Superhumans, mutants, heroes, and villains from galaxies and universes far, far away descended on the North Bergen Free Public Library for the township’s third annual Comic Con, a tradition that mirrors some of the large-scale conventions held in New York City and San Diego.
Three years ago, library staff members pitched the idea of bringing the convention to North Bergen and eventually got permission from the company to adopt the name for its own hometown version.
On June 19, the crowd of comic and fantasy fanatics donned the garb of mainstays from the universes of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, and an array of movies and video games. For several hours participants shopped the booths run by illustrators and vendors for comic books and other merchandise.
Visitors took in creative comic book workshops, “nerd trivia,” crafts, video games, and a screening of the film Captain Marvel.
Batman has no limits
Comic book artist Will Torres was a repeat guest. His resume includes working on the blockbuster The Walking Dead comic series, along with his own upcoming series, Mr. Venture, in collaboration with Stan Lee. Torres drew portraits, including one of Mayor Nicholas Sacco as Batman. Last year, Torres re-imagined Sacco as a zombie.
Other Jersey-based comic book creators on hand included Matt Buttich, a Manahawkin-based artist; William Olmo, a Walking Dead and Mr. Venture contributor; and Christian Espiritusanto, an East Orange-based freelance artist who specializes in comic books.
The excitement reached a peak when a modded-out Chevrolet Camaro with wing doors, bat decals, and other gadgets pulled up. Retired Detective Genaro Ortiz, Jr., better known as New Jersey’s very own Batman, stepped out of his “Batmaro” to assume the identity he’s known for across New Jersey.
Ortiz has donned the bat suit— or more accurately, a sequence of upgraded bat suits— for decades. He makes frequent statewide appearances to present law enforcement-based safety tips to kids and teens, at schools, and in other venues.
Before the day’s costumed capers came to a halt, attendees strutted their super-suits down a runway for a fashion show, and the winners of a tricky tray raffle were announced.