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Sholten Singer/The Herald-Dispatch Nine-year-old Jett Stakely, left, and 9-year-old Max Karle pose for a photo with a cosplayer during the eighth annual Tri-State Comic Con (Tricon) on Saturday, June 8, 2019, at the Huntington Civic Arena.

HUNTINGTON — A slew of comic enthusiasts and otherwise nerdy folks descended on downtown Huntington to take in a sampling of the best of geek culture Saturday at the Tri-State Comic Convention, or Tricon, at the Big Sandy Superstore Arena.

The convention was created by local comic creators James Maddox and Eric Watkins in 2011.

“It turns out in Huntington, Charleston and in our region, there’s a lot of fun, creative people that want to express their excitement, and we’ve given them that kind of venue to do that,” Maddox said.

Though the event is comic-centric, mostly due to the creators being comic creators themselves, Maddox said they incorporate all kinds of other things nerds love, like wrestling, video games, movies and television shows. Special guests included WWE Superstar Ryback and various comic artists, including Tommy Patterson, whose work includes cover art for “Game of Thrones” graphic novels and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

Maddox said Tricon is where a lot of local artists and exhibitors get their start before moving on to bigger conventions.

“To know this is where they broke into the business is a point of pride for me,” Maddox said. “I think that the fact that we’re able to give people a platform to do the thing they might not do if we weren’t here — that makes me happy.”

Tricon concluded Saturday evening with an auction to benefit the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, which protects freedom of speech and copyright for comic creators, and a costume contest.

The Charley Quinn costume, accompanied by Ms. Joker — a gender-bent take on the classic Batman villainous duo — won in the under 10 age group. The Camden Park Employee costume won in the “Fallout 76” category, which was added this year as a tribute to the video game based in West Virginia that was released in November 2018.

Best in Show went to a pair dressed as Spartans from the “Halo” video game series, and the Promoter’s Pick award went to a couple dressed as Bonnie and Clyde.

Best female costume went to Ashley Davis’ Hellgirl concept, another gender-bent take on a popular comic character. The Best Male costume was awarded to Jalen Walker and his take on HIM, an enemy of the Powerpuff Girls.

Walker, 18, of Huntington, said this is only his third time cosplaying, and it is his best costume yet. He said he loves all kinds of villains from television and comics, and he chose HIM as his costume because he hadn’t seen it widely done.

Walker, who does theater, said he loves to perform, which is what makes cosplaying so much fun, and seeing other people’s costumes is what makes conventions worthwhile.

“I like to see all their inspirations — all their costumes are gorgeous, and I would recommend anyone come by just to see all the costumes,” Walker said.

Follow reporter Megan Osborne on Twitter and Facebook @megosborneHD.

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