A comic convention at the Mid-America Center is worth more than a thousand words.
That’s why you might see several Todorokis from My Hero Academia, a life-size Master Chief enacting stunts or live wrestling under the same roof at the OCon Expo this weekend.
In its fifth year, event coordinator Rebekah Burchfield invites cosplayers, artists, gamers, fandom and wrestling fans to make their move.
“We have that found that fandom is intergenerational and that most people are a fan of something. This is the kind of event for people interested in superheroes, star wars or wrestling and more. Comic cons are going from niche events to what I call ‘total pop culture celebrations,’” Burchfield said.
Fifteen-year-old Kaylee Salmons, a Council Bluffs resident in her third year attending the show, said her character, Fade, has evolved over time, as she delves into fandom inside and outside of the show.
Year after year, Salmons has learned to embody Fade’s personality.
“Fade is from the arctic. He’s a lot like me — usually grumpy but happy — like his maker. I really enjoy going to cons, so he does, too,” Salmons said.
Salmons said she has learned to hone her costume-design skills and coordinate “suit handling” with her grandmother. When she gets too hot in her costume, she said, she has special hand movements to let her grandmother know.
“We’re really proud of her. For someone who has never made a costume before, she’s done a really great job,” said Sherry Salmons, Salmons’ grandmother.
Every comic con has to have special guests and celebrities from the fandom world.
This year, Kate Flannery, known for her role as Meredith from “The Office”; four-time women’s wrestling champion and WWE Hall of Famer Lita; Sam Jones, also known as the “savior of the universe” Flash Gordon; longtime puppeteer behind Kermit the Frog Steve Whitmire; and prolific voice actors Steve Blum and Mary Elizabeth McGlynn, are available for “selfies and autographs” but at a cost ranging from $30 to $60.
OCon also hosts comic creators and novelists who present panels at the convention.
Creators include the New York Times bestselling author of the Bathory duology Tosca Lee; Alison Wilgus, the artist and writer behind the graphic novel Chronin; comics writer Mark Russell, whose re-interpretation of classic Hanna-Barbera cartoon characters in the “The Flintstones” and “Exit Stage Left: The Snagglepuss Chronicles” have earned him critical acclaim and an Eisner nomination for Best Writer.
In the arena, live wrestling matches and sword fighting demonstrations take place with PWP Live Wrestling and Omaha Metro Armed Combat Academy.
“Wrestling bleeds over into comic book-esque territory. There’s an overlap between wrestling fans and comic book fans and it has everything to do with how iconic the characters are,” Burchfield said.
Outside of the exhibit area, podcasters and gamers take up a space of their own broadcasting live shows and demonstrating games.
Tonight, the cosplayers will compete for the best costume, upon many fun-filled activities planned for the duration of the event.
Today OCon starts at 9 a.m. and continues until 8 p.m. On Sunday, the convention lasts from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Children ages 12 and under have free admission with the attendance of a paid adult. Saturday costs $30 and Sunday is $22.