You didn't have to be a superhero to attend the fourth Annual Quad-City Planet Comic and Arts Convention on Sunday at Skellington Manor in Rock Island, but the hundreds who did undoubtedly had a favorite.
"I'm Sailor Moon," said Moline’s Daityn Duffy, 11. "She's a superhero, but kinda like normal. She's a princess now, but a queen in the future." Sailor Moon, created in Japan, is a schoolgirl with special powers.
Josh Wainwright, a 20-something who lives in Galesburg, Ill., went to great lengths to make himself a dead ringer for Deadpool, a Marvel Comics mercenary and anti-hero. "I relate to him. He's injected with special healing powers."
"I like the older comics, especially the Fantastic Four," said Have Fun Collectibles owner Jenna Bishoff.
For the uninitiated, or the forgetful, the Fantastic Four are Mr. Fantastic, The Invisible Woman, The Thing and The Human Torch, but that was the fun in the convention. Knowing everything wasn't a prerequisite. Simply wanting to know more was the point, said event organizer Tim Johnson, owner of Mellow Blue Planet Comics and Collectibles in Rock Island.
"We want to create a common meeting ground for people to share ideas and their interest in this niche hobby,” he said. “We have 48 booths featuring artists, dealers, writers, novelty item sellers, and more, all with an interest in comics."
Big Dog Ink publisher/writer/art director Tom Hutchison admitted the demographic sweet spot for comic enthusiasts tends to be 30 to 40, but while the industry is steeped in nostalgia, it's also moving ahead.
"Our generation enjoys the tactile feel and connection with the printed page, but digital comics are coming. Technology helps us. Facebook, Twitter and our website allow us to communicate with, and grow, our fan base.”
Much like other publishing industries, he envisions printed comics might eventually be exclusively online, and printed comics might be only special editions distributed at shows, like this.
“The landscape is changing. Nobody knows exactly how, or when," Hutchison said.
Not even a superhero.