AP NEWS

Pee Dee Comic Con aimed at wide audience

October 7, 2018

LAKE CITY, S.C. — The secret origins of Pee Dee Comic Con grew from with a desire to help reluctant students read by using comics and pop culture to spark their interest.

The event began Friday and ends today. It is being held for the first time in Lake City.

Convention promoter Todd Fletcher said he initially worked with schools to get graphic novels into libraries and classrooms. He then put students in contact with comic artist Rich Perotta to discuss potential careers in the industry. Many elements of Pee Dee Comic Con were made with this original goal in mind, from kid friendly activities to inexpensive comics for young readers.

The convention was designed with a wide audience in mind, however. It also featured local business and art vendors, a gaming tournament, tabletop and video games to play, celebrity guests, and cosplay. “When you come in here,” Fletcher said, “there’s always something for somebody.”

One artist in attendance was Ernie Suggs, a long-time veteran of the nearby Power Comic Con (formerly known as Florence Comic Con). Suggs was optimistic about attendance both over the weekend and at future conventions. He expressed a desire to help the convention be as big as possible so fans of pop culture would have local options for events.

“People have a taste for this stuff,” he said. “They just don’t realize there’s more options to be a part of. This is an opportunity for either it to reach those people now or hopefully reach them the next year it rolls around.”

Jorg Hohmann of Heroes and Dragons, one of the booths selling $1 comics, explained another important facet of the convention: helping local businesses, especially those in the comics industry. “Collaboration is how communities grow and networks get built, and that’s how we keep the industry alive,” he said. “These trade shows are integral to comic books.”

Pee Dee Comic Con is being held at the Ragsdale Old Building. The convention will run today from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. In addition to the vendors and celebrity guests, there will be a pumpkin carving contest, gaming tournament finals, and a cosplay contest. Tickets can be purchased at the door.

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