When Wonder Woman wants to find her friends, she goes to Frederick Comic Con.
“It’s local,” Lynne Finley — known to some Sundays as Wonder Woman because of her cosplay costume — said as she stood among about 80 tables displaying comic books, collectibles and artwork in a crowded conference room at the Clarion Inn Frederick Event Center.
The Princess of the Amazons was among nearly 1,000 people from Maryland, the District of Columbia and neighboring states who made their way to the Frederick Event Center on Sunday for the first of three Frederick Comic Cons scheduled this year.
Frederick Comic Con takes place in March, July, and November each year, allowing for a variety of vendors and different offerings, and giving comic book fans multiple opportunities to attend.
Organizer Nick Shoff of Shoff Promotions in Derwood, Maryland, has nearly a decade of experience hosting Frederick Comic Con, but he said planning has been particularly difficult over the past two years.
As local COVID-19 guidelines evolved with rising and falling infection rates, Shoff was forced to constantly update the restrictions spectators had to follow.
He even had to cancel an event just a week before it was due to happen, costing him over $1,000 in ad revenue.
Shoff said he was relieved to host Sunday’s event at a time when attendees had less fear of contracting the virus, and with low COVID-19 infection rates in Frederick County, the masks – with or without cosplay – were optional during Sunday’s event.
Although the risk of infection may have decreased, the costs of organizing were about as high as they ever were, Shoff said. After lowering the price of admission to $5 for much of the past two years, rising costs for supplies such as ink, paper and printing copies for advertisements forced Shoff to bring the price down. admission at its original price of $8.
“I try to keep costs down, but at the same time it’s a business,” Shoff said.
Finley, 46, made the hour-long drive from Winchester, Va., to support Shoff and the nearly 60 vendors at the event.
She also came to see her friend, Fred Holt, from Frederick.
“For me, comics break down barriers,” Holt, 64, said.
Holt was also cosplaying, wearing a full costume as Bloodmoon, who he described as an “independent creative character”. But the barriers he mentioned weren’t referring to the mix of would-be superheroes and mere mortals.
Instead, he spoke of those around him at the Frederick Event Center — young and old — who were brought together because of their love of comic books and collectibles.
Holt was a regular at Frederick Comic Con until the start of the pandemic, and he only returned to the event last November, before the omicron variant led to a nationwide wave of COVID-19 infections. .
With Frederick County again experiencing low infection rates and a mask as part of his costume, Holt was excited to attend a second consecutive Frederick Comic Con.
“Cosplay makes us happy,” Holt said. “We would do it even if we didn’t have a marching band.”
The marching band arrives anyway. As Holt and Finley strolled, the parents stopped to photograph their smiling children, along with the couple, and countless onlookers complimented them on their costumes.
This was precisely what the organizers had in mind.
“It’s a family show,” Shoff said.
Comic Cons are definitely a family affair for 26-year-old Imran Chaudhry.
The Hanover, Maryland resident has loved reading since he was a child, so his mother, Arim, used to take him to bookstores when he was young. As Imran’s interest expanded beyond his beloved Harry Potter series and into the world of comics, his mother introduced him to event shows where vendors sold comics and books. hard to find collectibles.
As Imran grew older and began to explore ways to profit from his passion, his grandfather taught him the do’s and don’ts of running a business. Imran would then launch Lazy Eye Collectibles on eBay in 2016, selling Funko Pop! vinyl figures of characters from comic books, book series, movies and more.
Imran had been to Frederick Comic Con a few times before, but when his grandfather passed away two weeks ago, he wasn’t sure if he would return.
He finally decided with his mother that his grandfather would have wanted him gone. Plus, the event was a source of joy for the Chaudhrys, and it’s generally great for business.
“It’s basically our bread and butter,” said Imran Chaudhry, visibly enjoying himself negotiating and joking with his customers.