McKinney said that past weekends have even ended with people walking out of the convention with a job offer from companies that want them to write or draw for them.
Siena Fallon, director of media and communications for the convention, first attended N.C. Comicon six years ago as a first-year at UNC.
Since graduating, they’ve worked as operations manager for Ultimate Comics in Chapel Hill and have attended or worked on the convention every following year. Fallon is passionate about the comic industry and is grateful to be a part of a show that provides such an optimistic voice for the community.
“We want to make it known that if you’re an artist, having a career in comics is not the impossible dream that some people might think it is,” Fallon said.
The convention will have well-known panelists such as Kevin Eastman, Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti, who can offer insight into what it’s like to work in the profession.
Eastman, co-creator of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, will host panels on Saturday about his life in the comic industry and how his career was changed by the turtles.
Greg Cipes, voice of Michelangelo in TMNT and Beast Boy in Teen Titans Go!, will be on one of the panels, which may be exciting for parents with young kids. One of the original TMNT movies will also be screened at Comicon’s retro film festival, Comiquest, on each day over the full weekend of events.
The Comiquest Film Festival will also be showing the 1994 film "The Crow," one of the first big-budget superhero movies ever made. James O’Barr, creator of "The Crow" comics, will also be at the convention discussing his work. Tickets to the film festival are $5 per person or free with the purchase of a pass to N.C. Comicon.
Comicon also offers many other events for attendees — from a cosplay contest on Sunday in the Carolina Theatre, to a room for attendees to take pictures with cosplayers and a cosplay dance party on Saturday night.
McKinney said that the dance party is a major hit every year, and people from Imagine Circus from Raleigh even come out to dance in elaborate LED costumes.
N.C. Comicon t-shirts will be sold over the weekend, along with apparel and enamel pins from local vendors.
There are many exclusive comics, including a new glow in the dark Rick and Morty comic and an Umbrella Academy comic that won’t be on shelves until the end of the month.
This year, N.C. Comicon is partnered with the charity Operation Sidekick, a group out of Charlotte that trains rescue dogs to be therapy dogs for veterans with PTSD. The group will be bringing some of their dogs to the convention in costume, and a share of the profits from the weekend will go to the cause.
McKinney said this is the convention’s first year working with the charity, but he’s very excited and feels that it’s a perfect match. In honor of Veteran’s Day weekend, veterans and active military can also get in for free on Sunday.
N.C. Comicon will take place at the Durham Convention Center all weekend, from Friday at 3 p.m. to Sunday at 5 p.m.