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MSP ComicCON: "It's One of the Great Comic Cons of the Nation" [Video]

Video production by Todd Wardrope for City Pages.

Oftentimes you hear about the more performative aspects of comic conventions, namely cosplay. But what about the folks who are creating the actual comics?

We talked to a bunch of artists, puppet makers, and comic creators at MSP ComicCON to get the lowdown on what building a thriving comics scene in the Twin Cities means to them.

See also: Best Costumes at SpringCON 2014

Hosted by the Midwest Comic Book Association, MSP ComicCON has been around for more than two decades (it was formerly called SpringCON). Each year, MSP ComicCON and FallCON bring hundreds of fans, artists, and cosplayers together at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds to revel in their love of all things geek.

MCBA is a local non-profit run by volunteers who are as passionate about promoting local comics as superheroes are about saving the day. Even the comic artists who attend the convention recognize the power in the pages of comics.

"Creating kid-friendly, all-ages comics right here in the Twin Cities is a great way I've been able to get more kids to read out there," says Dave Wheeler, co-founder of Mindwave Comics.

Kids have even gotten in on creating their own comic book story lines. Artist Chandra Reyer's daughter came up with stories that Reyer then began illustrating and piecing together into actual comics. Thus, Cosmosaurs was born, filled with space-dwelling dinos and giant space lobsters.

For plenty of artists at the convention, their enthusiasm for comics also started at an early age.

Comic-book artist Christopher Jones is living out his childhood dream. "I am lucky enough to be able to say that I have the job I wanted when I was five years old," he says. "A day when you're getting paid to draw Batman? That's a good day."

Since creating comics can often be a solo activity, even when folks are collaborating on the same piece, Jones also relishes the chance to meet his industry colleagues as well as fans at conventions like this.

Artist Gene Ha agrees, calling MSP ComicCON "one of the great comic cons of the nation." Ha has worked on projects for DC and Marvel, as well as the Top 10 series. He now lives near Chicago, but says he grew addicted to this particular convention while he lived in the Twin Cities because of its dedication to strengthening the local comic community's ties and talents.

Here's to looking beyond the costumes at conventions.

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