Building Character: East Bay Comic Con
Superheroes, villains, and bizarre creatures descend on Concord.
Comic Cons across the country draw costumed superfans of comic books and sci-fi and fantasy films.
Calling all comic book fans! This month, Concord’s Crowne Plaza hotel will welcome superhero aficionados, graphic novel readers, and proud, self-professed nerds for the sixth annual East Bay Comic Con.
Started as Super-Con in Hayward in 1979, the convention settled in Concord half a decade ago. The current event—which saw 3,000 visitors last year—hosts guests, panels, and more than 100 exhibitors each year, offering a range of memorabilia and collectibles, including back issues, “golden age” comics, original art, and more.
The 2020 convention features special guests such as Liberty Meadows comic strip and comic book author Frank Cho, legendary Marvel artist Art Adams, and former Disney product designer and character artist Mike Royer. Several local icons will be on hand as well, including John Stanley, the original host of KTVU TV 2’s Creature Features (as well as the creepy characters Vincent Van Dahl, Mr. Livingston, and Tangella from the current show), and DC and Marvel veteran Dan Brereton, the author of Giantkiller, a kaiju adventure set on Mount Diablo. (The mountain, San Ramon–raised Brereton tells Diablo, “was a somewhat mythic place for me growing up. Setting a giant monster invasion there made sense to me.”)
Comic Con is perhaps best known for its attendees’ elaborate costumes, and the East Bay incarnation is no different. Visitors of all ages are invited to dress as their favorite comic or fantasy alter egos and compete in a costume contest judged by celebrity artists.
“[We] nerds need our time away,” says Steve Wyatt, one of the convention’s promoters. “I’ve met so many people who are introverted and quiet, and at school they keep their heads down, but they come in here, and they’re in costume, and they become another person. … It’s an outlet you can’t have except for here.”
East Bay Comic Con takes place on February 9. eastbaycomiccon.com.