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Comic-Con comes to Bellingham

Northwest Washington's premier comic book convention returns

A few featured superheroes appear on Bellingham Comic-Con’s Instagram page. Fans still spar over DC and Marvel characters, but both remain staples of every Comic-Con. // Photo courtesy of @bellinghamcomicon on Instagram

Comic-Con is back!

The popular comic book and fantasy event occurred in Bellingham on Saturday, Oct. 15, bringing renowned comic book artists, writers and professionals to share their expertise with the public.

Residents of Bellingham as well as surrounding cities gathered at the Ferndale Events Center to celebrate art and fantasy. Fans were excited to return to the event, which was started in 2009 by Arlington resident Eric Burriss after a two-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We had a record turnout, and I heard from the retailers that fans were really hungry to get back to having events,” said Burriss, who is also an event coordinator. “Bellingham has a very diverse population as part of its makeup, so you see people from all lifestyles and backgrounds just here to have fun and participate.”

The event has occurred for multiple years in the Bellingham community, and is a great alternative for those who choose not to attend larger Comic-Con events like the ones held in San Diego or Seattle, Burriss said.

“At some shows you might stand in line a long time to talk to somebody,” Burriss said. “At my show you get a little more one-on-one time with the guests. It’s more of a laid back atmosphere.”

Comic book lovers got to meet with a variety of special guests, including artists who have illustrated for cult classics like Wonder Woman, Justice League, Adventures of Superman and Spider-Man. Comic-Con is a way for creators to interact with the public, and is very special to creators like Darrell Toland. A collector, graphic designer and comic book author, Toland has had booths in Seattle Comic-Con for many years.

“Having a booth was super fun and very different from attending,” Toland said. “It was enjoyable meeting people and getting positive feedback I wouldn’t get elsewhere. After all, these were my people.”

Members of the community had a chance to visit creators like Toland at booths and vendor locations around the venue to purchase items such as vintage comics, art, costume pieces and more.

“It’s the Costco for nerds,” Toland said. “It’s a one-stop-shop for art, art makers and fans. There’s always something cool to see.”

The event appealed to all ages, with older comics dating back to the 1930s contrasting with content from the last few years, including new renditions of fan favorites like Superman, Spider-Man and Batman. 

Along with being an experience for some good old nostalgia, attendees said Comic-Con is a great place to explore unfamiliar content, network or just make new friends.

“Comic-Con is an opportunity to explore things I don’t know about,” said annual attendee Ash Lukeris. “Thanks to events like Comic-Con, I was able to get a really good idea of what the community and creators are all about. It's a really good networking opportunity, because I’m interested in art and illustration myself and I get to see people in positions I’m working towards.”

Events like Comic-Con are significant to young people like Lukeris.

“When organized the right way, [events like these] can be a safe space for people to dive into their passion, whether that be cosplaying, collecting or just experiencing the arts,” Lukeris said. “It can help you process trauma or just relax from your day. It’s a way to safely address things you may not otherwise be able to conceptualize.”

Bellingham residents can expect to see Comic-Con return in October 2023.

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