King’s Way Church in Nitro will be cosplaying as Stately Wayne Manor in its gymnasium for a day soon as the site of Bat-Con 2019.
Tim Arnott, owner of the Nitro Antique Mall and Third Floor Comics and Collectibles, is organizing the inaugural convention, scheduled for Saturday, June 22, at the church. From to 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., casual to committed Batman (and Robin) fans can browse through vendor stands rife with Caped Crusader-related items galore and other comics, toys, games and assorted collectibles. Devoted Dynamic Duo fans are also welcome to engage in cosplay, dressing as their favorites from both the Batman Family and the Dark Knight’s dastardly rogues’ gallery of villains, such as Catwoman, the Penguin, the Riddler, the Joker, Harley Quinn and other fiendish felons.
This year’s Bat-Con will pay particular homage to the 1989 “Batman” film, directed by Tim Burton and starring Michael Keaton as Batman and Jack Nicholson as the Joker. The film was actually the inspiration — and springboard — for the inaugural Bat-Con, Arnott said.
“We do a podcast on the the Third Floor Facebook page called ‘The Fantastic Floor,’” he explained. “Six of us do a livecast where we talk about nerdy stuff, toys we grew up with, our favorite movies and those sorts of things. It came up that the weekend in June [of Bat-Con] is the 30th anniversary of the ‘Batman’ movie and it’s one of our favorites.”
Arnott said he has booked approximately 20 vendors for the convention so far and hopes to get at least 20 more. “It’s for any kind of toys. They don’t have to be DC Comics or Batman related.”
Among the highlights of the first-time event will be a personal appearance by John Buckland of the nonprofit Heroes 4 Higher organization, who will be at the convention in full Batman attire with his 1989 replica Batmobile. Buckland and the Batmobile will be available for photo ops from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on June 22.
A cosplay contest is also scheduled for those who come in costume. “The theme, of course, is Batman — and other Gothamites,” Arnott said. Cosplayers from Ohio have RSVP’d their intention to attend the convention, and “hopefully, we’ll have a good turnout of cosplayers from West Virginia.”
An area of the church, located at 302 21st St. in Nitro, will be appointed with Batman, Batmobile and other comics standees and batdrops — er, backdrops — for visitor photo opportunities throughout the day, too, he added.
Nationally known artist Glen Brogan of Charleston has provided prints of an art piece he created paying tribute to the 1989 motion picture. Brogan’s prints will be available for purchase during Bat-Con.
Custom Pop! Vinyl Batman figures will be up for bid in a silent auction, as well. Arnott said proceeds from the auction will go to the March of Dimes.
“This is also going to be the kickoff of our toy drive for the Nitro Mission,” he said.
Admission to Bat-Con will be $5 for ages 11 and older; children 10 and younger will be admitted free.
For updates and further information regarding Bat-Con 2019, including reserving vendor slots, visit the Bat-Con 2019 Facebook page or contact Arnott at the Nitro Antique Mall.
Third Floor Comics and Collectibles is located at 110 21st St. in Nitro, on the third floor of the Nitro Antique Mall. It also maintains a Facebook page and can by reached by non-Batphone at 304-755-5002.