Between the Intergalactic Krewe of Chewbacchus and the big and small fan and comic conventions throughout the year, New Orleans is slowly making a name for itself with its geek community. This past weekend, the New Orleans Comic Convention, hosted by Mighty Con, was held at the Pontchartrain Center in Kenner, LA, for fans of all ages. While many conventions have shifted to being more about celebrating pop culture and fandoms in general, Mighty Con keeps a strong focus on where these types of conventions got their start; comic books. The New Orleans Comic Con is no exception.
Dozens of booths have set up shop with boxes and boxes of comics. New issues of D.C.’s Batman and Marvel’s Avengers. New trade paperback collections of some non-superhero comics like Saga. Even some classic titles signed by artists and authors, kept safe in sealed plastic covers. No matter where you looked, you would see comics and comic book fans carefully digging through each box searching for the one issue missing from their collection. Which isn’t to say there weren’t other things at the con, too. Next to many comic book tables were booths selling collectible items, handmade jewelry and costume pieces, and one table selling some amazing recreations of weapons from popular movies, games, and TV shows (I had trouble stopping myself from buying a $300 sword…). But, without a doubt, comics is the New Orleans Comic Con’s focus.
Among the vendors were also rows of various comic book artists who’ve worked for major and small comic publishers alike. “Artwork is something I have a passion for,” said New Orleans comic book artist Jermaine Mercadel (@zombielionart).Mercadel, surrounded by his art featuring characters from comics, anime like Dragon Ball Z, and even Power Rangers. “I’ve been doing this about 26 years this month,Me and my brother were big Power Ranger fans. I think it was around 1993, he started making Power Rangers masks out of cardboard, and I wanted to do it with him, but I could draw stick figures with muscles. Then the first comic book hero I remember drawing is Spider-Man, and that was 1995. Then, I just kept going and going and I got put in art classes each year for school.”
Mighty Con first hosted the New Orleans Comic Con in 2018 in Westwego’s Alario Event Center. Its second convention may not be much bigger than its first, but it feels like it is growing. One change from last year is the schedule of events taking place at the convention. Last year, the big event was its cosplay contest. This year, while holding both adult and kid cosplay contests, they’ve also added a few panels of celebrities who spoke about their experience in their respective fields. Personally, panels are my favorite part of going to a convention. The cosplay and the show floor is fun, but panels give fans the chance to speak with some of their favorite celebrities, ask them questions, and even connect with other fans.
Photo of Jermaine Mercadel by Trey Guillotine