ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Crowds of people of all ages dressed in their best costumes for the return of Albany Comic-Con. The event returned this year after a two-year hiatus and was hosted at the Polish Community Center for the first time.
“Feels fantastic. It’s like coming home,” said Guilderland resident Frank Gillen, who dressed as Spider-Man.
“It’s like having all the old friends back in the neighborhood. It’s been two years, it’s been hard trying to figure out a way back,” added John Belskis, the event’s organizer.
Many are eager to return to the event that brings people who share the same passion together. “It really just makes you feel like you belong somewhere. It’s really heartwarming just to go around and see, ‘oh I’m not the only one that likes to do this thing.’ You definitely feel more accepted when you’re around people who like the same thing as you,” said Gillen.
Visitors also got the chance to find some of their favorite comics, as well as plenty of unique ones, including the first-ever “Star Wars” comic, which was released before the movie back in 1977.
“Comic fans really got a sneak peek at what they were in for,” Brett Putnam explained.
Putnam has been selling comics for over four decades, originally making several hundred dollars at a similar event when he was a teenager. Over the years, he’s amassed a collection worth over $1 million, including X-Men No. 1.
“1963. It’s the first appearance of all five X-Men, Professor X, Magneto, their big arch-villain, and it really got the ball rolling for what Mutants were,” he explained.
In addition to vendors, there were also a number of comic book artists in attendance to showcase some of their work and offer some insight to those interested, including Russ Braun, who dreamed of being a comic artist for years. “You get to do some really interesting, amazing stuff and work with some amazing people,” he said.
Throughout the beginning of Braun’s young career, he had the opportunity to learn from some of the best in the industry, including working on Batman comics with José Luis García-López.
Now, he’s hoping to pass that passion and insight to the next generation. “I worked with a lot of comic veterans early on, that taught me a lot. If I have that chance to give some of that back, pass that information on, that knowledge on, that’s also what I’m here for,” said Braun