Rise of Fallcon

From the Golden Age of early “Action Comics” to current issues of “The Walking Dead,” the upcoming comic book convention will represent it all.

Spencer Doar

What: Fallcon Comic Book Party

When: 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Saturday

Where: Minnesota State Fairgrounds in the Education Building, 1265 N. Snelling Ave., St. Paul

Cost: $8

Age: All ages

 

The Minnesota Fairgrounds will host the most daring and muscular of subjects as the Midwest Comic Book Association throws its 24th annual Fallcon Comic Book Party this weekend.

The shenanigans will feature 150 guests of all areas of the comic field; regional dealers; and penciled, inked and colored wares in 70,000-square feet for one day only.

Artists will be there to meet and greet, sketch, hawk their wares and generally hang out in the company of like-minded enthusiasts — a rare occurrence for most of them.

“We’re isolated as creators,” horror illustrator Andrew Ritchie said. “I worked with someone for three years and never met them.”

Collaborating across the globe via phone and email is increasingly common.

 “The biggest problem I have — in the old days I competed with people across the country, now it’s an international business,” Gordon Purcell, a guest of the convention, said. “That’s just the way it goes. A friend of mine wrote a story with a football player and of course the artist was drawing soccer when he meant American football.”

That illustrates just part of an ongoing shift in comic books, an industry characterized by ebbing and flowing success, recently buoyed by the glut of comic-based movies.

“Some of the mega-shows, like San Diego and New York —there’s a tremendous amount of people and they’re more like pop-culture cons,” said Dan Jurgens, another convention guest and local artist.

This convention is more conventional: It really stars the process and the product that is the core of the comic book industry. With TV shows, action figures and movies, there are currently so many other media manifestations of the comic industry.

“Comics have probably been the healthiest of all publishing [sectors],” Purcell said. “I mean, like Newsweek, aren’t they giving them away?”

The industry is ever-evolving, though slow to acclimate to the digital age. The nature of comics is their tangibility; a digital copy loses appeal to collectors and many readers alike.

“Merchandise stars in some conventions, where this is comic-focused,” Ritchie said. “[At some of those] you have 10,000 people walking through just to get a T-shirt.”

Regardless of shifts, the convention will provide collectors and fans with the opportunity to get a little nutty: Costumes are encouraged.

“Every now and again,
 Purcell said, “you find that oddball who wants the Batcave in their basement.”