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Heroes take center stage

By Marlana Ward
Freelance Writer

The two-day, Longhorn Comic Con presented the opportunity for fans of fictional characters and worlds to come together in a community setting where all were accepted and encouraged to freely express their enthusiasm for their favorite, superhero or comic character. The Johnson County High School gym, which was transformed into a meeting place of old friends and new acquaintances welcomed all to share their enthusiasm for their beloved characters and fictional universes.

According to event organizers, the Longhorn Comic Con was the first convention of its type to be held in Johnson County. Co-founder of the event, Cole Gladden explained how she and her husband Mark worked with other local enthusiasts to bring the event to Mountain City. The event was a combined effort, which began with Green Dragon Comics and Double D’s Consignment from Mountain City.

“We along with Daniel Shoemaker and David Watson decided to do the comic convention,” she shared. “We have all gone to other area cons, and all love all things comic, sci-fi, fantasy, and horror. We just wanted to bring something fun and affordable to the community.”

Over 200 people visited the convention to explore what the 19 vendors and artists brought to offer fans of all ages. Artist, Albert Morales, headlined the event bringing artwork for fans to purchase and enjoy as well as a special edition print only available at the Longhorn Comic Con. Artist Kevin Hawkins and author Stephen Semones, who happily autographed prints and books for excited fans.

One of the most anticipated features of the event was the cosplay contest, which saw entries of all ages displaying their love for various characters through homemade cosplay outfits and costumes with varying degrees of intricacy.

The first competition of the day saw nineteen contestants cross the stage for the delight of all in attendance. For the twelve and under category, Abigail Ward won first place for her portrayal of Tenten from the anime Naruto, and Chris Eller was awarded second for his Wolverine. In the teen category, Timmy McClellan placed first for his Punisher cosplay, followed by Daisy Treadway’s Ponyo in second. Judy Durall’s Wonder Woman won the adult competition, which featured impressively detailed costumes, while Fred and Becky Mottern followed close behind with their portrayal of Steampunk Airship Pirates.

A second competition was also held to allow for eleven more cosplay enthusiasts to cross the stage.
The 12 and under category was won by Alyviana Calvo as Merida from the movie Brave. Devrrin Calvo’s Karate Kid won the teen competition. Mark Calvo as White Goodman won the adult division from the movie Dodgeball.

Gladden expressed her appreciation to all who helped make the event a success when she said, “Special thanks to all the volunteers, vendors, artists, and of course the people who came. None of it would
have been possible without them.”