November 9, 2013

Colorful characters converge at Coast City Comicon in South Portland

Hundreds devoted to comic book-related pop culture attend the event.

By Beth Quimby
Staff Writer

SOUTH PORTLAND — Some people like to spend their weekends at home lounging around in pajamas or working out at the gym in sweats, but for others there is nothing more fun than donning their favorite action hero costumes and converging on the nearest comic book convention.

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Alex Lear of North Yarmouth, dressed as Batman, poses for a picture with Nate Speckman of Portland next to the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man during the Coast City Comicon convention at the Double Tree Hilton in South Portland on Saturday afternoon.

Photos by Tim Greenway/Staff Photographer

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Jacob “Magnus Buho” Cote and Antoine “Diablo Blanco” Malaab, both of Portland, wrestle in a match Saturday at Coast City Comicon. The convention also features artists, crafts people, music, dancing and horror films. It continues from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $25.

Additional Photos Below

This weekend hundreds of comic book fans, both costumed and not, are converging on the third Coast City Comicon, a convention at the Double Tree Hilton in South Portland devoted to comic book-related forms of popular culture. The convention, organized by Coast City Comics in Portland, features comic book artists, crafts people, music, dancing, wrestling and horror films. Many of those who attend are comics convention regulars.

“I go to as many as I can,” said Bob Tkacik, a Portland graphic artist who was selling his own art at the convention.

Tkacik said he usually manages to sell enough of his graphic illustrations to cover the cost of attending the convention.

“And I get to talk to nice people all day,” said Tkacik.

A seven-man contingent of the Maine Ghostbusters chapter was on hand in their signature army fatigues and power packs. The chapter appears at events around the state to help raise money for charitable causes, said member Justin Hamner of Rumford. Their appearance at Coast City Comicon will benefit the Center for Grieving Children, Hamner said.

Hamner owns the chapter’s Ghostbuster cruiser, complete with flashing red lights and a Maine vanity license plate, Ecto 207.

The vehicle was parked outside the convention center Saturday.

Joseph Schmalke of Portland, a master controller at WMTW-TV by day, was selling copies of his comic book creation, “The Calamitous Black Devils,” a World War II horror science-fiction series published by Broken Icon publishers.

“It’s an elite brigade of army operatives who are trying to stop Nazis from opening a multidimensional gateway to let in ancient gods into our world to raise an army of the dead,” Schmalke said.

The graphic novel featuring the elite brigade is due out soon, he said.

The convention also featured an array of traditional crafts with a comic book twist. Trent Schriefer of South Berwick was selling his medieval wasters, which are wooden replicas of metal long swords and other weapons used for practice.

“It brings back some of the ideas of honor and chivalry,” said Schriefer, who trained with a swordsmith.

Schriefer said his mini cross bow, which shoots marshmallows and retails at $25, was turning out to be a favorite.

Matthew Lambert, 11, of Hampton, N.H., who was attending the convention with his father, Ted Lambert, said there wasn’t anything he didn’t like about the event.

“I like everything,” Matthew said.

The convention continues from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $25 for one day.

Beth Quimby can be reached at 791-6363 or at:

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Additional Photos

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Artist Lila Rees works on an untitled piece alongside artist Chris Dingwell during Coast City Comicon.

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Jacob Cote and Antoine Malaab argue about who won their pizza party wrestling match after they both slammed each other onto the pizza at the Coast City Comicon convention at the Double Tree Hilton in South Portland on Saturday. Both were declared winners.


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