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Fantasy fest: Albuquerque Comic Con focuses on writers, artists this year

There will be no shortage of comic book writers and artists at this year’s Albuquerque Comic Con.

“What I am most proud of this 2018 is what we’ve been able to accomplish in the realm of comic book appearances, comic book writers and creators,” said Jim Burleson, owner and promoter of Albuquerque Comic Con. “It’s actually our largest comic book guest list that we’ve ever had. We really couldn’t be happier with the amount of comic book guests. There’s only a certain number of comic book stars, and they’re all still working so getting them to agree to break away from their jobs to come out here and do an appearance; it’s hard. But they do love the fans, and when they get the chance they do it, they come running. This year, we’ve been able to secure some real major names.”

Some big names include Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti who have been instrumental in making Harley Quinn popular; Ken Lashley, who is famous for ‘X-Men’ and has been a major player in the “Black Panther” comic book; and Mike Grell who has been instrumental in creating the story lines for the CW television show “Arrow,” according to Burleson.

When it comes to booking actors, actresses and pop culture favorites, event organizers listen to the fans. This year, organizers tried to include every genre in the pop culture phenomenon in 2017. Film and television guests include those from “Star Wars,” “Game of Thrones,” “The Walking Dead,” “Supernatural,” “Dr. Who,” “Avatar” and “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?” as well as wrestling stars Sting and Rey Mysterio and several people from the world of anime. Rock stars Doyle Wolfgang von Frankenstein of the Misfits and Sin Qurin of Ministry also will be on hand to meet and greet fans.

“Industry-wide, they’re basically expanding the demographic of who it is they’re targeting, so the comic book movies have gone away from the themes of the comic books to try to capture a new audience,” Burleson said. “The themes of even the comic books have been modified to expand into new fans and that kind of thing, so what we’ve done is we’ve just followed the same basic model of catering to the fans that have built the industry but also inviting new fans in.”

The Q&A panels have expanded into three rooms to accommodate fans this year.

“We’ve done our best to try not to schedule conflicting panels at the same time,” Burleson said. “We want to make sure that everybody gets to see the type of panel or Q&A that they’ve been wanting to be a part of so as the years have gone on we’ve been able to fill up the two rooms pretty easily and now it’s gotten to the point where there’s so many requests for doing so many demonstrations and Q&As that we’ve had to expand into the other room.”

Gamers can enjoy an open area where they can play video games all day long. Also, anime enthusiasts can watch their favorites all day in a room sponsored by Lobo Anime & Comics. And the Comics & Film festival will feature submissions from all over the country.

“This is actually our eighth year doing it, and it’s growing huge in the film community where people are coming from all over the country to screen their movies at our Comics & Film Festival so, you know, shorts and feature-length films and animation,” Burleson said. “They’ve all been a part of our comic book convention, and this year is no exception. We’ve got programming throughout the entire weekend of people being able to watch these films for free in the film room. And because of the film community that are local, we have producers who are looking at those things and given potential distribution deals.”

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