Comic Con draws more than 7,000 fans to Dover

DOVER — Call it a scene from comic heaven.

People dressed in elaborate costumes of their favorite characters such as Darth Vader, Batman or the Ghostbusters.

Dozens of vendors sold action figures, T-shirts, posters and more, while food trucks from across the state served meals to attendees.

Fans also could receive signed prints from artists and get their faces painted.

The recent Comic Con event, hosted by the Dover Public Library, far exceeded expectations. Organizers hoped to double the previous year’s attendance, but were shocked to find out they nearly tripled that total when about 7,100 fans came out during the Aug. 8 event.

“Last year 2,500 fans came out,” said librarian Katy Goff. “We originally expected there to be about 4,000 people, but I think because of word of mouth and our presence on social media many people that decided that wanted to come out.”

While the 2014 version stayed at the library, this festival stretched across the street to Legislative Mall.

“We had a lot more room this time around,” Ms. Goff said. “We had vendors and different activities all over.
“We wanted to make this year bigger and better and I think we accomplished that.”

Teens and adults have found the library to be a great place to enjoy Japanese anime and graphic novels, discuss science fiction and play games.

In many ways, it has proven to be an interesting social center for kids with similar interests.

The festival was the brainchild of library assistant Kerry Hollyday.

She works mostly with teenagers and heard from many of them a desire for a cheap, local comic convention.

The idea came up about a year ago, after the library held a successful costume-play event and planning has been underway ever since.

“Some of our teens aren’t able to go to the big conventions,” Ms. Goff said. “This convention is sort of an alternative, so they’ll have the same experience if they went to one of the bigger comic con conventions.”

Ms. Goff said they only expected about 500 people to attend the event in its first year.

“We didn’t think 2,500 people were going to show up,” Ms. Goff said. “That was a shock to us.”

Even though the event continues to be a success there’s always room for improvement.

“We’re starting the planning process this month,” Ms. Goff said. “We usually plan the event in October, but we’re going to go through what we liked and didn’t liked and go from there.”

Ms. Goff hopes the event continues to grow, but not too much.

“It’s scary,” she said. “I want it to be bigger, but not too big.

“We can only go up from here. We have to plan properly and continue to do what we’re doing and we should be fine.”

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