By: Zach Shultz
Cincinnati Comic Expo 2023
On September 25th, fans all around the nation celebrate National Comic Book Day, a chance to acknowledge the artists, writers, and fans of the genre. Comics became popular in the 1930s and have been mainstream in modern media ever since. Superhero comic books published by Marvel and DC gave birth to household names like Superman, Batman, Spider-Man, Wonder Woman, and The X-Men. The film, television, and merchandise enterprises are still relevant today with millions of fans across the globe.
Cincinnatians celebrated early at the Cincinnati Comic Expo hosted this past weekend. Over the three-day convention hosted at the Duke Energy Convention Center from September 22-24, a yearly event since 2010, comic enthusiasts and pop culture fans had an opportunity to meet other fans like them, as well as several actors and creators behind some of their favorite comics, TV shows, movies, and video games. This year’s guests included Charles Martinet (the voice of both Mario and Luigi in the Super Mario game series), Stephen Amell (Oliver Queen on Arrow), Paul Bettany (Vision in the MCU), and the voice actors of Anakin Skywalker, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and Ahsoka Tano in Star Wars: The Clone Wars.
Apart from the meet and greets and photo opportunities, the convention hosted video game tournaments, cosplay competitions, and a huge exhibition hall on the first floor of the building. On that floor were several booths and vendors selling all sorts of merchandise items including comic books, action figures, and pieces of art to fans attending the event.
Several attendees dressed up in cosplay and costumes for the event, including University of Cincinnati student Riley Heidenreich, who wore a Batman suit inspired by the recent 2022 movie. He attended the event last year and decided to go again because he had a great time.
“They have so many booths and displays to take pictures with, and it’s also where a lot of people get to show off their unique costumes, which is mainly why I went,” Heidenreich noted, “My favorite part by far is the amount of merchandise that is sold for a wide range of fandoms. You can find a lot of exclusive and discontinued items there.”
UC Student Riley Heiddenreich sits on a throne dressed as Robert Pattinson’s Batman.
Heidenreich had been creating his Batman costume from almost scratch for about three months. He enjoys seeing other cosplayers at the convention who put as much effort into it as he does.
“Most people do screen-accurate costumes, but it’s always interesting to see unique takes on certain characters,” Heidenreich said, “I definitely plan on going again next year, although I might wear a different costume.”
Another UC student, Angelica Spangler, attended the convention cosplaying as David Martinez, the protagonist of the 2022 Netflix anime Cyberpunk: Edgerunners. Similar to Heidenreich, she enjoys seeing other cosplayers and wearing a costume herself.
Courtesy of DeviantArt – David Martinez from Cyberpunk: Edgerunners
“This would be my fifth time coming to the Comic Expo and I have enjoyed it every time I went. My dad was the one who introduced it to me and now I go every year,” Spangler explained, “I really enjoy seeing other comic fans at the convention. It’s nice being able to talk to people who have read and watched the same series you are into.”
These Bearcats were just two a part of thousands of fans that attended the 13th annual convention this year. To say the least, the 2023 Comic Expo was a huge success. If you’re hoping to join in on the fun and thrill of Comic cons, next year’s event will be held at the Sharonville Convention Center on October 18-20, 2024.