The draw of comic books might be that they have no age limit.
“I actually know more 40-year-olds reading comics than 14-year-olds,” said Comics Cubed owner Shaun Hilton, with a laugh.
And comic book lovers of all ages are invited to Saturday’s Kokomo Con, a comic book, gaming and pop culture convention at the Kokomo Event Center. Last year, in its first year, the convention saw between 350 and 400 visitors. This year, the beefed-up event is expanded and organizers hope to draw 1,000 guests.
The brainchild of Hilton, comic book fan Austin Meissnest and a few others, Kokomo Con will see a host of comic-related exhibits, speakers and vendors and more. From role playing to card games to pop culture to video games, it will all be there Saturday.
“We tried to take the whole ball of geekiness and combine it into a great melting pot of nerd-dom,” said Hilton.
Writers such as Jeremy Dale and local author Paul Allor, who recently published his first comic, “Clockwork,” will be on hand to meet with fans, answer questions and be part of a panel discussion.
Hilton says the guest of honor, Art Baltazar, is a great representation of the event as a whole.
“He’s got a very cool, all-ages style,” said Hilton, a feat that’s pretty hard to achieve. Being able to appeal both to kids and also to hard-core comic book fans is quite the achievement.
But that’s the draw of Kokomo Con, said Meissnest.
“There’s literally something for everyone. If your boyfriend is a fan and you’re not, there’s literally something that will catch your eye,” said Meissnest.
Tattoo artists from around the area will also be on hand showing off their artwork. There will be several card and gaming tournaments throughout the evening. The Magic: The Gathering tourney will be qualifier for the San Diego tournament. Organizers say they hope for more than 100 players.
Local filmmaker Ian Hougland will premier his film, “The Iceburg Theory,” at 7 p.m. Convention attendants are admitted free. The general public may attend the screening for $5.
A replica of the 1960s Batmobile will be there as well. A costume contest sponsored by Twisted Darkness haunted house will send the most over-the-top costume wearer home with $100 cash, he said.
“There’s a lot of art,” said Meissnest. “There’s just so much art from the books into the tattoos, there’s just so much to see.”
Hilton is a huge proponent of comics and the written word in general, but it wasn’t always that way.
Growing up in a military family, Hilton spent much of his childhood in South Korea, where few people spoke English. His reading comprehension skills weren’t where they should be, so his parents hired a tutor.
At the same time, Hilton discovered comics, and before long, he was not only caught back up to his grade level, but he surpassed them in reading skills.
“The tutor gave me the tools to do it, and the comics gave me the desire to do it,” he said.
By the time he was in junior high school, he was reading at a college level.
“I wanted to know what Doctor Doom’s nefarious plot was,” he said with a smile.
• Erin Shultz is the Kokomo Tribune Life & Style editor. She may be reached at 765-454-8587 or email@example.com.