The Con Is On: Tyler's first comic con event drawing big response

Published on Thursday, 17 October 2013 22:36 - Written by By Travis Webb twebb@tylerpaper.com

Unlike Superman, not every mild-mannered journalist has the power of flight or can sling around town from webs like Spider-Man.

Unfortunately, neither can your average comic fan, which means that in years past, attending a major comic convention meant buying a pricey plane ticket, or at the least, a long drive, but that’s about to change — Tyler is getting its first-ever comic convention.

Many of the largest comic con style events, such as the San Francisco Comic Con and Seattle’s Penny Arcade Expo (or PAX Prime) are on the west coast and others, such as GenCon in Michigan and Atlanta’s DragonCon are still hours and hours away.

While Dallas has its own Comic Con, and there are several similar events in Houston, driving even those relatively short distances still means shelling out the expense of a hotel for the length of the convention.

For gamers, geeks and comic fans of all stripes here in East Texas that’s changing.

Longtime event organizer George Jones, who works to make Taste of Tyler, live action murder mysteries and a host of other events happen across town, is bringing the Rose City its first comic con — The Tyler Comic Con/Sci Fi Convention, slated for Oct. 26 and 27.

The genesis for this event is simple enough — Jones himself is a comic fan.

“I’ve been in entertainment most of my life. I’ve written books, I’ve directed and done tours. But I was thinking, ‘What in the world would I do if I could do anything? What do I like?’” he said.

Set in the Quality Inn Conference Center, 2843 W Northwest Loop 323, Jones said the hotel has been extremely accommodating — something that’s going to be important, as Jones said he’s received a tremendous response. He said he expects thousands of attendees, perhaps as many as 5,000.

“There’s a whole market that’s not being tapped into here,” he said.

That may well be true — the event already has grown to include dozens of aspects: A haunted house, zombie walk, martial arts display, appearances by comic arts including Sam De La Rosa or “Venom” fame, Manga artists and Funimation studio voice actors and of course, a costume contest.

The event will also have some opportunities for fans of table-top games — a rapidly growing hobby in Tyler — including a chance to meet with legendary game designer and creator of the “Gamma World” role-playing game, James Ward.

In fact, Jones said the response to the event has been so large that he’s had to organize events outside the hotel to keep up.

Events also are scheduled at the Hampton Inn, Liberty Hall, the Goodman-LeGrand House and Museum and Legends Bar and Grill.

Other businesses have gotten involved as well, such as Ground Zero comics and hobby store Geek World.

“I’m really proud of the people I’ve got helping me with this,” Jones said.

Tickets for the event still are available and are $20 per day, or $30 for both Saturday and Sunday. Tickets, and additional information, including an itinerary are available athttp://bit.ly/14xyNb4 and several locations across East Texas, including Ground Zero Comics, Geek World, Rocket Fizz and RC Comics in Kilgore.