(Dec. 7, 2018) Comic books, cosplay, anime, vendors and other activities await guests attending the second annual Ocean City Comic Convention, held at the convention center on 40th Street, this Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The inaugural comic con event last year, held at the Grand Hotel and Spa on 21st Street, “went better than expected,” according to James Dufendach, coordinator of Ocean City Comic Con.

“We ended up with more than 2,500 people in a snowstorm,” he said. “I think we hit at the right time of year. There's not an awful lot of other events happening in that segment of the year. It's far enough from Christmas where people aren't tapped out and don't want to go out and do anything.

“But, it's also in that sweet spot where everybody needs a break from the holidays,” Dufendach continued. “This is a great way to go and kind of spend the day and just have fun and not worry about anything else.”

Costumed guests will receive $1 off admission and have the opportunity to participate in a costume contest, which takes place at 3 p.m. Registration is from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

“We are kind of ridiculous with the prizes,” Dufendach said. “I shop all year. The first-, second- and third-place winners will all get literally a multi-gallon sterilized tub packed with comics and toys and hardbacks graphic novels. It's huge.”

Pro Cosplayer Kati Coe will host the contest with Jesse Jarvis, Carter Cosplay, and Toxic Girl Cosplay as guest judges. Every kid who participates will leave with a small prize.

Special guests this year includes Jeremy Ambler, who portrayed a walker on the series “The Walking Dead,” Corey Means who played Frylock on “Aqua Teen Hunger Force” and Greg Clark, a comic artist who worked on “The Flash.”

“Comic Con is a wonderful thing for those who have never been to an event like this before,” Dufendach said. “What a wonderful way to cut your teeth. It's locally produced. For longtime comic and just general geek fans … or you're into anime, manga or video games or just kind of dig the aesthetic of all this stuff, here’s something you don’t have to drive two and a half hours to. It's right in your backyard.”

There will be eight panels running throughout the day including how to craft costumes. Visionary Comics will be on hand to discuss creating characters in addition to information on crime scene investigations.

Anime screenings will take place all day, ranging from “Flying Witch” to “Dragonball Z,” and even a Japanese parody version of “Ghost Busters.”

New to Comic Con this year is a chance to hold and play the Nintendo PlayStation prototype, which is the “unicorn of the gaming universe,” Dufendach said.

“It is the only one known to exist,” Dufendach said. “Nintendo and Sony were going to make a system together but that didn't work out and Sony made their own. Nintendo only made about 200 of them and the company thought it had destroyed them all, but this one is legit. It's the only one and you will actually be able to look at, hold and play this thing.”

comic con

Star Wars fans stage a light saber showdown during the inaugural Ocean City Comic Con at the Grand Hotel and Spa on 21st Street, last year. Pictured, from left, are Andy Ruiz, of Hagerstown, Elizabeth Clark, of Wilmington, Yeshua Ruiz, 7, Steven Ruiz and Louis Irivzarry.

Look forward to interacting with more than 50 vendors, artists, groups and guests. The vendors will be selling a variety of merchandise including original art, back issue comics, toys, collectibles, video games, books and T-shirts.

The 501st and Jedi Legion will be in “Star Wars” costumes for photo opportunities and the DeLorean from “Back to the Future” will be at the event. There will also be a replica of T.A.R.D.I.S. from “Doctor Who.”

A special full-page tribute to comic artist Stan Lee, who died in November at the age of 95, has been added to the program. The pen and ink portrait of the deceased artist was drawn by local artist Doug Draper.

Attendees who bring a nonperishable food item for Diakonia will receive $1 off admission. Diakonia is a residence in West Ocean City that provides emergency and transitional housing, food services, counseling and assistance to its guests.

In addition, $1 of each full-priced ticket will be donated to the Hero Initiate, which creates financial safety nets for comic creators who may need emergency medical aid, financial support for essentials in life and an avenue back into paying work.

“The point was really to do something cool for the community,” Dufendach said. “Last year we filled a truck for [Diakonia] so we're hoping to do double that this year.”

Anyone who arrives in cosplay will receive $1 off admission and children 9 and younger get in free with a paying adult. General admission costs $8.

For more information, visit www.oceancitycomiccon.com, email promotions@plbcomics.com or search “Ocean City Comic Con” on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

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