Comic Con began in 1970 in San Diego, California as the Golden State Comic Book Convention and has since gone on to become an annual international event.
A shorted version of “comic convention,” comic cons celebrate all things pop culture – from movies to video games to comic books and everything in between. Attendees often dress as their favorite characters, complete with lavish costumes and live action role play.
After being canceled in 2020 and 2021, Comic Con finally made it to Springfield, Massachusetts and was met by an eager audience. Connecting Point’s Brian Sullivan was there and brings us the story.
Hear what having a local Comic Con means to attendees in this digital exclusive segment.
Read the full transcript:
Zydalis Bauer, Connecting Point: Comic-con began in 1970 in San Diego, California, as the Golden State Comic Book Convention, and has since gone on to become an annual international event.
It’s where pop culture from movies to video games, comic books and all points in between is celebrated, often times with lavish costumes and live action role play.
After being canceled in 2020 and 2021, Comic-Con finally made it to Springfield, Massachusetts, and was met by an eager audience. Connecting Points Brian Sullivan was there and brings us the story.
Brian Sullivan, Connecting Point: It’s 10 a.m. on Saturday, July 23rd, outside the MassMutual Center in downtown Springfield. And this is the scene, is where the unusual is the usual in height, age, gender and ethnic backgrounds are not determining factors in who can get involved.
This is the line for Comic-Con. And while this event has been around since the early 1970s, the city at first was enjoying it for the first time on this hot midsummer’s day.
From the look of things, it appears to be something a lot of people did not want to miss.
Christopher Coffelt, Owner: Being the first big event that Springfield has had, like this Comic-Con, it definitely is generating a lot of buzz.
There’s a lot of going on. The expectation was pretty high and I think they hit the ball out of the park.
Brian Sullivan: Visually, the convention delivered on what anyone may have expected – wild costumes, comic books, figurines, plush toys, anime art and everything in between.
Basically, if there was a subgenre that came out within the past hundred years that had a fan base, chances are it was here. It was the kind of event where, if anyone expected to find Iron Man rocking out to a band playing Iron Man, they wouldn’t be disappointed.
One surprise, however, was the number of charitable organizations involved. We found a couple of them on the perimeter of the room.
Rick Sitte, Droid Builder: All of the work that we’re doing with the droids we’ve built, the costumes that we’ve done, all of them are done through the talent and the ability of all of the people that are part of the group and no kits involved.
It’s not something that we’re getting from Disney or Lucasfilm’s, but yet everything we do, they put their thumb of approval on to make sure that we are doing things in a way that’s appropriate to support the genre and support the charities.
Tim Wylie, Founder: It’s all about the sex appeal. Yeah, everybody loves a Ghostbuster. No, it’s the movies – yeah, I grew up with the movies, and there’s been a resurgence, especially now since Ghostbusters Afterlife came out.
It’s a whole new generation getting into it, and you know, we can really use that to our advantage to help raise money for charity. Yeah, and that’s what it’s all about.
Brian Sullivan, Connecting Point: As an outsider, another surprise was just how much of a family friendly event this was. And that applies not only to those in attendance, but also those behind the vending tables – where we found this father and son comic book creating team from the Boston area. The son does the illustrating, the dad does the writing, and the response to this collaborative effort has been incredible.
Nile Hennick, Illustrator: Our comics are about cops and robbers in Boston. The main characters are bad cop and good cop. Except the thing is, the bad cop is a little bit good and good cop is a little bit bad.
We – we have a book series where there’s no – where everybody’s a protagonist and the antagonist at the same time.
Calvin Hennick, Writer: I just think it’s fun to, you know, have something specific to do with your kids. You know, I have a daughter, too, and she likes softball and we play catch, but, this is his thing. So, I wanted to support, you know, both his talents and then just as really hard work at it.
Brian Sullivan, Connecting Point: While the festivities continued on inside around noontime, we thought we’d take a look outside to see if the lines had thinned out any. Quite the opposite, actually. Not only were they still there 2 hours after opening, but they had increased in size.
I didn’t do an official headcount, but this line actually starts all the way at Main Street comes up State Street, and here we are on Dwight Street. So, somewhere between 500 and 800 people still waiting to get in and inside there, roughly 2000 or so people. But I guess this is what happens for a lot of people that waited two years for this day to come.
Just feeling the cool breeze from the air conditioned convention center upon entering the building may have made the long wait worth it. Now, there may have been some concerns earlier over capacity, but in the end, all ticket holders made it inside.
As for the vendors, yes, the goal is to sell their wares and maybe even make a profit. But, at the core of the experience, is a good time for everyone involved.
Calvin Hennick, Writer: It’s mostly about having fun, making connections and finding new readers and just sort of I like the reaction that he gets when I tell — people don’t know that he’s the artist necessarily when they come up to the table, they’re just kind of looking at the books and then I say, hey, this is my 11 year old son. He does all the art. And then they up and, you know, it’s really fun to see him get that reaction because kids that play sports have a million ways, you know, get trophies and have applause and things like that. But – but this is sort of his arena to really shine.
Christopher Coffelt, Owner: If I make my money back, I’m cool with that. If I meet some cool people, that’s even better. Having fun, getting my name out there, having, you know, maybe somebody discover me as an artist would be a win. But I’ll take what I can get.