The Capital of Annapolis

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — Need tips on how to survive a pending Zombie apocalypse? Want some advice how to sew an authentic Spider-Man costume? Fancy info about producing your own comic book?

The Annapolis Comic-Con is your one-stop shop. The two-day event later this month will have 60 dealers with comics ranging from rare collectibles to modern releases, as well as clothing and toys.

“If there’s something you’re looking for, you’ll find it,” said Steve Anderson, owner of Third Eye Comics in Annapolis.

“And for anyone who doesn’t read comics, conventions are like ground zero, we get to evangelize to them.”

Comics books aren’t the only attraction, though. More than 30 well-known artists and writers who’ve worked on series involving everyone from “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” to characters in “Star Trek” will take part in panel discussions. Topics are diverse, ranging from zombie survival techniques to painting for comics.

Guest speakers include Jo Chen, Steve Conley, Greg Larocque, John Ostrander, Mark Wheatley and J.K. Woodward. “It’s awesome,” said Matt Mercer, a comic book fan from Annapolis.

“I’ll be there and I know my friends will be there. I’m excited to see how it turns out.”

Mercer spoke during a visit to Third Eye, which is essentially comic-con central. Anderson is organizing the event along with Ben Penrod of Waldorf, who travels the national convention circuit.

The duo teamed up for the first Annapolis event in September, a one-day affair at the Elks Lodge in Edgewater that attracted about 500 people.

“For a small show, when you’re starting out, that’s great,” Anderson said.

They wanted to go bigger, though, so they got a larger venue — the Roger “Pip” Moyer Community Recreation Center in Annapolis, and expanded to two days.

Dealers will be in a basement gym and discussions will be held in upstairs meeting rooms.

The final talk the first day will be on cosplay, which involves the art of creating authentic costumes of superheroes and super b villains. Anderson expects many people to show up in costume, since there are several contests for the best comic duds.

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“I love being able to put on the character and see people’s reactions to it,” said Iggy Tissera of Northern Virginia, a recent law school graduate known for his Joker from “The Dark Knight.”

Anderson and Penrod are putting a special emphasis on activities for children and families on the second day of the comic-con.

Adventure Time trivia and demonstrations of how to draw a superhero and create your own using a modeling compound are part of the schedule.

“It’s going to be a really full weekend,” Penrod said.

The overall idea is to establish a comic convention not quite as large as Baltimore’s annual event, but one nevertheless significant.

Marc Nathan, a Reistertown comic shop owner, organizes the Baltimore Comic-Con, which will be held in September and is in its 13th year. He’s going to be a dealer at the Annapolis event.

“The Baltimore area’s always been a gigantic place for comics,” said Nathan, explaining that a major distributor is located in Timonium.

This doesn’t come as a surprise to Anderson, who is planning his third move in four years in May to increase his shop space.

Hot topics at Third Eye are zombies, courtesy of “The Walking Dead,” and the upcoming Marvel battle of the Avengers and X-Men.

“Since we’ve opened our store, we’ve seen the comic community grow, and the (comic-con) is the next progression of that,” Anderson said.

“This is a really great time for comics. There are readers from all walks of life.”

Annapolis Comic-Con is 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. March 24 and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. March 25 at the Roger “Pip” Moyer Community Recreation Center, 273 Hilltop Lane, Annapolis. Tickets are $10 per day. A two-day pass is $15 and a two-day VIP pass is $45.

Information from: The Capital of Annapolis, Md.,

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