Weeks later, Fantasticon is back

By: Eric Czarnik | Sterling Heights Sentry | Published November 1, 2013

 Fantasticon guests search through comic books and other collectibles.

Fantasticon guests search through comic books and other collectibles.

File photo by Patricia O’Blenes

If you thought this fall’s debut of the Fantasticon Comic Book and Pop Culture Show was fantastic, you have another chance to go back this month.

The fan expo is making a quick comeback to Freedom Hill County Park’s Independence Hall in Sterling Heights Nov. 9.

]Joe Nieporte, one of the owners of event operator Funfest Productions Inc., said people had a great time when Fantasticon debuted Sept. 28.

“It was almost triple our expectations,” he said.

Like last time, the show promises dozens of dealers who will bring and sell science fiction and pop culture collectibles, including comics, toys and more. Nieporte said the upcoming show will bring around 56 dealers.

Organizers say some of the top cultural TV and movie franchises will have a presence, including “The Walking Dead,” “Twilight,” “Star Wars” and “Star Trek.” Fans of zombie stories, superheroes and anime will find their niches represented.

While Nieporte said Funfest had expected to organize a second date for the show, the September show’s success led them to fit one in before the end of the year. Nieporte said his company plans to do two Fantasticons per year in Sterling Heights, and they could do similar shows in markets such as Lansing.

Although Independence Hall lacks the size of a Cobo Center, the facility so far has fit the volume of visitors, he said.

“The thing is, the crowd doesn’t all come at once,” he said. “(The event) is on for six or seven hours. You got a crowd that comes in early and a crowd that comes in mid-day.”

During the event, guests are encouraged to dress in costume, as a costume contest will award $100 to a first-place winner, and separate prizes will be given to two runners up.

This expo will bring back the Artists Alley attraction that invites comic book artists to display their work, meet fans and sign autographs. This time, Nieporte said, he has commitments from Marvel and DC Comics illustrators such as Keith Pollard, Arvell Jones and William Messner-Loebs.

“These guys have been writers and artists for different characters dating back from the ’70s,” he said.

Tom Savage, a horror and sci-fi illustrator from Chesterfield Township, attended the inaugural Fantasticon as a featured artist, and he plans to come to the upcoming one, too. He said he plans to premiere a piece of artwork of Princess Leia from “Star Wars.”

“It had a good crowd, good people,” he said. “It was impressive. It actually encouraged me to do more shows, more smaller shows — not just bigger comic cons.”

The Fantasticon Comic Book and Pop Culture Show will run 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Nov. 9 at Freedom Hill County Park’s Independence Hall, 15000 Metropolitan Parkway, in Sterling Heights.

Admission is $5. Learn more by visiting www.freedomhill.net, or call (586) 493-4344.