Comic convergence – The Register-Guard

Magneto, Master Chief and Wonder Woman strolled the Lane Events Center Saturday, but there was no disguising the excitement as thousands of fans celebrated the second local comic convention in six weeks — following an absence of at least a decade.

Eugene Comic Con, which ends Sunday, is a passion project for Eugene resident and comic-book enthusiast Royce Myers, who decided the time was right to resuscitate a local fan-centric celebration of comics, television shows and movies — and was willing to invest his own money to make it happen.

“There is a huge fan community here in Eugene, and it’s just been amazing watching them come out for this,” said Myers, who noted 5,300 people had indicated on the event’s Facebook page they planned to attend.

Those numbers appeared to be materializing. More than 2,000 people had entered the venue two hours into the event’s first day and a long line of fans looking to get in snaked around the Lane Events Center into the early afternoon.

“I was very surprised I had to wait in line. I thought there was going to be 30 people here. It’s fun,” said 35-year-old Eugene resident April Levos, who was dressed as a raptor wrangler from “Jurassic Park.”

The comic convention comes six weeks after thousands of people attended a similar event, the Emerald Valley Comic Fest, at the same venue in early October.

Eugene Comic Com features more than 120 artists, writers and vendors. More than a dozen celebrity guests also are attending, including Jason David Frank of “Power Rangers” fame and Ernie Hudson, who starred in “Ghostbusters” and is set to appear in the reboot to be released next year.

These guests are paid to appear and charge a fee for autographs and photos.

Naomi Grossman, who has appeared in two seasons of “American Horror Story,” traveled to Eugene after vacationing in Amsterdam.

She and other celebrity guests visited the pediatric care unit at Sacred Heart Medical Center at RiverBend on Saturday morning to meet with some of the patients and hand out comic books.

Grossman, 40, said she attended more than 30 comic-cons around the world, including Australia and Germany, this year.

“This is my first actual face-to-face interaction with a lot them (fans of the show), and that’s why we do it honestly,” she said of the conventions. “It’s cool to kind of have that for both of us. It’s mutually beneficial and fun.”

The event also allowed comic-book illustrators and other artists to take center stage.

Portland comic book illustrator Steve Lieber, 48, said his profession can be solitary for a lot of artists.

“I’m telling a big visual story, but I’m telling it sitting at a desk working pretty much by myself,” he said. “It’s great to get some face-to-face feedback from people who are reading and enjoying the work.”

Lieber has worked for Marvel and Dark Horse comics and is the co-creator of the Whiteout limited comic series, which was adapted into a 2009 film starring British actress Kate Beckinsale.

Lieber said it’s important to find a balance between finishing and promoting work at the events.

“It can be a dangerous distraction for some people,” he said. “It’s like with a band. You don’t want to spend too much time touring and not enough time in the studio recording music.”

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