Fans get their geek on at inaugural ComicCon
BY MICHELLE L. QUINN Post-Tribune correspondent February 23, 2014 10:08PM
Young lovers of costumes and comics, attended the 1st Annual Comic-Con convention on 2/23/14 at Villa Cesare in Schererville. Here are L-R, Nolan Aguilar, Hunter Bussey, and Ian Bussey. | John Booz/for the Sun-Times Media
Updated: February 24, 2014 1:18PM
SCHERERVILLE — The comic aficionados kept arriving even after the inaugural Northwest Indiana ComicCon was supposed to be done for the day.
Event co-coordinators Kelly and Brian Grabinski grinned wildly as they walked around Villa Cesare Sunday afternoon, watching as visitors, characters and Live Action Role Players traversed the facility. To see that many comic nerds gathered so close to home was a dream come true for them.
“I’ve been going to ComicCons since I was 12, and one of my goals was to bring a family-friendly, affordable, all-ages gathering here. The Region needed something like this,” Brian Grabinski said. “We were counting on maybe 300 to 500 people coming, but we’ve definitely hit 1,000.
“Since the next show was based on the success of this one, we will look forward to the second annual Northwest Indiana ComicCon in 2015.”
While there was no one character Brian Grabinski wanted for his pop-culture celebration, all genres — science fiction, anime, fantasy and comics — were represented. There were plenty of people dressed as Star Wars characters and a zombie or several, as well as video-game characters.
Gabby Sparano, of Hammond, wielded her weapon adorably as Lollipop Chainsaw from the eponymous Japanese hack-and-slash video game.
Sunday was her fourth such event, and each time, Sparano has more fun dressing up in Lollipop’s skimpy cheerleader-like costume.
“I like the energy and being able to express who the character is,” she said. “You start being able to relate to them after a while.”
Sparano’s boyfriend, Angelo Nicastro, also of Hammond, came as world-renowned DJ Joel Zimmerman, or Deadmau5 to those in the know. His electronic t-shirt powered up to the sound of the crowd, and his orange mouse head glowed.
“I read that (Zimmerman) wrote his own comics,” Nicastro said.
Some cos players kicked it old school, like Anna Floyd, 11, of Crown Point. The Taft Middle Schooler came as everyone’s favorite house demon, Beetlejuice.
“I’ve known Beetlejuice since I was 3,” Floyd said as her friends, also in various costumes, huddled nearby. “I like being able to not be yourself for a day.”
Vendors were also thrilled with the turnout. Dan Dougherty, of Tinley Park, Ill., who draws the cartoon “Beardo” for the Post-Tribune’s sister paper, The Southtown Star, brought his self-published comic “Touching Evil” as well as his “Marching Band Nerds” collaboration with author DJ Corchin. And Markus Rainwater and his partner, Anthony Duron, added more people to their Meetup Group, “Meet and Geek.”
“We’re a Northwest Indiana group that caters to geeks and nerds,” Rainwater said. “We just get together and talk about Star Trek, anime, Dr. Who, really anything.”