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The Journal Gazette

  • Photos by Mike Moore | The Journal Gazette The Billingsley family, dressed in full Thor attire, attend Fantasticon at Grand Wayne Center on Saturday.  

  • Stormtroopers from the 501st Northern Darkness Garrison were in attendance with about 1,000 others at Fantasticon on Saturday.  

Sunday, October 29, 2017 1:00 am

Fans flock to 2nd Fantasticon

About 1,000 attend 1st day of comic book-fantasy event at Grand Wayne Center

SHERRY SLATER | The Journal Gazette

If you go

What: Fantasticon, a mid-sized show for comic book and pop culture collectors and fans

When: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. today

Where: Grand Wayne Center, 120 W. Jefferson Blvd.

Admission: $8; children 5 and younger free

For more information: Go to

Third-grader Samson Owens loves riddles.

“What kind of city has no people?” he asked Saturday. His triumphant answer: “Electri-city!”

So it should come as no surprise that the 8-year-old Decatur boy chose to be the Riddler, a supervillain, for Halloween this year. His little brother decided to be Robin, another character in the DC Comics universe.

“I like everything” about Robin, 4-year-old Abel said about Batman's sidekick.

The Owens brothers – and their dad, David – were among about 1,000 visitors to Fantasticon S5-EP15, a comic book and fantasy convention in downtown Fort Wayne. This is the second year for the show, which attracts dozens of fans outfitted in often elaborate costumes.

A remarkable cast of characters attended the show on Saturday, including armed Star Wars stormtroopers, the green-skinned Incredible Hulk, web-slinging Spider-Man and a crew of four Star Trek characters. Even Cinderella, a Disney princess, was roaming the convention floor.

Interspersed with those familiar faces were characters from Japanese animation, video games, Japanese comics and more.

Danganronpa fans Dominic Uddowlah and Jessica Todd dressed as Monokuma and Kyoko Kirigiri, respectively.

“It's just one of my favorite characters from the game,” said 13-year-old Jessica, who was dressed in a long lavender wig, purple jacket, white blouse and black, pleated skirt. “This character is the ultimate detective.”

Those who play the video game try to survive as various characters are killed off. With each death, they present evidence and debate whodunnit before voting. If they're right, the killer dies. If not, everyone except the killer dies.

Dominic and Todd were in a group of five Woodside Middle School friends who attended the convention.

Cassie Rentfrow, who was dressed as Shiro from Voltron Legendary Defender, was another member of the group.

“He's brave, and he cares about the people he's around,” the 13-year-old said, explaining why she chose the character.

Melissa Rentfrow, Cassie's mom, admitted she's mystified sometimes by what her daughter is talking about. But she considers it a harmless hobby.

“If she was really going to be into something and be a fan of something, I'm glad it's this and not a boy band,” Rentfrow said. “It's animation. They can be very creative.”

John Gutman, who was there with his 14-year-old daughter Lucy, agreed.

“I think it's great,” he said. “She likes to draw and write fan fiction.”

Rentfrow appreciates that her daughter can enjoy fantasy conventions by mingling with kids who have similar interests. They can easily pick each other out of a crowd, based on the costumes they're wearing, she said.

Joe Nieporte, Fantasticon's promoter and co-founder, said the convention fills a need. The big-city comic conventions charge as much as $50 just for admission, he said.

“It was pricing a lot of the fans out of the shows,” he said. “We're affordable, and we bring the show to you.”

And, he said, the event seems to attract more hard-core collectors and families with young children.

David Owens, the father of the Riddler and Robin, likes sharing comics with his sons. It's also a passion for his father-in-law, the boys' grandfather, who is a vendor at this year's show.

Even so, Owens exercises parental control over what his kids see.

“You've still got to pick and choose which comics because some of the art can get a little racy,” he said. “But, for the most part, it's good, clean fun.”