MissouriCon will bring comics and cosplayers to downtown St. Louis this week | Art stories and interviews | Saint Louis | St. Louis News and Events

click to enlarge Costumed heroes and villains of all kinds will converge on St. Louis this weekend.  - PROVIDED BY CARMINE DE SANTO


Costumed heroes and villains of all kinds will converge on St. Louis this weekend.

It’s a common misconception that collecting comics is a solitary hobby.

Yes, readers often enjoy their comics lying alone on the couch, but the broader hobby of pop culture fans is quite a social one. Intense Wednesday regulars routinely rush to the comic book store not only to pick up a stack of new releases, but also to chat with their favorite employee and other shoppers about the new flirtation of Batman and Catwoman, the burgeoning superstar artist revitalizing Uncanny X-Men or the next crossover event that will tear apart the multiverse produced by Marvel or DC Comics. They buy advance tickets to the next big comedy movie to hit the screen (pandemic be damned if the number of people watching Spider-Man: No Way Home in theaters is any indication) and cheer louder than any other audience for even the smallest Easter eggs at opening weekend screenings. Mostly, their enthusiasm culminates at pop culture conventions, where legions of fans gather to scavenge for their personal collections, dress up as their favorite characters, and generally celebrate their shared hobby.

Like everything else after the pandemic, the convention industry took a nosedive in 2020 as COVID-19 caused postponements and cancellations across the country. Attendees and fans had to move their discussions online and eagerly await the return of communal gathering places to enjoy their common interests.

Promoter Carmine De Santo hopes to rectify this with MissouriCon, a pop culture event taking place at the downtown Holiday Inn on Saturday, February 12, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Convention promoter for more than three decades, De Santo noticed a lack of contras in the region, so he decided to bring a production to St. Louis.

“I’ve been doing comics since 1989,” he says. “I’ve been doing some in Kentucky and some in Tennessee. I saw there weren’t many [conventions] in Missouri and I thought, ‘Let’s take advantage of it and bring a show to St. Louis.’ He wanted to break into an untapped market and bring a good show.”

MissouriCon will be smaller in scale than some of De Santo’s previous conventions, but there are plenty of guests he’s excited to bring to St. Louis, like comic book artist Sam De La Rosa. “He is a famous comic book artist known for Venom. All the Poison the movie is based on a book [he inked and partially penciled] called lethal protectorDe Santo explained. lethal protector was the first limited series that Marvel published in 1993 starring Venom as the main character. Ruben Fleischer, the director of 2018 Poison film, has confirmed in interviews that the story was the main source material. “A lot of people love Sam,” says De Santo. “They follow him all over North America because of his artwork. Venom is a hot commodity right now. Everyone loves the character. I’m excited to have him on the show.

“I’m also excited to have a wrestling legend. [at the convention]”He continues. “I’m a fan of ’80s wrestling. We have Hall of Famer Cowboy Bob Orton.” The Kansas City-born wrestler and current Florissant resident was most famous for wrestling a cast Originally worn out of necessity due to a broken forearm from a match with Jimmy Snuka in 1985, cowboy Bob Orton continued to use the cast as a weapon, which helped promote him as a big badass and eventually brought him into into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2005.

If the inaugural MissouriCon goes well, De Santo hopes to expand the convention in the future.

“I would love to bring wrestling live,” he says. “I would love to bring in other elements that would make it two days instead of one day. I want to gauge the market here and move forward. I hope it grows.”

De Santo hopes to bolster the fair’s success with the help of some local vendors. Apotheosis Comics & Lounge (awarded “Best Comic Shop for a Beer with Batman” by RFT in 2021) will have a lot of turnout at the next MissouriCon.

“Apotheosis Comics & Lounge will handle the arcade,” De Santo explains. “We have an arcade dedicated to tabletop games like Dungeons & Dragons, Pokemon, and Magic: The Gathering. They will run the arcade and are a huge local supporter as well.”

Comics have a huge secondary market, with some books valued at hundreds of dollars above their original cover price, which De Santo acknowledges. “People love comics. Not just families, but investors as well,” he says. “Comics are big business right now. People are looking for their first appearances. This whole Marvel and DC universe, with movies and TV shows, has really helped the comics industry a lot.”

What De Santo is most excited about MissouriCon, however, is the fans and families who will finally be able to come together with others to celebrate the comics and characters they love.

“The first thing that excites me is that the fans come out [who] get dressed,” he says. “Dress the kids. Dress themselves. Just enjoying the show.”

One of the biggest aspects of convention culture is cosplayers, fans who dress up and take on the personalities of their favorite comic, video game, or anime characters. Any veteran attendee knows that Deadpools and Harley Quinns are not lacking at conventions across the country, and De Santo hopes MissouriCon is no exception.

“We have a big cosplay contest at 4 pm,” he says. “All the cosplayers are from St. Louis. It’s an exciting event to go to just to see everyone in costume. Or come get items from your childhood memories, like old toys, old video games, or old comics. It’s going to be a great day.” of comic culture. It’s not just comic culture, it’s pop culture. It’s for people to find hidden gems they couldn’t find in the past.”

MissouriCon will be taking some extra precautions to ensure the safety of attendees. De Santo made sure to emphasize his COVID protocols. “We’re going to be doing temperature checks for the record,” she says. “We’re going to have hand sanitizer everywhere we can. Safety comes first for us and we’re doing everything we can.”

“We have over 100 vendors selling different pop culture items,” he adds. “Kids under eleven are free. You can’t go wrong. It’s a fun day out for the whole family.”

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