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TriCon comic book convention takes on Huntington

By By Jack Suntrup
Staff Writer
CHIP ELLIS | Sunday Gazette-Mail
Brody Kilburn, 7, and his father Don check out the latest Iron Man figure at Joe Aldridge’s comics booth.
CHIP ELLIS | Gazette-Mail photos
Mallory Grizzell plays the part of video game villain Sephiroth as Chris Sizemore, a Ghostbuster, is play-stabbed as other Ghostbusters watch in terror.
Morgan Hunter, 9, and Hunter Arthur, 8, of Altizer came as the Joker and the main character of “Doctor Who.”

HUNTINGTON — The weathered cardboard box had done wonders protecting a 1970s era Star Wars fighter. Brody Kilburn, 7, eyed it and his dad, Don, grabbed it off the top shelf at the J-Z Toy Box booth, bringing it to Brody’s eye level.

“That’s going for $600,” said Joe Aldridge, the co-owner of the item, with his hair gelled and his beard trimmed like Wolverine’s.

Kilburn asked his son: “How much money do you have on you?”

The fighter was back on the top shelf a few seconds later.

Not everything cost $600 at the third TriCon comic book convention on Saturday at the Big Sandy Superstore Arena. The main floor was packed with comic fans and fanatics, some dressed as their favorite characters.

This was the third year the event was held in Huntington and organized by James Maddox and Eric Watkins.

The two started Broken Icon Comics a few years ago and things took off from there, Maddox said.

“We started going to conventions on the east coast and then we started paying attention to how they worked,” Maddox said, while counting a stack of money.

The convention featured Mick Foley, who was the professional wrestler Mankind before becoming an author, and Gail Simone, an author who has spoken about the pervasive rape culture in comic books. She has written for “The Simpsons,” “Batgirl,” “Wonder Woman” and “Deadpool.”

On Saturday morning, event-goers were more busy browsing booths than listening to speakers.

Lucy Lovejoy, 14, of Red House, was dressed as Loki, a character featured in Marvel comic books. From an old skateboarding helmet, she had fashioned a golden headpiece with two giant horns curling out from it. She held a golden scepter and wore a trench coat from Goodwill.

“I can relate to Loki because he’s misunderstood and kind of an outcast,” Lovejoy said. “I just really like the movie.”

As Lovejoy passed through the convention, someone else said in passing: “Looking good, Loki.”

While the convention featured old classics, new authors set up their own booths.

Lora Innes, of Columbus, Ohio, was selling volumes of her historical fiction comic “The Dreamer.”

The story revolves around Bea Whaley, a high school student who has vivid dreams of personal experiences during the heat of the American Revolution, Innes said.

Innes was the artist and designer behind the comic. The third volume, “The Battle of Harlem Heights” was for sale at the convention, along with other volumes and memorabilia.

At least one booth was raising money for charity.

Kevin Pauley, 38, of Charleston, wore the entire Ghostbusters costume with a few of his friends. They even had PKE Meters, which, in the movie, are supposed to detect ghosts.

The group’s organization, Ghostbusters West Virginia Division, was raising money for Jen’s Hope, a charity dedicated to leukemia treatment. The group also raises money for the Children’s Home Society and the American Heart Association.

Pauley said the West Virginia Division is just a small part of a nationwide network of similar Ghostbusters groups, which visit sick children in hospitals.

Pauley said even though the movie is now 30 years old, kids still light up when the group makes hospital visits.

“Everywhere we go, kids know us,” he said. “Parents and doctors go nuts because they grew up with it.”

Not everyone takes grown men dressed up in costume seriously, Pauley said.

“Sometimes when we go out in public people make fun of us,” he said. “Then we tell them it’s for charity and they shut up.”

Reach Jack Suntrup at or 304-348-5100.

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