by: SKYLER McCLESKY/Staff Writer
Cosplay, comic books, and Red Ranger, oh my! The first ever Hub City Comic Con was held Aug. 29 at the Lubbock Civic Center. It included more than 40 booths, Call of Duty and Smash Brothers tournaments, celebrity guests, and cosplay contests.
One of the many booths was Toymatric.com. The owner, Gary Harmon, travels to about 25 shows a year, including the San Diego Comic Con. This was his first time traveling to Lubbock, Texas. Toymatric is mostly known for their t-shirts, but has recently starting adding exclusive Funko Veinal Pops to their website. Harmon said his best t-shirt seller this year is anything Dead Pool and big-faced Star Wars characters.
Harmon is one of the many booth owners who commuted. However, there where some locals. Robert Mora owns Star Comics, the original local comic book shop that has been in operation since 1977. Mora is passionate about what he does and could not be more excited about a Comic Con finally coming to Lubbock.
“Comic books are a growing and exciting industry,” said Mora, “we are glad to have people come out and experience what we have been trying to share with the public for decades.”
For those interested in horror, up-and-coming author, Tim Miller, was also present at the Comic Con. He was signing and selling books, as well as talking about his recent best seller, “Hacked.” “Hacked” is about a guy who is an Internet stalker who is talking to girls online. When they start to reject him, he stalks, kidnaps, and tortures them.
Miller is from San Antonio, and Lubbock is the farthest he has traveled for a Comic Con. But says he looks forward to coming back when he has a chance. Through out the weekend, there was a Call of Duty and Super Smash Brothers station where people of all ages could compete to win prizes. Call of Duty players could pay a $5 entry fee, with the winner receiving an Xbox Live or Playstation network monthly subscription. The person finishing in second place won a $15 store gift card. For the more advanced players, they had separate levels to enter. Level one was a $20 entry fee, and the winners received cash prizes, with $75 for first place and $40 for second place. Level two was a $10 entry, with the winner receiving an Xbox One or Playstation controller. The person finishing second won $35 store credit. Super Smash Brothers for the Wii U was a $5 entry, with double elimination and cash prizes depending on the entree.
Guest stars at the Hub City Comic Con included: Austin St. John, who played Jason, the Red Ranger, Nakia Burrise, who played Tanya Sloan, the Yellow Ranger; David J. Fielding (voice of Zordon from Mighty Morphin); Clive Revill (voice of Emperor Palpatin, “Star Wars V Empire Strikes Back”), Tina Nishimorn (anime voice actress, Nadie from Desert Punk); Sean Schemmel (voice of Guko from Dragon Ball Z); and Catherine Sutherland (Kimberly Heart, the Pink Ranger).
St. John said this was his first time in Lubbock. After arriving in Lubbock on Friday, he had not seen much of the city besides the airport and his hotel. However, he said that he had the best steak from local steak house Triple J’s Brewery. St. John was born in Roswell, New Mexico. He had his first major role in 1993, as Jason the Red Ranger. “Mighty Morphin Power Ranger” was a success and quickly became one the highest rated children’s television programs.
After 22 years of being out of the entertainment industry, St. John is now working on a doomsday post apocalyptic action movie. “My character is an ex-military specialist leading an uninfected group from town to town, trying to stay ahead of the wide spreading disease and corrupt government,” St. John said when describing his new movie, “Survival’s End.” He added that they hope to be done with filming this year. For more information on this movie, check out St. John’s Facebook or Twitter page.
A big part, and, for some people, the most exciting part of comic cons, is the cosplay. There was a Hub Cities first-ever cosplay Contest. Cosplay is defined as the practice of dressing up as a character from a movie, book, or video game. Taylor Matlock, Joe Henson, and Michael Lewis, dressed up as a group from the popular video game series, Borderlands. They portrayed Tiny Tina, Krieg the Psycho, and Scooter. The group traveled from Midland to partake in the cosplay contest. They said this was their second comic con but their first time doing cosplay.
“We will definitely continue to dress up and travel to comic cons,” said Matlock. “We are excited to figure out different costumes to try out.”
As the night went on, first place in the cosplay Contest went to Senja Collins, who portrayed the Evil Queen from popular ABC TV show, “Once Upon a Time.” Second place went to a group dressed up as the Payday Crew, from the video game series Payday. Third place went to Skyler Stevens for his elaborate portal of Fiddlesticks from the PC game League of Legends.
Cosplay is not as easy as it sounds either. There are a few rules to follow, such as cosplay must be at least 40 percent hand made, and all prop weapons must be non-working and peace bonded. Also, all costumes must be self-contained.
The Comic Con is not only for diehard comic book fans, but is fun for all audiences. SilvrFire, the company that puts on the traveling Comic Cons, is trying to erase the idea that people have to travel to Dallas or Austin for a good comic con, but create a local one that fans can be proud of. They are hoping to make this an annual event and look forward to next year.