Superheroes, caped crusaders and other costumed characters will invade downtown Mount Airy Saturday, but no one should be alarmed, even by supervillains — they’ll only be passing through.
Such sights will be part of Comic-Con, an event on North Main Street being staged for the fourth year. As the name implies, it’s a comic book convention featuring vendors of comics, action figures and other memorabilia, which also offers an opportunity for fans of all ages to come dressed as their favorite characters and take part in a costume contest.
“It’s just fun,” said Honya VanMeter, one of the organizers for Comic-Con.
In addition to cos-play (costume play) competition highlighting the best fan-conceived outfits, it will include a scavenger hunt along with personal appearances and autograph signings by local comic book writers and artists such as Terry Collins and Roosevelt Pitts.
Also in conjunction with Comic-Con, a free screening of the movie “Big Hero 6” — about a team of high-tech heroes — is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. at the Earle Theatre downtown.
Saturday’s family friendly gathering is scheduled from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and is free and open to the public — especially folks desiring the dual life of a superhero alter-ego.
Comic-Con in Mount Airy is patterned after similar events in other cities which mirror a recent resurgence in movies and television shows highlighting characters such as Spider-Man, Batman and Captain America. Despite their renewed popularity from modern productions, such cultural icons have never strayed far from their comic book roots.
For the first two years of the local event, it was confined to the Memories on Main Antiques and collectibles business on North Main Street, where VanMeter is manager. Last year, it expanded to the sidewalks along the street, and for 2017 Comic-Con will be situated in a centralized venue.
“Most of it is going to be over in the Bark and Meow parking lot,” VanMeter said of a site at the corner of North Main and West Oak streets beside the pet-grooming business.
The costume contest, one of the highlights of Comic-Con, is planned from 11:15 to noon on Saturday. Contestants can register beginning at 10 a.m. at Memories on Main Antiques, located between Holcomb Hardware and Barney’s Cafe.
Age ranges for the competition include 1 to 5; 6 to 9; 10 to 16; and 17 to adult.
Along with members of the public who come in costume, “we’re going to have some people who are dressed up and walking around,” VanMeter said of characters who will be adding to the event’s atmosphere. Last year this included a Deadpool impersonator and others.
Six or seven vendors are expected to participate in Comic-Con, according to VanMeter.
“The kids seem to love it,” she said of the event that also appeals to adults motivated by nostalgia. “The older ones come and they are just thrilled with all the different things (offered) — they still collect all the old comics,” she added.
“They’ll say, ‘I grew up with that, or I remember this comic.”’
Aside from its enjoyment, Comic-Con will benefit the community in another way.
“Each year that we do it, most of the proceeds go to a different charity, this year for autism,” VanMeter said.
Tom Joyce may be reached at 336-415-4693 or on Twitter @Me_Reporter.