Comic book convention hits Minn.

FallCon gives local artists a chance to network with fans and colleagues.

Jack Sokol dressed as his own character creation Dr. Morganic Saturday morning for the Fall comic con. Sokol’s character is from a genre known as ‘Steam Punk’ which explores alternate histories in the real world with comic characters, an example would be The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.

Erin Westover

Jack Sokol dressed as his own character creation Dr. Morganic Saturday morning for the Fall comic con. Sokol’s character is from a genre known as ‘Steam Punk’ which explores alternate histories in the real world with comic characters, an example would be The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.

Adam Daniels

While Ethan Tarshish was telling a group of six about his comic book, a man dressed as Iron Man walked by and the groupâÄôs attention immediately wandered from what Tarshish had to say.

“It happens,” Tarshish said while shrugging his shoulders.

Tarshish, a University of Minnesota alumnus, and about 200 other comic book artists were networking and selling their products at the 23rd annual FallCon comic book convention Saturday at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds.

With a yearly turnout of about 5,000, FallCon, hosted by the Midwest Comic Book Association, is the largest comic book convention in the upper Midwest.

Deborah Eck, a senior laboratory services coordinator in the UniversityâÄôs epidemiology department, attended dressed in a custom-made Mrs. Incredible costume and said she welcomed reactions from onlookers.

“The University is my academic job, and this is my social job,” she said. Eck is a member of Super Heroes United Minnesota, a nonprofit organization made up of superhero and villain costumers who appear at charity events, parades and conventions.

Tarshish and co-creator Kelly Brown were there to promote their series “Woe is Oz,” a re-telling of L. Frank BaumâÄôs the Wizard of Oz.

They said a distinct quality of FallCon is that is gives younger and amateur talent the forum to share innovative ideas.

“ThereâÄôs a lot of new and cool ideas floating around,” Tarshish said. “WeâÄôre all looking to tell new stories.”

College of Design doctoral student Ursula HustedâÄôs “Drawing on Yourself” is one of those stories.

“[Drawing on Yourself] is about hipsters and bad tattoos in Uptown,” Husted said. “I kind of love hipsters. I might be one, so itâÄôs not unkind toward that demographic. That might be a little hypocritical.”

The graphic novel also deals with love between majors in the classics, unrequited obsessions and Don Quixote. “I was inspired by working on my Ph.D. and listening to conversations,” Husted said. “Also, [itâÄôs] me kind of laughing at myself.”

Tarshish said storytelling like his and HustedâÄôs is a growing trend in the comics.

“ItâÄôs not just about superheroes anymore. Stories have to be accessible, relatable and have to be marketable.”