ONTARIO – The Border Town Comic Con is back.
After a three-year hiatus, the popular, two-day event begins Saturday, March 18, and runs through Sunday, March 19, at Four Rivers Cultural Center. Doors open Saturday at 9 a.m. and close at 6 p.m. Sunday’s hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Tickets are $10 per day or $15 for a two-day pass. Tickets can be purchased at the door or online at https://bit.ly/BTCCtix2023.
The event, spearheaded by local resident Randall Kirby, began in 2016. Since then, it has grown in popularity. The last show was in 2019 before the Covid pandemic forced a hiatus.
“There are a lot of different things you can do at a comic convention,” said Kirby.
The event will feature a variety of comic books, art, vendors, panels and big-name comic and graphic novel artists.
“There will be all sorts of genre things to sink into,” said Kirby.
Headlining the event will be Marvel and DC writer Jeff Parker along with artists Molly Muldoon, Terry Blas and Chan Chau.
“Parker is very well known, worked on Batman, Hulk, Agents of Atlas, Aqua Man, Johnny Quest, and is an artist,” said Kirby.
Chau is the creator of several New York Times best-selling graphic novel adaptations while Blas is a Portland artist and author. Muldoon is also graphic novel writer.
Kirby, who is also a professional cartoonist, was born and raised in Ontario.
After living in Portland for a while, he returned to Ontario about 10 years ago to help his dad, Ontario City Councilor John Kirby, run Kinney Bros & Keele True Value Hardware.
“When I came back, I was looking for some way to have a cartooning community in this area,” he said.
Kirby said he explored opportunities for some type of convention with Treasure Valley Community College, the Ontario Community Library and Four Rivers Cultural Center.
“I got some encouraging feedback,” he said.
That feedback led to the first Border Town Comic Con, he said.
“The first year we didn’t know what would happen. We were actually kind of amazed at the turnout that first year and realized we could keep going,” said Kirby.
Over time the convention expanded from one day to two.
Kirby said a newcomer to the convention will be “bombarded by sights you’ve never seen before.”
“There are all kinds of ways to experience it. You can buy old toys or comic books or wear costumes – we have a costume contest the second day. There are all sorts of things to buy, cartoons, books, comic book posters and stuffed animals,” said Kirby.
Kirby said along with question-and-answer panels, there will be workshops where youth can learn how to draw.
“On the auditorium stage there will be wrestling both days,” he said.
There will also be plenty of Cosplayers – individuals dressed up in the costume of their favorite comic book or fantasy character, he said.
ProSoul Games in Ontario will also be on hand to offer gaming opportunities throughout both days, said Kirby.
“I want people who are not artists to have a place to come to and see art and experience the wonder and joy it can bring you,” said Kirby.
Kirby said there will be 98 display tables at the event.
“I can’t express the variety of different things you can do. It’s amazing,” said Kirby.
News tip? Contact reporter Pat Caldwell at [email protected].
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