The Fifth Annual Northeast Ohio ComicCon will fly into the Bradley Road Soccer Sportsplex on Sunday with a star-studded list of guests and events.

The featured guest is Cleveland native Tony Isabella, the creator of Black Lightning and writer of stories for Spiderman, Daredevil, Luke Cage and many other comic titles. Other special guests include: Tom Mandrake, the artist on several major comic titles, including Batman and The Spectre, and who is currently creating covers for Army of Darkness/ Bubba Ho-Tep. Also attending will be Paul Pellitier, the current artist on DC’s Batgirl, who also worked on other major titles for Marvel and DC comics.

“Tony Isabella is a legend in comics and always interesting to talk and listen (to),” said Eric Anderson, the organizer for this year’s event and owner of Comics are Go in Elyria. “People will come just to see him, but there is a lot more going on which makes this a great event for people.”

This is the third straight year the Northeast Ohio ComicCon has been held at the Soccer Sportsplex, 31515 Lorain Road. The event draws between 2,500 and 3,000 people and Anderson said he expects a comparable number this year.

“It’s been a great location for this event,” Anderson said. “There’s a lot of room for all the different activities and people who come out.”

Anderson said he is organizing panel discussions on comics-related topics that Isabella and other professionals will take part in.

“People enjoy hearing the different opinions on what’s going on in the industry,” Anderson said.

The event will cover the complex’s two indoor soccer fields, one that will feature more than 30 dealers from throughout the region who specialize in vintage comics and collectibles. The other field will feature more than 25 comic creators and artists.

“With all the superhero movies over the last few years, we’re seeing a lot of interest in those heroes and others from those kind of comics,” Anderson said.

Besides comics, there will be more than a dozen vendors specializing in modern collectibles and pop culture accessories, such as T-shirts, chocolate, Funko Pops, creative designs, and prints featuring art inspired by comics and movies, Anderson said. There also will be three local cosplay groups and a cosplay contest; with those who attend in costume getting a discount on admission. WBNX-TV is helping sponsor the event and will have pop culture prizes at the event, Anderson said. Make-A-Wish of Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana will have a charity raffle table with items donated by the vendors who are attending the event.

Paul Schumann, chairman of North Olmsted City Council’s Building, Zoning and Development Committee, said the event is a big plus for the city.

“It’s great getting that many people coming into the city from all over,” he said. “They’ll be spending money and checking out the area.”

North Olmsted Planning and Development Director Kim Lieber said North Olmsted is a great location to host trade shows, conferences and social gatherings.

“Proximity to the airport, highway accessibility, a variety of hotels and dining and great shopping makes our community the perfect destination for all types of events, big and small,” Lieber said.

Parking is always a challenge, Anderson said. The Soccer Sportsplex parking lot fills up early, so to alleviate the pressure of looking for an empty space, Neo ComicCon will provide shuttle service from the Lorain County Community College Ridge Campus Annex south of the Soccer Sportsplex. The shuttle runs in a continuous loop from the American flag pole in the LCCC Ridge Campus parking area to the front door of the Soccer Sportsplex.

Patrons who don't wish to use the shuttle service are encouraged to carpool, Anderson said.

Tickets are $7 ($5 for those in costume). Children under 13 are free. The event will run from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information visit www.neocomiccon.com, email info@neocomiccon, or contact Eric Anderson at 440-695-8401.

Contact this reporter at assoceditor@westlifenews.com or 440-871-5797.

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