GALLIPOLIS — Comic book aficionados, gamers and fantasy lovers had the opportunity to explore what local artists and collectors had up for grabs at the Gallipolis Comics and Creators Convention over the weekend.
“There’s so many people here that are into this kind of thing, you have to drive an hour away to have this kind of atmosphere and to share this kind of atmosphere with people that like the same things as you,” said Jessica Thompson, owner of The Rogue Crusade. “That’s really important for nerdy kids, you know? I think it’s a great thing to bring the nerd community together that you just don’t really have nearby.”
The convention had around 20 tables filled with books, toys and crafts from different artists and creators who saw a good turnout.
“It went well yesterday. Attendance was steady,” said TJ Johnston, organizer.
Johnston and a group of friends — Justin Fortune, Shawn Langley and Seth Argabright – decided to host the convention in 2019 while discussing the possibility of doing something for the community.
Thompson previously operated her business on Court Street but closed before the pandemic hit to travel to more conventions and shows.
“We’re kind of a fantasy/gaming/nerd group. We have a whole lot of handmade stuff that has kind of that theme,” Thompson said. “This is my second time doing this here and my third time doing this with these organizers. It was a good opportunity to do something in my small town.”
Vendors at the event included crocheted goods, various art, books, unique collectables and a Star Wars Speeder for attendees to check out.
The life-sized speeder from the movie “Return of the Jedi” included a replica gun and allowed those interested to “ride” for photo opportunities.
“The prop technologists at Ohio University built it and it’s kind of just one of our photo ops that we have for our convention which is in Athens in April,” said Alyse Carter-Schultz, vendor. “So, we’re good friends with the guys that run this and we like to support each other so they asked us to bring it up to do photo ops and stuff. You can climb up and sit on it and shoot blasters.”
Thompson said it was quick to see during the 2019 convention (2020 was cancelled due to COVID-19) that this kind of event is needed to show people it is okay to enjoy different things.
“We had so many people that were just like, ‘I had no idea it was okay to be into this kind of thing around here.’ And everybody was just excited and it was kind of, I don’t know, a nerdy awakening almost,” Thompson said.
Along with the convention, the organizers held a raffle for one of Langley’s art pieces, with all proceeds going to Square One, a local domestic violence and homeless shelter serving Gallia, Meigs and Jackson counties.
“Shop small, support artists, buy books from small authors,” Thompson said.
The event was held at the Colony theater in downtown Gallipolis.
© 2021 Ohio Valley Publishing, all rights reserved.
Brittany Hively is a staff writer for Ohio Valley Publishing.