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Archive for Monday, May 19, 2008

Comic books celebrated at event

Convention draws around 400

Craig Klotz, of Lawrence, sells comics at his stand Sunday at the Free State FreeCon Comic Book and Toy Convention at the Douglas County 4-H Fairgrounds. Klotz organized the convention.

Craig Klotz, of Lawrence, sells comics at his stand Sunday at the Free State FreeCon Comic Book and Toy Convention at the Douglas County 4-H Fairgrounds. Klotz organized the convention.

May 19, 2008

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Karl Stratman, dressed as a version of Spider-Man, looks at a selection of Legos on Sunday during the Free State FreeCon Comic Book and Toy Convention at the Douglas County 4-H Fairgrounds.

Karl Stratman, dressed as a version of Spider-Man, looks at a selection of Legos on Sunday during the Free State FreeCon Comic Book and Toy Convention at the Douglas County 4-H Fairgrounds.

Treven Hall, 8, flips through a copy of Clockwork Girl on Sunday, May 18, 2008 while attending FreeCon at the Douglas County Fairgrounds.

Treven Hall, 8, flips through a copy of Clockwork Girl on Sunday, May 18, 2008 while attending FreeCon at the Douglas County Fairgrounds.

On the street

What is your favorite comic book?

Batman. It was the first comic I ever bought, and I’ve been a fan ever since.

More responses

The estimated $32.5 million that "Iron Man" pulled in during its first day at the box office earlier this month sent a clear indication that comic book culture is alive and well. Other films based on comic books, such as the upcoming "The Dark Knight," are further proof that the medium transcends its print editions.

But Sunday's Free State FreeCon Comic Book and Toy Convention at the Douglas County 4-H Fairgrounds was a celebration of the booklets that Craig Klotz has been collecting for the past 15 years.

Klotz, who organized the third annual event, read comic books up until he was 12 years old. It took a 20-year lull and the cancellation of his favorite television show, "Babylon 5," to reignite his interest and passion in comics.

"It's a great medium because it predates television and film," Klotz, 46, said. The stories and the unique storytelling devices they employ are more intriguing and have a greater longevity than their on-screen brethren, he said.

Attendance falls

About 15 vendors - mostly collectors, and both of Lawrence's comic book dealers, Astro Kitty and Quality Comics - sold new and vintage comics, figurines, posters and more. Klotz estimated attendance to be about 400, lower than in previous years. However, this year's convention took up only half of the fairgrounds' Building 21, whereas in years past the entire building was used. Klotz expects next year's convention to be larger.

Klotz began as a fan and a collector, but he soon began selling bits of his collection. He became involved in conventions "as an alternative to eBay."

Most of the merchandise for sale on Sunday came from people's personal collections.

"Everyone else is just a fan that has accumulated a half a lifetime worth of stuff," Klotz said.

Tyson Jensen, 32, displayed hundreds of comic books lugged from his home in Kansas City, Mo. He said most of the books he was trading were from the 1980s and 1990s.

"I've just got a lot of stuff that I need to make room for," Jensen said. "I just keep the ones I can't bear to leave."

He favorably compared the event to the recent Planet Comicon, a major show conducted in April in Overland Park.

He said he was selling more merchandise Sunday than at Planet Comicon, citing a more curious crowd.

Writers, artists attend

Several up-and-coming comic book writers and artists attended the convention, chatting with fans and drawing sketches for them.

Lawrence artist Tom Avery said the convention shows how far comic book culture has come.

"Ten or 15 years ago, if you said 'I do comics in Lawrence,' they'd look at you like you have antlers growing out of your head," said Avery, who has contributed to a compilation of Lawrence comic book artists called "Larrytown Laffs," and creates Web comics at his Web site, www.cheatingatsolitaire.net. His work ranges from political satire to an adaptation of Nathaniel Hawthorne's book "Rappaccini's Daughter."

"For people who don't know about comics, they might not be aware that it's more than just superheroes," he said.

Young people's interest

Klotz said he was surprised by the high number of teens and tweens who purchased comics, which included new series, such as an adaptation of The Lone Ranger, and even some editions of comics from the 1930s.

Lawrence resident Bill Church, 28, said he collects Transformers figurines, not comic books, but was still impressed by the merchandise for sale.

"There's a lot of older, hard-to-find stuff," he said, pointing out a rare Lego set of the Star Wars character Yoda.

"It's a pretty good show," Church observed. "I wish they had it in Lawrence more often."

Klotz is hoping to turn the success of the Free State FreeCon into a regional show.

Comments

Nikki May 5 years, 11 months ago

I was going to suggest the website also. Conveniently, I got a post card and email reminding me about it. Anyway. there was a little bit of xmen stuff. Last time there was more. Next year, there will probably be more again. I did get a Beast comic book for free since I missed it on free comic book day and I love Beast.And for the record, it's the husband that doesn't support the comic books here.

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tirednhungry2 5 years, 11 months ago

Sorry that you guys missed the show. As the promoter of the show, it is really tough to know where to spend the advertising dollars (which are few).Since the freecon is a free show, there are limits to the money available, that could be used to pay for more advertising. I'm sure we'll do a better job getting the word out next time. In the meantime you can always visit our website at http://www.kcfancon.com. We try to have shows about every two months or so. Our next one is June 22 in Overland Park. Check the website for details!

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Undrtkn 5 years, 11 months ago

yeah, more advertising would be good, I knew nothing about it, I would have gone too!!! They should also stay away from graduation weekends, thats a busy time for some. Oh well, back to trolling ebay for more stuff to collect dust!!

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Christine Pennewell Davis 5 years, 11 months ago

hey now yeti I am a wife and I am the one that would have went.

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TheYetiSpeaks 5 years, 11 months ago

I knew about it...but still couldn't go. :(....Darn wives.

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Robert bickers 5 years, 11 months ago

I'm with mommaeffortx2 on this one. If I'd known about it I would have gone.

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Christine Pennewell Davis 5 years, 11 months ago

hey punkrock did they have xmen collectibales?? and yes I know can't spell.

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Christine Pennewell Davis 5 years, 11 months ago

man maybe less people was due to not enough advertising I would have went but had no clue it was going on. Now I am bummed.Really bummed my day is ruined:(

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5 years, 11 months ago

The staff was really nice. I hope they bring it back, bigger and badder.

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Nikki May 5 years, 11 months ago

We went, it was fun. I know one vendor that didn't go because it was graduation weekend. Just a thought.

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