HANFORD — Not even occasional downpours and puddles of muddy rainwater could keep fans from flocking to the local Super Bowl of nerd culture over the weekend — the Hanford-Visalia Comic Con.
The return of the traveling Turlock-based Ohana Comic Con at the Kings Fair drew in pop culture fans of all types. Trekkies, Whovians, Browncoats, Bronies, Potterheads and other similarly named groups fanatical in their love of specific books, TV shows and movies met at the fairgrounds to shop, collect and show their support for their quirky passions.
“Because I wanted to,” said 3-year-old Jack Taylor when asked why he wanted to dress up in a Captain America costume for convention. The shy nearly-four-year old found the words to add that the “Avengers” character is his favorite superhero.
“When he gets his haircut, he asks the barber for the ‘Captain America’ look,” mother Nicole Taylor said.
Taylor, clad head-to-toe in the costume of the Star-Spangled avenger, participated in the climax of the convention, the cosplay costume contest.
About two dozen costumed locals participated in the contest, vying for bragging rights and gift certificates. From those barely old enough to crawl to those old enough to have children of their own, wearing everything from store-bought Halloween costumes to their own tailor-made custom creations, cosplayers are always the belle of the Ohana Comic Con ball.
When introduced by event MC Matthew Fernandez, cosplaying as the wise-cracking Marvel comics mutant Deadpool, contestants would approach the panel of judges, oftentimes in character as whomever they were dressed as.
When Taylor’s name was called, he ran circles around the competition — literally. The crowd applauded as Taylor energetically ran in a circle in front of the judges — so fast that his trademark shield flew off into the crowd. Taylor would go on to win the third-place prize in the children’s category of the competition.
On the other end of the adorable-to-evil character scale, Hanford resident Anthony Hernandez won first prize in the adult category for his portrayal of the murderous Negan character from “The Walking Dead,” intimidating the judges — in character, of course — with his infamous barbed wire-wrapped baseball bat, Lucille.
“I didn’t really expect to win,” Hernandez said. “It was my first time ever cosplaying.”
The Ohana Comic will return to the area for the Visalia Comic Con on April 13 at the Visalia Veterans Memorial District.
Visit https://www.facebook.com/TurlockComicCon/ for more information.