Bakersfield Comic-Con

Stephen Underwood, Reporter

Bakersfield Comic-Con made its presence at the Kern County Fairgrounds over two days this past weekend of Nov. 12 to hundreds of local and national attendees who were greeted with limited edition prints for sale, various vendors, game tournament hosts, contests, artists, writers and celebrities inside buildings 3 and 4 and in multiple tents between.

At 10 a.m., people waiting in line were handed free goods, bought their passes and Bakersfield Comic-Con carried on until 7 p.m. on Saturday, and 5 p.m. on Sunday. Several celebrities in the comic book and graphic novel industry, such as Steve Niles and Tim Bradstreet, sold copies of their works and signed items for collectors and fans.

This included new material being promoted, but older material was sold with autographs as well.

“Some of my work like ‘28 Days Later’ and ‘28 Weeks Later’ is becoming harder to find, and I thought about having ‘30 Days of Night’ made into a video game, which didn’t happen,” Steve Niles said.

Some celebrities charged fees separately for autographs, and there were others that didn’t charge fees at all if the items they were signing purchased merchandise.

“This is not my first convention I’ve done. I’ve done conventions before, my first convention was in San Diego back in 1986, and this convention right here in Bakersfield this year is old-fashioned,” said Niles.

Aside from the comic industry veterans in attendance, up-and-coming names in the industry appeared too. Local comic artist and writer, Katrina Kunstmann, promoted her comic series known as “Warhead” to attendees that approached her table.

“This is my second Bakersfield Comic-Con, I’m originally from Santa Maria, this Comic-Con allows me to avoid travel issues, and it’s a friendlier environment that I haven’t experienced with other Comic-Cons in different locations,” said Katrina Kunstmann. Some comic artists and writers sold copies of their works as sets, Kunstmann offered a special, and attendees had the opportunity to purchase her series’ current five issues with a discount.

Comic industry people, however, were not the only entertainment guests at Bakersfield Comic-Con. Some entertainers such as professional wrestler MVP appeared for autographs and socialization.

MVP said, “Winter Con was my previous convention, I did it with my buddy, Mike, who has a comic about wrestling. “Head-Locked” is what it’s called.” MVP additionally pointed out, “I will be in the next issue.”

A fan of comics himself, MVP said “When I was a kid, I read Sgt. Rock and Power Man.”

Attendees, when they weren’t buying comics and merchandise, attending the day’s cosplay contest, playing games, or approaching celebrities, were allowed to purchase food at the gates outside. Papa John’s served pizza, soda, and water bottles to attendees.

This year’s Bakersfield Comic-Con ended with ticket raffles and giveaways. Bakersfield Comic-Con host, Steven Wyatt, said, “I already have next year’s Comic Con planned out in advance.