Gail Simone, Mick Foley top guest list at Huntington’s TriCon

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The Tri-State Comic Convention returns to Huntington Saturday with lots of comic book fantasy fun.

On Saturday, West Virginia’s TriCon comic book convention returns to the Big Sandy Superstore Arena in Huntington. James Maddox, one of the convention’s co-creators, promised a bigger convention with more guests, more vendors and more everything.

“It’s our third year,” he said. “Eric Watkins and I founded TriCon and really didn’t know what to expect. We had a good first year, and then last year was a big step up. So, we’ve tried to step our game, and so far, I think, we’re hearing some good pre-chatter from people.”

Part of the chatter, he said, is because of the convention’s guests. Among the notable names appearing at TriCon are professional wrestler-turned best-selling author Mick Foley and popular comic book writer Gail Simone.

“One of the biggest things for us is to bring creators to the area,” Maddox said. “We have a lot of people in the Huntington-Charleston area who have an interest in writing, in comics. We bring in people who are doing that for a living, who can maybe offer some guidance.”

Foley and Simone were both outsiders to writing in the beginning. Foley was a popular and successful wrestler who branched into serious and often very personal writing. He’s written several memoirs, a few children’s books and two best-selling novels.

“He’s gotten into comics lately,” Maddox said. “He’s got an upcoming release for WWE comics.”

Simone was a professional hairdresser and comic book fan who came to the attention of the comic book industry through “Women in Refrigerators,” a website dedicated to female comic book characters who were murdered, assaulted or raped as a plot device for the male superheroes.

She eventually began writing for comics and has written for “The Simpsons,” “Batgirl,” “Wonder Woman” and “Dead Pool.”

“Gail Simone is just one the greatest writers in comics,” he said. “She’s very outspoken about the status quo of comics, how they’re seen and how they can be changed.

“Her stories are amazing.”

Maddox added that TriCon had approximately 20 comic book and pop culture-related guests scheduled to appear during the convention, plus more than 30 exhibitors and vendors selling toys, games and comic books.

He also expected a good turn out for cosplay, with people in costume coming dressed as their favorite comic book, science fiction and fantasy characters.

“We were really surprised at how many people turned up in costume last year,” he said. “The costumes are amazing, and some of them will blow you away.”

Maddox said he and Watkins hope year three of TriCon will be a success and that they are already starting to vaguely think about next year.

“We’ll brainstorm after this one is over,” he said. “We’ll see how it goes and hopefully plan for bigger next year.”

Reach Bill Lynch at or 304-348-5195.

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