We pushed through the double doors with our cart full of equipment and trudged down that long familiar hallway covered with the best / worst green 70’s carpet. As we got to our booth spot I looked over at Tomisina and just said “Chewie… We’re home.” Then she punched me.
That was November of 2018 but that’s just how it is at NC Comicon: Bull City every year. You walk into the Durham Convention Center and you’re home again. You see your friends there. You see your people there. You walk through the hallway and Artist Alley and the dealer room and you see people you know. You go across the street to the Armory and you’re greeted by friendly faces and waves. People you haven’t seen in what seems like forever come running over for a hug. High fives abound. You’re not choking in a sea of strangers. You’re not paying almost $100 just to get in the door. You’re not shelling out Disney level prices just to get things signed by the guests. It’s just home and it’s where the real heart of the North Carolina convention scene is.
So let me back up a minute. If you’ve never been to NC Comicon: Bull City or even Oak City both are North Carolina based locally owned and operated comic book conventions. They’re actual Comic Book conventions. They center on comic book artists and writers and publishers and are run by people in the industry that actually love the industry. World renowned comic book artist Tommy Lee Edwards is a co-owner. So is MAD magazine and comic book writer Brockton McKinney. Teamed with Alan Gill, owner of the Ultimate Comics retail chain they make up a trifecta of what actually goes into making comic books. They know the business. They love the business. Their lives are based around it.
It’s not just the business though; they love the community surrounding it. They work with a different charity organization every show and donate heavily. This year’s show is working with Operation Sidekick, an organization that takes rescued Pit Bulls and trains them as service dogs for military veterans that suffer from depression and PTSD. In past years they’ve worked with Magic Wheelchair who builds some incredible costume style wheelchairs for handicapped children. They also open their doors to teachers, firefighters, police and military with free admission on certain days of the conventions.
“It was never a question of what we were doing it was always how we would go about it and how we could keep doing it for the fans and to give back to the community that gave us so much.” - Alan Gill.
NC Comicon 2019 will be held on November 8th – 10th at the Durham Convention Center in Durham North Carolina. Come check out the show and I promise you’ll feel like you just came home to comics all over again.
NC Comicon - https://nccomicon.com/
Operation Sidekick - https://apbf.dog/
Magic Wheelchair - https://www.magicwheelchair.org/