The Hippo


Jun 5, 2020








Nothing but the comics
Old-school comic book show comes to Nashua


 A new comic event is going back to the basics with a focus on comics and the people who make them. The first annual Granite State Comic Fest will take place in Nashua on Sunday, April 22, and will feature dozens of comic book creators, comic artists and comic vendors. 

Sixteen years ago, Manchester comic store Double Midnight Comics organized the first Granite State Comic Con. It was a small event, focused entirely on comics with little more than an expo of comic creators and vendors. Now, the annual comic convention, held every September in Manchester, features not only comic creators and vendors, but also celebrity guests, educational panels and workshops, costume contests and more. 
Seeing it grow over the years has been exciting, Double Midnight owner Chris Proulx said, but part of him always wanted to rekindle the simplicity of the inaugural event. 
“We missed the old-school comic shows where it was all about meeting the artists and buying comics,” he said. “We’ve tried to keep [Granite State Comic Con] centered around comic books, but when [an event] gets that big and there’s all this other stuff going on, you have things competing against each other, and the comics can get a little bit drowned out.” 
That’s why Proulx partnered with Comic Art House, which represents more than 50 comic artists, to create Granite State Comic Fest, a throwback to the early days of comic book conventions, before they started including things beyond comics. 
“We’ve been comic readers our whole lives. We own comic book shops. Comics are what we love most,” Proulx said. “With a smaller event like this, we can focus purely on comic books and the comic-making process, and give the artists a chance to really show off what they can do.” 
The artists come from around New England and include independent artists as well as artists who have done work for major comic book publishers like DC Comics and Marvel Comics. They will be selling and signing their comics and art prints, and some will be creating custom art for people onsite. Vendors will have comic books and graphic novels, toys and action figures, cards and other comic-related collectibles for sale.
Additionally, the first 100 attendees will receive goodie bags filled with frameable art prints, exclusive comics featuring artwork by some of the participating artists and a page of original artwork. There will also be raffles with prizes including comic books and comic-related novelty items. 
For comic artists like Chris Uminga, who is coming up from Connecticut for the event, it’s a unique opportunity to showcase their work. 
“It goes back to the roots of what comic conventions used to be, before all the celebrity guest lists and photo ops,” Uminga said. “It’s all about the comics and the artists, and that’s a really nice thing, because events like that are few and far between these days.” 
Uminga’s comic art style is “a mix between cute and creepy, with exaggerated features and a spooky twist,” he said, and is inspired by things like old monster movies, graffiti and street art and the classic comic books he read as a kid. In his eight years as a professional comic artist, he has done cover work for comics like Ghostbusters, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Star Wars Adventures, and designed a line of action figures for DC Comics set to be released in June. 
The best part about participating in comic conventions, particularly smaller ones like Granite State Comic Fest, Uminga said, is the sense of community between the artists and their fellow artists and fans. 
“You get to showcase your work to these people who have all come together with the same passion and the same fandom,” he said. “It’s a unique experience.” 

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