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Buffalo’s inaugural Nickel City Con is loaded with character

Spider-Man stood outside the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center on Saturday.

Behind him, sweating in the morning sun beneath his wool trench coat, scarf and fedora, was the Fourth Doctor from “Doctor Who.”

Ahead of him, dressed in all black and a sword strapped to his back, waited the masked mercenary Deathstroke from DC Comics.

They were among those who stood patiently in line for about an hour waiting for the doors to open to Buffalo’s Nickel City Con, the inaugural two-day, comic-con-style convention celebrating everything from superheroes to science fiction to pop culture.

It would be worth their wait.

“The best thing you love about it is you’re with people who like the same thing as you do,” said Deathstroke, aka Bobby Morely of Cheektowaga.

“You don’t feel left out,” said Morely, 25. “You fit in just fine. No one judges you. You just have a lot of fun getting into character.”

Comic book conventions are nothing new to Buffalo, but Nickel City Con is the type of multigenre convention Buffalonians have traveled across the country to attend.

“Why not in Buffalo?” said Adam Martin, the event organizer and co-owner of Dave & Adam’s Card World, the local company known for its sports collectibles and vintage comics.


GALLERY: Nickel City Con 2016


Martin, who spent more than a year putting together Nickel City Con, expected a few thousand people to roll through the convention center doors this weekend, which probably wouldn’t be enough for the event to make money its first year.

But Martin said this wasn’t about business – it was about Buffalo.

He wanted to piggy-back on Buffalo’s resurgence and, in some way, do his part.

“Maybe in our own little way we can have a little of what big cities have that we don’t,” Martin said.

Saturday’s event included 135 vendors and artists set up across the second floor of the convention center, selling everything from comic books to vintage toys.

“It’s laid out really well. It’s organized very well,” said Howard Cadmus, owner of 1811 Comics, a comic book store in Williamsville. “This is definitely shaping up to be a good con.”

“So far, it’s really good,” said Angel Clark, 26, of Batavia. “A lot of vendors and the ticket price was pleasantly surprising.”

“Yeah,” said Jessie Pierce, 28, also of Batavia. “Fifteen bucks for one day. You can’t go wrong.”


GALLERY: Smiles at Nickel City Con


Other local events, like the World’s Largest Disco and the National Buffalo Chicken Wing Festival, have grown over the years. Martin is committed to making Nickel City Con bigger and better like those events.

He already has a second Nickel City Con booked for May 19-21 at the convention center and has signed on William Shatner.

And he’s got more up his sleeve.

“You can say ‘comic-con,’ but it’s not something we’re striving to be,” Martin said. “I think it’s closer to being a festival than anything else, because we want this to be something for everyone.”

Some came Saturday in search of that special comic book to add to their collections.

Others came for the celebrity guest list, which included Sean Astin (“The Lord of the Rings” trilogy), Ray Park (“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.

“I came to see Brett Dalton from ‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.,’ ” Clark said.

“I’m a huge ‘Lord of the Rings’ fan, so I came to see Sean Astin,” Pierce added.

Pierce was dressed as River Tam from the Firefly franchise; Clark came as the Batman adversary Harley Quinn.

While a costume wasn’t a prerequisite for Nickel City Con, it was a big part of the fun.

Spider-Man and the Riddler were seen arriving together.

There was Captain America, The Flash, Iron Man and Harry Potter. Several “Star Wars” characters were spotted socializing. The superhero Groot, from Marvel Comics, was a hit at the convention.

Jarek Copp, 13, made the 2½-hour trip to Buffalo from Mansfield, Pa., with his mother, Desiree, dressed as the Fourth Doctor from “Doctor Who.”

Jillian Goodwyn of Orchard Park arrived with her friend Megan Bush dressed as the anime character, Yoko.

“She’s my favorite character. She’s like this strong, independent woman who doesn’t wear a lot of clothes,” said Goodwyn, showing off her revealing costume.

“It’s like Halloween,” said Goodwyn, 24, “but you can do it whenever.”

The event continues from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.


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