Comic book fan brings comic con to Victoria

Jessica  Rodrigo By Jessica Rodrigo

Nov. 4, 2013 at 5:04 a.m.

Keep those Halloween costumes close - it's time for the Victoria Comic Con.

But don't worry, there's still time to pull together the best Spider-Man or Thor costume for the Crossroads to see during the inaugural event slated for Jan. 11 at the Victoria Community Center dome.

The idea sprouted from a Victoria teen's adventures hitting the San Diego Comic Con, one of the most well-known conventions in the industry, and his desire to bring that to the area.

At the age of 15, Bryan Hons bought his first graphic novel, "The Killing Joke," published by DC Comics. At 18, he visited Comic-Con International: San Diego for the first time.

Each year since, he's headed west to rendezvous with friends and participate in the colorful event.

The now-24-year-old mastermind and event coordinator of the Victoria Comic Con is searching for sponsors and vendors to fill the Victoria Community Center dome.

At first, he thought he would host a small toy show, but his friends nurtured the idea of a comic book convention.

Hons, a mud engineer with a Houston-based oil company, created a Facebook page early in September to see how many people would be interested if he hosted the event. Within 24 hours of posting the page for the Victoria Comic Con, he said there were about 550 likes.

"There's actually a lot of people out there that were interested," he said. "So I said, 'Well, let's go for it and try it out.'"

So far, he's generated interest from area retailers and businesses, including Insert Coin Gamers and All For One Games, both rooted in Victoria.

Business owner Nate Escalante has reserved his vendor space and hopes the event will take off and continue to thrive. He built his shop, Insert Coin Gamers, two years ago around the retro gaming realm - arcade games and consoles- but said he's always ordering new merchandise his customers are looking for because there's not much of a market here.

"They wanted Magic, so I ordered Magic. They wanted HeroClix, so I ordered HeroClix," he said of a few popular games. Escalante even started ordering comic books for his customers.

Bringing a comic book convention to Victoria is a great event to build the awareness of the industry, said Escalante.

As the first retailer for the Victoria Comic Con tickets, Escalante has heard a lot of positive comments with a few concerns floating around about the size of the community center.

"They're not sure if the venue is going to be large enough," he said. "As for right now, anything is better than nothing."

Escalante has visited a few of the in-state comic conventions hosted in San Antonio and Austin and compared them to being as big as the Victoria Mall.

Randall Newman, an avid video gamer, including "World of Warcraft," recently found out about the Victoria Comic Con. He said he'd be inclined to go to the convention to see what new games will be hitting the market.

Though he's never attended a comic convention, he believes Victoria is finally ready for it. With all the growth from the Eagle Ford Shale and new businesses, there's enough people to support such a large convention, he said.

"There's more of a game base in Victoria than there is a comic book base," said Newman, 24. "But you never know, Stan Lee could be there."

He hoped to meet more people with similar interests as well as learn about businesses or artists from out of town through the convention.

Hons is also coordinating a few appearances by artists who are expected to visit the one-day convention, including Victoria native Eric Zapata, who appeared on the Syfy special effects artists competition "Face Off."

If the convention is a success, he imagines it taking over the entire Victoria Community Center.

"I want it to get bigger and better each year," said Hons. "I'm trying to make it fun for everyone."



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