FITCHBURG — Comic book fans from across the region are looking forward to the return of Plastic City Comic Con for the first time since 2019.
Keith and Amy Gleason, who founded Plastic City Comic Con in 2016, feel the same way.
The 2020 and 2021 editions were canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Last year’s Comic Con was scrubbed in early May, three weeks before Gov. Charlie Baker announced the dropping of most COVID restrictions across the state.
“I don’t think people were still ready at that point, though,” Keith Gleason told Fitchburg Access Television last month. “Now, we’ve been to a few shows in April and May and the crowds are big, and people want to come back. I think this time is right. I’m hoping for a big crowd.”
The fifth annual comic book convention will be held Saturday, July 16 at the Wallace Civic Center. Inside the arena will be two floors of vendors, artists, authors, crafters and more, including around 20 kid-friendly vendors on the second floor.
“The whole show is family-friendly,” Amy Gleason said, “so when we say kid-friendly it’s more like the real kids’ stuff,” such as artwork aimed at children or featuring characters popular with kids.
Special guests will include Joe St. Pierre, who drew for the Spider-Man, Venom and X-Men comic book series; Paul Pelletier, a Maine-based artist who worked on the Superman, Aquaman and Batgirl series; wrestler Justin Credible from Lucky Pro Wrestling (which appeared at Fitchburg Civic Days earlier this month); Peter Simeti, founder and publisher of Alterna Comics, along with some of the company’s artists and authors (including Keith Gleason’s own “Mighty Mascots” series); Jim Lawson and Michael Dooney, who worked on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comic book series, and Will Murray, co-creator of Marvel Comics’ Squirrel Girl.
Keith Gleason said people are welcome to show up in “cosplay,” dressing up as their favorite comic book characters.
The first edition of Plastic City Comic Con was held in 2016 at the Leominster Veterans’ Memorial Center, featuring around 40 vendors. In fact, the Comic Con’s name uses one of the city of Leominster’s nicknames, “The Plastics City.” Although the convention moved to its current home in Fitchburg in 2017, its name has endured.
Referring to the first Plastic City Comic Con in 2016, Keith Gleason said, “We really underestimated the popularity of comic cons because that show was crazy. We still do talk about it. Now, it’s grown to this monster size, which is great, and the Wallace Civic Center’s perfect for it.”
“Come on down to the convention,” Amy Gleason said. “We’d love to see everybody.”
The fifth annual Plastic City Comic Con will run from 10 am to 6 pm Saturday, July 16 at the Wallace Civic Center, 1000 John Fitch Highway, Fitchburg. Admission is $10 for adults and free for children 12 and under. Parking is free. Tickets may be bought online at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/355457070667.
For more information, visit www.plasticcitycomiccon.com or its Facebook, Instagram or Twitter pages (search for “Plastic City Comic Con”).