Bellingham ComiCon was launched in 2009 with the support of many Northwest convention dealers. Long time friends and colleagues Bill Wormstedt (Center Con) and Richard Finn (Portland Comic Book Show) both lent their expertise during the inception of the show.
After searching for a venue, I found the Fox Hall at the Hampton Inn in Bellingham. It seemed perfect for a show so I booked the facility and every thing started coming together.
Every comic convention needs a few guests so I called my friend Randy Emberlin and said "Hey Randy, I wanna put on a Comicon in Bellingham. Would you be my guest?" His response was "Absolutely!". Coincidentally, Bill Wormstedt's old high school and college buddy, Bob Smith had just moved back to the Northwest. He was currently inking the "Archie Gets Married" storyline over Stan Goldberg's pencils. They were addressing the age old question, would Archie marry Betty or Veronica? This story caught everyone’s curiosity. Bob also went to college at WWU so it was great to have him here, considering he had been living on the east coast and had not been to a show in Washington for 15 years. Paul Chadwick was also kind enough to join us too, as he usually spent more time home working on his art than making convention appearances.
Many local merchants including The Comics Place, Michael's Books and Eagles Hobbies & Games passed out handbills to all their customers
We only had 260 fans through the door but that wasn't bad for a first show. One thing was apparent, a vibe in the room that said, "This is kinda cool". It was obvious the fans in Whatcom County were hungry to have a show of their own.
In 2010 they proved it. We moved the show to the Ferndale Events Center. At the time I thought it a bit bigger than we needed but thought we could grow into it. Surprisingly we sold out of tables and doubled our attendance.
That year we were proud to bring Bellingham’s own son, Erik Larsen to the show. Erik did a whirlwind visit, flying in the day before the show and flying out the day after. Being a founding member of Image Comics, he had a plethora of responsibilities at work but took time out of his busy schedule to autograph and visit with con goers.
2011 brought new things to the show. The 501st Legion turned out and we raised several hundred dollars for the “Blue Skies for Children” charity. Also this year brought our first costume contest and was organized by Aja at Eagles Hobbies & Games.
By 2012 the word had really spread about the show. The ComiCon was attended by 1400 fans. The costume contest required double the space. Roman and Chris from The Comics Place volunteered to coordinate two panels for us, both of which went over very well.
The 501st had returned and raised $600 for the “Alternative Humane Society of Whatcom County”. Haggen's, Fred Meyer and Costco donated goods for the concessions with proceeds benefiting the AHS with sales of almost $400. That was an incredible $1000 donated by the attendees of the show!
We've received great support from local media including the Bellingham Herald, Cascadia Weekly, and KISM's Brad & John Show.
Just a few great guests we’ve had the honor to welcome during the first four years include Michael and Janet Gilbert, Shannon Wheeler, Stephen Sadowski, Ian Boothby, Pia Guerra, James Lloyd, Nina Matsumoto, Stefano Gaudiano, and Michael Oeming.
I look forward to future shows of the Bellingham ComiCon as we celebrate comics and pop culture! See you at the show!
Come back to the site frequently and watch for updates!
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