In downtown Lexington, fans turn out in force, and often in costume, for the annual Lexington Comic and Toy Convention, known, of course, as Comic Con.
Jarrod Greer, event promoter, said he and his wife decided to put on the first Lexington Comic Con in 2011. “My youngest son and I had kind of been messing around with Power Ranger toys, and he was an avid Power Ranger and Transformer collector at the time, so comics and toys are something I’ve been into for a while,” he said.
Artist Billy Tackett said the Lexington Comic Con is one of the best he’s done nationwide. “It’s really, really good. It stacks up really well to the rest of them. Plus, it’s kind of cool to hang out here, so I would come here if I wasn’t selling art.”
The first year, over 4,000 people came through the door, Greer said, double what they hoped for. By 2015, they had over 21,000 paid guests.
Sylvester McCoy, the 7th Doctor Who, said it was a joy to be there. “How can it not be great if people come out and they actually like you? That’s a nice thing, isn’t it? They come out and they like you.”
Colin Baker, the 6th Doctor Who, agreed. “Whatever job you do, if you have people 30 years later who want to say to you, ‘I like that stuff you did 30 years ago,’ enough to leave my home and to come down and tell you about it, all you can do is say, gee, I am not worthy.”
Greer said every year has a theme, such as Doctor Who in 2016, Star Wars in 2017, He gets emails from people requesting certain actors and certain themes. “We try to accommodate a little bit of everybody,” he said.
John “Batman” Buckland, who portrays Batman for Heroes & Higher, said he goes to schools and hospitals, bringing the Caped Crusader to life for children, and tackling serious issues like bullying, grief counseling, and drug abuse prevention, even drug rehabilitation for adults too. “Pretty much anything and everything that kids or adults deal with, that’s what we do,” he said.
Comic Con draws from a diverse demographic. “Comics, I always say, are the great equalizer. It’s the one place a plumber and a brain surgeon can get together and talk about Spider-Man,” Greer said.
Fans can wear costumes, play games at the tabletop game room, meet comic book artists, buy collectibles, get autographs– even speed date, sci-fi style.
Ryan Glitch founded Sci-Fi Speed Dating. “This is my company, this is what I do,” said Ryan Glitch. “We want our participants to be fans of something to have that spot to build from. So we only do it at conventions.”
Glitch said he tried speed dating at a convention in Atlanta. “And it was kind of atrocious. It just wasn’t well done,” he said. Glitch had his own ideas on how to make it successful, and convention organizers were so impressed they asked him to run one for them. From there, he launched his own business.
Promoter Greer said he starts planning for the next convention as soon as one ends. “Planning’s a year-round thing. It’s a part-time job up until say, October or so,” when tickets go on sale for the March event.
Greer said there are lots of good conventions out there. “We like to think we’re one of them,” he added. “We’ll be back to Lexington Center there. We just hope to be back bigger and better than ever.”
This segment is part of Kentucky Life episode #2212 which originally aired on April 8, 2017. Watch the full episode.