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On Tabletop of the World
"The big thing that's new this year is that our gaming area has grown," says Noble, the primary organizer of Gem City Comic Con. "We've moved into the ballroom at Dayton Convention Center and expanded the purview of the gaming to include tabletop game developers, people who have created a game."
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In addition to the new Game Developers Lab, local comic and game store Bell Book and Comic will be running Pathfinder and Starfinder RPG events, as they have in years past. DM Scotty, a Dayton-based YouTuber whose how-to videos about crafting tabletop gaming terrain have garnered him thousands of followers, will be making a rare local appearance. Amanda GIlliam Presents, a local podcast and Twitch group, will be on hand live streaming game videos.
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Comics are the Star of the Show
Of course, the primary focus of Gem City Comic Con will always be the comic books. This year is no different, and the show floor will reflect that. Dozens of shops and dealers will be at the convention, selling comics and memorabilia.
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In the Creator's Corner, convention-goers will get to meet professional comic talent and purchase their wares. "I say this every year, but this year I'm really excited about the guest list," Noble tells Dayton.com. "New this year, we've got Mike Grell, who has drawn every character you'd ever want to read. He's most well known for his work on DC's Warlord and of course Green Arrow. I'm also really happy to have P. Craig Russell this year. No one does graphic storytelling like he does."
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Get Your Learn On
After you've roamed the floor, have a seat at one of the many great panel talks going on at Gem City Comic Con.
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"Victor Dandridge of U CRE-8 Comics will be talking about how to make comics, get in front of publishers, and how to self-publish, if you have to," says Jesse Noble. "In our Writer's Workshop discussion panel, Paul Carbonaro will sit down with Steve Englehart [Avengers, Batman] to talk about how he approaches his craft. Craig This, who teaches at Sinclair and Wright State, has put together two panels this year. One will compare Frank Miller's 300 to the historical event at Thermopylae. The second will discuss Iron Man through lens of being a Vietnam veteran suffering from PTSD."
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Also going down in the panel area is the annual Hero Initiative Live Auction. Hero Initiative is a charity that raises money for the healthcare expenses of comic creators, who don't typically have insurance. "That's a great charity and it's a real fun event," says Noble.
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Odds and Ends
Those who enjoy expressing their fandom through cosplay are also in for a treat. All weekend, adults and children will enjoy $2 off Gem City Comic Con admission when they come in costume. Costume contests sponsored by Roma Collectibles and hosted by Mary Mercenary will take place, with an adult contest on Saturday and the kiddos' contest on Sunday.
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Single visitors will also get a chance to find true love. Gem City Dating will host speed dating events throughout the weekend, hoping to pair up lonely geeks with similar interests. "Speed Dating is a new thing that we're trying," explains Noble. "You have 3 minutes with each person, and they match you up with people who were also interested in you."
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On Saturday night, after the convention closes its doors, the show takes over Warped Wing's taproom for Drink n' Draw, where fans can rub elbows with comic creators. "All the artists sit down in a relaxed situation, where they're not trying to sell the next issue, and they just draw for the fun of it," Noble says. "Then we take those drawings and have a silent auction." Proceeds go to scholarships for kids at Rosewood Arts Centre.
HOW TO GO
What: Gem City Comic Con
Where: Dayton Convention Center, 22 E 5th St, Dayton
When: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, March 24; 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday, March 25
Cost: $10 per day. Kids under 12 are free with paid adult.
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