paintings of popular television characters from “Steven Universe,” “Spirited Away,” “Dragon Ball,” “Scott Pilgrim vs. The World,” and “Kung Fu Panda.”
“I have some of the more colorful stuff here so it’s pretty memorable,” said Chen.
One of the stalls along the wall featured an art collection called “Contrary Robot!” consisting of watercolor robots juxtaposed alongside nature, interacting with people, and against city and forest backgrounds.
Artist Jay Larson is the creator of the little robot pictures.
“I like the idea of robots going against their original program, so that’s where the ‘contrary’ idea came from,” Larson said.
Greg Smith, co-creator and co-Writer of “Junior Braves of the Apocalypse,” has his own booth dedicated to his book.
“We want to reach out to the fans and the community and make connections with new readers because it’s a book for kids but also a book for adults so talking to our audience helps get them interested,” Smith said.
“I had a couple of kids and people who read the book before tell me what they liked and what they want to see in the future,” Smith said.
“Junior Braves of the Apocalypse,” is about a group of kids surviving a zombie invasion in their hometown.
“This is my first time here, but everything about this Con so far is amazing. The turnout is great and the way it is run and staffed is amazing,” Smith said.
The Bellingham ComiCon not only included booths and art, but at 1 p.m. a costume contest was held.
“To be fair, the range of costumes, from people just starting out all the way to people who compete professionally, is what makes it a whole lot of fun,” said costume contest coordinator Aja Wildbird, who was one of the costume judges for the contest.
Wildbird said that the contestants were judged on their costume, Best Cosplay, and Best Group Cosplay.
“The Con gets bigger and better. This year’s Con was no exception; it was a very well-oiled machine,” she said.