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A new kind of comic-con festival comes to Buffalo this weekend

Sometimes it takes a simple question to get something done.

Adam Martin, co-owner of Dave & Adam’s Card World, the local company known for its sports collectibles and now vintage comics, was at a large comic-con style convention when he was asked if Buffalo had any similar events.

Martin said no.

“Why?” he was asked. “Aren’t there enough people?”

Martin knew there were enough people, so the Buffalo native had to ask himself the same question: Why didn’t the city have a large-scale pop-culture event of its own.

“The idea started to percolate and then I ran with it,” Martin said in a telephone interview from the National Sports Collectors Convention in Atlantic City where he was working a convention last week. “There are comic cons all across the U.S. and Canada. We wanted to give Buffalo something it didn’t have – a true comic con not just with vendors, but with (celebrity) guests, top comic artists from around the world, top cosplay players and more.”

With just a little more than a year of planning, Dave & Adam’s is set to stage the ambitious Nickel City Con, Aug. 13-14 in the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center.

Comic-book conventions aren’t new in Buffalo – the Queen City Bookstore’s long-running annual Buffalo Comic Con returns Sept. 17-18 at the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center – but Nickel City Con is the type of multigenre convention Buffalonians have traveled across the country to attend. Here’s some of what’s scheduled:

• Celebrities include Sean Astin (“The Lord of the Rings” trilogy), Ray Parks (“Star Wars”), four stars from AMC’s “Comic Book Men” series, Esme Bianco and Rick Worthy from Syfy’s “The Magicians” and wrestlers Ric Flair and Greg “The Hammer” Valentine.

• Comic-book artists like Joe Rubinstein (Wolverine, Batman, Superman), Steve Geiger (Spider-man, The Incredible Hulk, Bloodshot), Sal Otero (“Ant Hill,” “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles”) and Brian Kong (Marvel Comics, Malibu Comics, Tekno Comics).

• Appearances by the North Ridge “Star Wars” group (Buffalo Bisons “Star Wars Night”), the Buffalo Ghostbusters and the Superhero Alliance of Western New York.

• Pokemon Go event on both days. Martin calls it an “elaborate rock-paper-scissors” game where hundreds of people of all ages and skill levels can participate at once and engage each other. Prizes will be awarded each day.

• Sports mascots.

Martin said the convention is “something the area hasn’t seen before” and don’t doubt his confidence. Dave & Adam’s already has a second Nickel City Con on the books for May 19-21 in the convention center and it has hooked a big one: William Shatner.

In the end, Martin said, the convention is not only for the fans but for the city, too.

“At Dave & Adam’s, we are fortunate to be doing this for a long time. So sometimes when you do things, it’s not about the money, but it’s something that’s good for the community. We want to create something here that is good for the community and builds excitement for Buffalo.”

“We know our community can support events, especially with the resurgence of downtown Buffalo,” he said. “The Pegulas are transforming downtown and we hope, in some way, we are helping to do the same. And we hope other groups will come in and do shows, too. Buffalo deserves it.”


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