Zombie jellyfish help Portland comic book convention raise $10K

Contestants line up for a costume contest during the inaugural Coast City Comicon in the fall of 2011. (BDN MaineFrame photo by Robert Bukaty)

Organizers of the second annual Coast City Comicon, to be held the weekend of Nov. 9, reached their $10,000 fundraising goal on the grassroots donation website Kickstarter Tuesday.

We had some coverage of last year’s event, which came off successfully without the initial cash boost this year’s event will get. The Comicon, modeled after the massive and celebrity-riddled comic book conventions in places like New York City and San Diego, attracted 700 people. Not bad for a “let’s throw this thing together over a few months with no money” type showing.

Here’s how they described it on their Kickstarter page:

In summer of 2011, we decided to put on a comic convention in downtown Portland, Maine — something that had never really been done before. Knowing that we wanted to have the first ever Coast City Comicon in November, we spent the summer planning, booking venues, and contacting creators, vendors, and guest speakers. With virtually no budget, we put on an amazing convention featuring 50 vendors, video game tournaments, the east coast premiere of ‘Warren Ellis: Captured Ghosts,’ the release of ‘The Exegesis of Philip K. Dick,’ and panels by special creative guests, including Todd DezagoCraig Rousseau and Renae De Liz.

To coax donations from Kickstarter supporters this time around, event organizers from Coast City Comics had plenty of neat giveaways. Some of my favorites include a personalized haiku poem written by store co-owner “Action” Chad Pennell for donors of $2, plush zombie jellyfish for those who gave more than $10, and a cadre of custom T-shirts, pins, comic books and table top games.

Art in progress by Ben Bishop for an exclusive Coast City Comicon T-shirt to be awarded to qualifying Kickstarter donors. (www.kickstarter.com)

This year’s star-studded convention promises to bring bestselling writer Fred Van Lente, whose graphic novel “Cowboys & Aliens” was made into a major motion picture starring Harrison Ford, comic book artist Sean Gordon Murphy, whose titles include Batman and Star Wars, Supergirl and Spider-Man artist Ale Garza, Ghostrider and Wolverine writer Daniel Way, and “30 Days of Night” artist Ben Templesmith.

Alex Irvine, the Portland-based author of such titles as Iron Man and Transformers, will return for the 2012 edition of Coast City Comicon as well.

Not to mention video game tournaments (Super Mario 3 and Street Fighter) and to-be-scheduled movie screenings.

So with 200 backers through Kickstarter donating a total of $10,339, Coast City Comicon is charging full-steam toward a November opening. If you think you’ll be attending this year’s convention, “Action” Chad and co-organizer Tristan Gallagher are also asking folks to buy tickets in advance so they can add that revenue to their space and talent booking pot. Catch up with them at the store to learn more about the whole thing.

Seth Koenig

About Seth Koenig

Seth has nearly a decade of professional journalism experience and writes about the greater Portland region.