Comic-con returns to Bakersfield

Chris Miller, Reporter

The eighth annual Bakersfield Comic-con was a hit for both vendors and attendees alike.

The comic-con was held on  Nov. 22, at the Kern County Fairgrounds and was organized by Steven Wyatt.

The special guests attending this con were cartoon/comic artists Aidan Casserly, Dan Parsons, Ashleymarie Sey Lively, Drew Johnson, Stephanie Lesniak, Eric Mengel, Mike Hampton, Dennis Culver, Lonnie Millsap, Ken “Lazy Bones” Thomas, Nate Watson, Derek Fridolfs, Mike Kazaleh, Keenan Marshall Keller, Tom Neely, Tone Rodriguez, Mike Vosburg, Sergio Aragones, Chris Marrinan, and Stan Sakai, as well as radio personality Dale Berry, sideshow show performer George “The Giant” McArthur, two-time WWE Women’s Championship winner Lisa Marie Varon, and “Land of The Lost” cast members Wesley Eure, Kathy Coleman, and Phil Paley.

Coleman, along with her fellow “Land of The Lost” cast members, were available for autographs and pictures throughout the entirety of the con. The cast members even brought along the yellow raft from the show’s opening sequence for attendees to take pictures in.

When asked whether she was enjoying her time at the Bakersfield Comic-con, she said, “Absolutely, in big capital letters!”

Coleman and her fellow cast members attend about three to four cons a year, and this was their first visit to Bakersfield.

“We have done conventions before but never in Bakersfield,” she said. “There’s still a big following. It’s nice going to these conventions to help people relive their childhood.”

Other vendors, such as artist Christopher Cayco, 27, enjoyed his time at the convention as well. Cayco freelances his artistic skills and sells his artwork at conventions he attends, as well as posts some of his art on his Youtube channel, His biggest seller is a poster he drew with every-single known Pokemon all bunched together in the one picture.

“I know a lot of people are still in church, but there’s still a lot of people here,” he said.

Erwin Ledford, 30, a comic artist originally from Bakersfield, loves to and always attends the Bakersfield Comic-con.

“I know the gentleman who runs all of the cons, and we do this all the time,” he said. “This is my fourth year doing a comic-con because it’s the fourth year my comics have been in print.”

He went on to say, “Bakersfield Comic-con is great because I grew up here and it’s easier to relate with and create an audience here. Bakersfield is the best show consistently because the audience knows me.”

James Acton, 45, (stage name Alexander AEthelwulf) re-enacted a medieval battle alongside his fellow Horsemen of Judgment Keep members and enjoys doing it every time. Acton and his fellow members attend many cons and put on shows for attendees. He has attended cons for around 22 years. He and the rest of the Horsemen of Judgement Keep often battle other groups similar to theirs using real-world battle tactics. Each piece of gear they have is hand-made.

“We are doing this to research the history of it and the athleticism of the times. I mean, we’re all nerds and jocks. Only makes sense we go to these conventions,” he said.

Performers and vendors weren’t the only ones who attended and enjoyed their time at the Bakersfield Comic-con. Martin Torres, 19, thought it was the best convention he’s attended yet. Torres was cosplaying as fighting game icon, Ryu. He was inspired to cosplay as a fighting game character after getting back into the fighting game genre again from watching Twitch streamer, Maximilian Dood. His outfit was entirely homemade.

When asked to comment on what he thought about the convention, he said, “It’s cool, I’m having a lot of fun right now. I also went to the Bakersfield Comic-con back in 2013 at the Marriott Hotel. It’s definitely bigger and better than last time. It’s just cool to meet with people who like the same thing.”

Jonathan Deleon, 17, felt at home while attending the convention. Deleon was cosplaying as iconic movie character Ash Williams from the “Evil Dead” series. His outfit was completely homemade, including a cardboard depiction of Ash’s iconic chainsaw attached to his arm.

“At home, you’re the odd one out because everyone thinks the things you’re into are weird. Here, the people are really friendly and you can be yourself,” he said.