GREENSBORO — In his first twenty minutes at last weekend’s Comic Book City Con comic convention, Paul Arnold found himself stopping every five feet.
Not to dive into the dozens of long-boxes of comics for sale. Not to drop quarters in one of the super-hero themed arcade games from local Lost Ark Video Games.
He couldn’t stop pausing to get pictures of the costumes.
Supermen. Wonder Women. Spider-Men and Captains America. More Jokers, Poison Ivys and Harley Quinns than you can shake a Batarang at.
“It’s really amazing,” said Arnold, 39. “This is my first convention. I never went to the big Charlotte or New York or San Diego conventions. But when I saw they were going to do one right in downtown Greensboro, I had to come.”
Arnold was one of more than 1,500 comic fans who came out for the convention, put on by Acme Comics at The Empire Room on South Elm Street.
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“Hopefully it’s the beginning of a tradition,” said Stephen Mayer, assistant manager at Acme. “We’ve had really great response from people — the people coming and the creators.”
The long list of guest comics creators included Avengers writer Jonathan Hickman and Daredevil and Hulk writer Mark Waid and artists Nick Pitarra, Chrissie Zullo and Kelly Yates.
It also included a lot of Greensboro character, from tables manned by members of the Greensboro Roller Derby to a sponsorship by Fincastle’s Diner, where servers dressed in costume and a special menu included hero-themed burgers.
“We were packed for lunch,” said Matt Hand, kitchen manager at Fincastle’s. “There was a line out the door and at all the tables, you were seeing Batman villains.”
The weekend’s best outfits took center stage at a costume contest, one of a number of events and panels that drew large crowds. One of the best received was the Geek Girl Rising panel, at which female comics professionals, journalists and musicians discussed overcoming sexism in comics and geek culture.
“I really wanted to create a convention I’d want to go to,” said Mayer. “A lot of the time at a convention, I’d go to a panel if I was tired and wanted to take a nap. I wanted us to have panels everyone would want to go to. I wanted people to be excited.”
By the convention’s wrap up on Sunday, it was clear Mayer and the Acme crew had succeeded.
“I’m not only hoping it’s going to happen every year,” said fan Rachel Alden, 21. “I’m kind of sad I’m going to have to wait a year for another one.”
Contact Joe Killian at (336) 373-7023, and follow @Joekillian