The Francis Scott Key event center at the Clarion Inn in Frederick, Maryland was turned into a crowded space filled with comic books, collectibles, toys and other fun items on Sunday. Frederick Comic Con was in full swing by 11 a.m. and would continue for another four hours.
Nick Shoff, owner of Shoff Promotions, has held the Comic Con event three times a year in Frederick since 2014.
“If you’re interested in comics or collectibles or games, you can usually find it,” Shoff said.
Shoff began hosting shows 40 years ago, and back then it was just baseball cards. Now his shows tend to be a little more colorful and cartoonish.
When asked why he decided to turn from baseball to comics Shoff said it was the pop culture draw. He noticed that more and more movies were based off comic books.
“It’s in the media a lot and cosplay is very big,” Shoff said. “[And] people like to meet local artists.”
The shows host local comic book artists and collectors. Shoff explained that keeping it local helps keep the cost down and lends to discovery of new characters and series.
Frank Brevard owns Frank’s Cool Stuff in Salem, Virginia. According to the business slogan, the store is “where fandom lives”. They sell everything from original comic book art to Harry Potter merchandise.
Brevard said his store was one of the first to introduce something other than sports-related merchandise at Shoff’s shows. This was his third time at a Frederick Comic Con event.
According to Brevard, anything anime related is a big seller. Particularly, his one-of-a-kind anime bento boxes.
Each box is different, said Brevard, although most include a DVD, t-shirt, and a snack.
“While you’re watching, you’re eating,” Brevard said.
He never makes more than 21 boxes for a show and always tries to be a little giving.
“Depending on what kind of mood I’m in I throw in extra,” Brevard said. “But my wife doesn’t let me make these when I’m upset because she says when I make a box I should be feeling on the generous side.”
As the afternoon waned on families and kids dressed in superhero costumes continued to fill the event center.
“We actually looked it up this morning ... and we thought it’d be cool,” said Alicia Keiser who has brought her three children. “I don’t know that we’re the collectors that so many people are but we think it’s fun and this is the first comic con we’ve ever been to so we wanted to do it together.”
Lauren Penn, who had brought her two sons — one dressed as Black Panther and the other as Spider-Man — agreed.
It’s a great family event. It was only $6 per person which is incredible,” Penn said. “It was so much better than we thought it would be.”