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Columbus Hosts Comic Con

The state's largest comic convention, The Wizard World Ohio Comic Con, comes to the Greater Columbus Convention Center. The annual convention has grown into a three day event, expecting thousands of visitors. That's a long way from its humble beginnings in 1980. I asked Wizard World CEO John Macaluso what the Ohio Comic Con is all about. "You can come meet celebrities, or you can meet authors, creators. We have Stan Lee coming and we have Lou Ferigno, Michael Rooker. We have some fantastic artists coming," Macaluso says. One of the artists attending is Neal Adams. Adams broke new artistic ground in the early 70s with his stark realism and his socially conscious work in the Green Lantern/Green Arrow comics. "It's almost like every city in the United States and maybe in Canada is going to have a comic convention every year. These conventions have movie stars at them. This particular convention is going to have Norman Reedus from the Walking Dead. William Shatner is going to be there. It's just amazing the kinds of things that happen at conventions. It's the circus has come to town," Adams says. One thing noticeably absent from the Ohio Comic Con is a presence from the local comic community. I asked Columbus' Nix Comics publisher Ken Eppstein why he wasn't attending the Ohio Comic Con. "I actually do pretty well at those kinds of shows. It's just if you're talking hundreds of dollars hundreds of dollars for a table and you're selling comic books for three, four, five dollars a pop, the pricing is just not affordable for a small indie guy to go to something like Ohio Con," Eppstein says. Comic Con ticket prices start at $35. If that's not in your budget, a few blocks away is Comic Book Alley. It's part of the 6th annual Independent's Day Festival. It's a free event at Gay Street and Pearl Alley. "There's going to be a whole section dedicated to local comic creators. There'll be actually eight booths full of publishers, creators, and creative collectives I guess we'll call them," Eppstein says. Whether you interest is in the local or the national comic book scene, Neal Adams says, "comic books, even though there are big corporations involved it's a mom and pop business. It's really a community."