Comic books and culture at Flint Comix Fall Fest

FLINT, Michigan—Twice a year, the Flint Farmers’ Market is conquered and held for the day by an explosion of color and imagination known as The Flint Comix Con—much to the delight of pretty much everyone involved. 

Flint Comix Con established itself on the local calendar in the spring of 2010 at the Masonic Temple and continued as an annual affair until 2015—when it moved to the Farmers’ Market. It then expanded to become a pair of events with one in the spring and one at the end of summer. Similar to each other in almost every way, both events bear most of the characteristics common to such conventions—contests and prizes, artists working on sketches, professional creators discussing their projects with visitors, tables loaded with boxes of comics for sale, fans drifting about in a range of appropriate clothing, and tall racks of comics on display. It is basically a celebration of everything and anything related to the comic, fantasy, or sci-fi genres.

This Fall Fest version of the semi-annual affair hits this weekend  from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 2, 2017, at the Flint Farmers’ Market. Cost is $5. Children 12 and younger are free with a paying adult. The event has become an extraordinary celebration of the fantastic, the amusing, and the ideal by coinciding with the Weiss Child Advocacy Center’s annual Superhero 5K fun run, whose participants also often arrive at the market dressed in costume.

Not everyone dresses up at Comix Con, but many do arrive in costume and plenty of others wear relevant T-shirts, hats, rings, and accessories giving a casual nod to their fandom. And as the borders of this cultural realm are usually rather open, there is considerable diversity in the origins of its components—including those not of comic book origin—so that these conventions always fill the Market with characters from such sources as the Hogwarts School and the worlds of Doctor Who and Star Wars – in the company of Wonder Woman, Captain America, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and the rest. 

Both the original spring and the fall Comix Con are the creation of The Flint Comix, which like the festival itself is in its eighth year. It publishes monthly and is available free at locations throughout Flint, including The Lunch Studio, The White Horse Tavern and Flint Institute of Arts.

The first Comix Con was a celebration to mark the production of the first year of The Flint Comix, said Randy Zimmerman, the editor/publisher of The Flint Comix and founder of Flint Comix Con. Ultimately, it developed as a community-wide thank you by “giving folks a chance to meet the creators and have a little taste of what a comic convention is really all about.”

It was with modest expectations that a second convention in a single year was tried in 2015, but the response continued to be overwhelming, Zimmerman said. 

“(The Comix Con events) have gotten so big, I think a fall show is kind of mandatory,” Zimmerman said, who noted that support for Comix Con always has been strong but that attendance doubled when the event moved in its sixth year to the Flint Farmers’ Market with the help of Karianne Martus, the market’s manager.

“They always have a big day, whenever we’re there,” says Zimmerman, conscious of the mutual nature of the beneficial effects. “(Visitors) come into the show and look around, and then they go eat lunch, and then they come back and buy things.”

For another look at Fall Fest, this event page and Facebook event offer more details.
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