Comic-Con attracts artists and fans

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Photo Credit: Nathan Wilson

Former Bakersfield College math instructor Mike Rios puts the final touches on his drawing of a superhero before coloring it at the Bakersfield Comic-Con on Nov. 6.

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Amber T. Troupe, Reporter
November 16, 2011
Filed under Features

People were wearing masks and costumes of their favorite comics and characters at the scene of the Bakersfield Comic-Con Comic and Fantasy Convention during its fourth and biggest year so far. Big names like Jane Wiedlin, the guitarist from the hit ‘80s girl group The Go-Go’s, as well as one of comics most well known illustrators, Bill Morrison, who helped create “The Simpsons” comic book, were present signing autographs and talking about comics.

Wiedlin was present at her very first comic con in Bakersfield, selling autographed pictures of herself in some of her movie and TV show roles as well as promoting her very own comic book series, titled “Lady Robotika,” which she co-wrote with Morrison starting about four years ago.

Wiedlin had become a part of this comic con because she had met Steve Wyatt, who is the organizer of the Bakersfield Comic-Con. The two became good friends, so when he offered her the chance to attend, she took it.

“I’m pretty good friends with Steve and I had no problem coming here and I had heard that Bill was coming as well, so I was definitely on board. I would also be able to promote my comic book,” Wiedlin stated.

Having been into writing since 1978, when the Go-Go’s first entered the music scene, Wiedlin began writing short stories in the ’90s and eventually created her very first comic.

“I preferred graphic novels first, but then when Bill came to me with an idea for a comic book about my life, I thought it would be interesting. It is based on me and I am abducted by aliens then I returned to earth and I become a cyborg and start saving the world,” said Wiedlin.

She is also working on turning the book into a movie with Morrison’s help and is also writing short stories for the Halloween issue of “The Simpsons” comic book titled “Treehouse of Horror XXII.” She definitely has plans to attend more comic cons.

Some people like Scott Zillner, who is a fan of comic books and promoter of the Power Morphicon, a Power Rangers convention, were attending for the fourth year in a row.

“I bring a little of both elements of comics and TV to the event, from rare and interesting stuff to new and popular. I’m able to communicate with the people here and I am a good friend of Steve Wyatt’s,” Zillner stated.

Zillner noticed that there were more kids present this time than in years before.

“The turnout was bigger this year in general, but there were a lot of kids present more than usual. I get a lot of the kids just asking questions about what they see on the table and mainly about Power Rangers action figures,” Zillner explained.

There were even illustrators present that were drawing on the spot images as requested by convention goers for $20 dollars per picture.

Tony Fleecs is a 10-year professional illustrator who has drawn characters like Harley Quinn and Sweet Hellfire from the Batman Television series and created “In My Lifetime” and was a part of the panel of illustrators.

“I’ve been attending here for three years because I know the man who runs the convention, Steve. I brought my little brother to get a chance to see what I do here and why I attend. I support the raffle for the event,” Fleecs said as he sketched an image for a customer.

Most of the people there were long time convention attendees, but there were a few people who didn’t even know that there was a comic con in Bakersfield, like Maylanie Mendez, 29, who had heard about the event at a later time.

“This is my first time attending or hearing about the event. I heard from a client of mine that had posters printed out. So I got here last minute,” Mendez said.

“I think it’s pretty awesome. I prefer anime, but it’s cool because we got to sit in at a panel. I didn’t know that Bakersfield even held a Comic Con. The illustrators were the most interesting spot for me.”

The conventions promoter Steven Wyatt was excited about the large turnout this year.

“This year’s event has 750 people in attendance which is largest this far and I think Jane Wiedlin as a celebrity guest helped. Each year it gets bigger. I’m glad because I don’t do this for money.

“I actually don’t make anything from it because the money collected from it, I donate it to the Bakersfield Food Bank. A couple days after it’s over, when I have the time, I just go over to Von’s and just donate $1000 or more. I don’t want anything from it,” Wyatt explained.

Wyatt just hopes that the event keeps gets bigger and bigger, so that fans of cartoons and comics can enjoy, and the community can benefit.

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