In its fourth year, O Comic Con’s opening day saw superheroes and villains of pop culture and anime come running to the Mid-America Center — some literally, as rain began to drench costumed fans in the parking lot for the pop culture convention Friday.
That did not seem to hinder comic book lovers or gamers from enjoying the day among vendor stands, roleplaying game tables or meeting a few famous actors, writers and artists in the arena.
While in the expo hall, a wrestling ring and rows of chairs were filled with spectators through the day while Phoenix Pro-Wrestling held matches.
It was another strong start for O Comic Con with its usual fare of costumes, comics, games and collectables.
And while not new to the scene at the convention, a few more tables were dedicated to a different kind of interest this year: podcasts.
Eddie Foster, creator of the Podcast Arcade Network and part of Paranormal Dads podcast, has been dubbed the “Podfather” by friends for his efforts in bringing the podcasting community in the metro area together.
This weekend, he and several creators of other podcasts with the network — and others that are not, but include friends all the same — come to O Comic Con to be part of the event and enjoy the spectacle.
“We started to collaborate with each other six years ago as a way to get better at what we do,” Foster said. “The saying, many hands make for lighter work. It was like that.”
Beside him, members of the podcast Underground Inc. Ben Weese and Anthony Benegas (their third member, Billy Peck, was absent Friday) said working together and coming to events like O Comic Con has made for a better scene.
“Especially learning small things. Like, maybe you shouldn’t crack your knuckles so much,” Weese said, throwing a glare at Benegas.
A short walk down the hall, past the stormtroopers marching, Thor posing for a photo with Mikasa Ackerman (“Attack on Titan”) and someone in a lime green fox fursuit, an entire room at the convention was dedicated to traditional games.
The Game Shoppe, based in Bellevue, Nebraska, and Omaha, specializes in board and card games. More than a dozen tables were occupied by groups of players, young and old alike, with nothing in front of them but dice, character sheets and pencils — plus the occasional can of Mountain Dew.
Adam Gordier, of Omaha, helps organize Dungeons & Dragons games in the metro, while also serving as the secretary for the Omaha guild of Extra Life, a charity raising funds for sick or injured children.
Gordier said it’s incredible in 2018, despite how long roleplaying games have been around, they are still popular and a hit at conventions.
“But it makes sense to me. It’s an outlet. It’s a form of escapism,” Gordier said.
Dungeons & Dragons (the ampersand is important) has especially seen a revival in recent years with a new ruleset edition and screentime in the Netflix hit “Stranger Things.”
“Getting to play at a con is great. Be a hero, be in a story, kill a dragon, do something you don’t normally do in your day-to-day life,” Gordier said. “Unless you get to kill dragons in real life, I guess?”
Heading out of the game room, the other sections of the Mid-America Center have panels going during the day about a wide array of topics: women and slasher films, comic book writing and soundtracks in film, just to name a few.
The arena, the heart of the expo, filled with vendor stalls with art, crafts and costume goods. Need a sword that’s shaped like a key? Done. A wand with angel wings tipped with a heart? Sure.
Among the rows of drawings, vintage comic books and fiction authors, Nicholas Gaddie had set up his wares.
Gaddie runs Oneiromancy Toy Works, where he repaints various toys and action figures for sale.
For Gaddie, it’s a step toward his ultimate goal of creating his own toys. Turning his hobby and passion into a way to make a living is just a bonus, he added.
“I’ve met a lot of people just by doing conventions together, and it’s a community of its own,” he said.
Oneiromancy (Google to the rescue) is a form of magic in the shape of dreams. Gaddie said he picked the name because he makes toys others dream of.
“It’s fun, it’s super exciting. It’s my second time coming here, and I’m glad to be back,” he said.
O Comic Con continues today and Sunday.