Where everyone fits in

There will be no freaks at Albuquerque Comic-Con, set for this weekend

By Shondiin Silversmith
Navajo Times

WINDOW ROCK, January 10, 2013

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(Courtesy photo)

Two young boys stand at the sides of a Star Wars Storm Tropper (left) and a Star Wars Bounty Hunter (right) during the Albuquerque Comic-Con in last year.

T Would you like to spend your weekend doing spin kicks with the Green Power Ranger?

Well, you just might be able to do that because the Green Power Ranger and more than 30 other celebrity guests will be at the Albuquerque Comic-Con at Hard Rock Casino scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 12 and Sunday, Jan. 13 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

"We really geared it to the entire pop culture genre of cool stuff. We have science fiction, comic books, and horror stuff all combined," said event founder Jim Burleson. "We're really excited about our headliners; they will draw in equally different groups of people. Their fan bases are pretty different, and that will get a larger group of diverse people to the show."

Comic-Con is a day where a grown-up can act like a kid buying collection items, or a kid can dress up as a superhero without question.

One thing to expect at the comic convention is the long line of people waiting to get in because "nobody wants to miss anything," said Burleson.

But it won't last for long because once everyone is inside, you will be faced with an "entire hallway full of movie stars that you thought you would never have access to."

Four different rooms are going to be set up, according to Burleson.

The main floor with host the celebrity booths and dealers. This area allows Comic-Con goers to wander about and purchase what they please.

Another room will be dedicated to martial arts training from several guests including Jason David Frank, who played the Green Power Ranger. Frank will be hosting a martial arts class for the youth.

The two other rooms will be dedicated to gaming and the screening of various films. Burleson said those rooms will give goers "an opportunity to just sit down and relax."

In addition, there will be guest panels that will run every hour. He said this will give the public a chance to question the celebrities and ask them anything they want.

"The amount of stuff to do does at least require two days," Burleson said.

Burleson said he has been a comic book buff for a long time and started thinking in 2009, after he bought a local comic book store, about bringing a Comic-Con to Albuquerque.

"I took my love for comics," he explained, "and decided to turn it into a comic book convention."

Burleson said he did some research on some of the nation's biggest Comic-Cons like San Diego and Dallas, Texas. That research led him to host his first comic book convention in 2011 with an attendance of over 10,000 people in the course of two days, he said.

According to Burleson, "Albuquerque actually has more comic book stores than any other city of equal size in the country," and that comic book interest is what brought the convention to Albuquerque. "That tells you that there is a large amount of intelligent and creative people in the surrounding area because they can support that many comic books stores."

In addition to the celebrity guests, Burleson said he is dedicated to helping four-year-old Lillian Singleton of Los Lunas, N.M. who was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia in May of 2012.

Burleson said that dealers of the convention donated some of their products to auction off, and she will keep the proceeds from whatever they manage to sell from Lily's booth.

"We want to help Lily beat this cancer," Burleson said.

Burleson said there are numerous things that make the Albuquerque Comic-Con memorable, but the best part is the relationships you build when you attend it.

"A lot of people that are fans of comic books, they hide their love for the industry because they think people will look down on them. This is not the show to be worried about that," Burleson said. "Nobody feels out of place at these things. It's going to be a great time."

Information: Tickets for the Albuquerque Comic-Con are available online through their website at www.albuquerquecomiccon.com. VIP tickets are $50 and general admission is $15 per day, and prices are set to rise $5 at the door.

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