Local Heroes: Flying High at New World Comic-Con 5

It seems, as of late, Oklahoma has had a pretty bad run of pop-culture conventions; either they’re too cheap, too last-minute or too unsure of exactly what it is that they’re supposed to be doing. But, only five years in and still going strong, the New World Comic-Con is beating the somewhat low odds like they were a d-list super-villain.

Come to think of it, I guess that kind of makes the NWCC practically the Okie equivalent of the San Diego Comic-Con, minus the big name movies and parade of celebrities and so on.

And really, who needs all that junk anyway? The New World Comic-Con is definitely more of a fan celebration and, mostly thanks to the still-hot Marvel movies, even your mother—yeah, the same bitch who threw away your comics in the 80s, dubbing them “Satanic trash”—now owns and wears an Avengers shirt, making the nouveau OKC tradition a true family-friendly affair.

Superheroes—some in costume and others with quiet dignity—filled the Oklahoma Expo Hall this past Saturday for a psionic-blast of four-color capitalism through fandom, featuring everything from Dr. Who to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles; for me, however, I was just happy that, for once, it was a local con that actually had rows and row of used comics to purchase, including the beloved dollar bins where you’re guaranteed to find at least one or two treasures.

Upon entering, it was somewhat amazing how much the NWCC has grown in the past five years, from a small get-together of like-minded pals to an outright actual event that people look forward to; I was immediately greeted by a giant-sized Pikachu that, while I know absolutely nothing about Pokémon or their viscera, still find him absolutely adorable, voiced by Ryan Reynolds or not.

Making my way past the requisite craft-ware of handmade towels and pillowcases, I came to my first comic dealer, with a stack of oversized Marvels and DC Treasury Editions from the 70s that are usually worth a look —the secular Christmas with the Superheroes was always a yuletide fave. A little further up were a couple of tables absolutely stacked with priced-to-move graphic novels; a few I found tempting, but nothing from my immediate wish list.

As Godzilla fought King Kong and a fur-clumped Chewbacca took pictures with the attention-starved, I noticed how the cosplay was more impressive this year; aside from the teeming masses of makeup-smeared Jokers and Harley Quinns, the homemade Green Lanterns, Captain Americas and Illuminati TV-Heads were quite spectacular, stepping out of the comic shop and into the spotlight for one day, nearing studio-perfection.

A friend who I used to go to high school with came by and asked if I wanted to play Magic: The Gathering, but I politely declined, having never played before and unwilling to be the guy who is learning at forty. I will admit however, that, on the walk home, I did become a little bit morose that I missed out on the opportunity to experience the trading card deviltry and fully experience the New World Comic-Con from a different angle.

As I was about to walk out the main doors, however, I stopped at one last booth, one that I had seemingly missed; looking through their long-box of dollar comics, that’s when I found a much-vaunted copy of The Punisher Meets Archie, which I quickly snapped up. I looked over my left shoulder and standing kind of close to me, some dude dressed as a classic Spider-Man gave me a thumbs-up.

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