‘Pop’ in to pop culture celebration

Posted Sept. 16, 2009, at 5:30 p.m.

It’s not easy being geek. Well, at least it wasn’t until BangPop came to town.

The superhero-loving, video game-beating, comic book-devouring masses will be celebrating this weekend with the second annual BangPop Comic Book and Pop Culture Convention. The nerdy fun rules the Bangor Civic Center on Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 19-20, as a host of writers, artists and industry folks talk shop, show films, throw parties, and cast a bright spotlight on all things pop culture.

Event founder and organizer Gibran Graham capitalized on the success of last year’s inaugural BangPop by doing the exact same thing — only bigger and better, starting with expanding the convention to two days instead of one.

“The first thing I learned from last year was that anything I was worried about, I shouldn’t have worried about. Everyone there was just so overjoyed to have something like this here,” said Graham, the organizational spark behind the SnowCon Gaming Convention and the Lebowski Bowl-a-rama. “We just want more of it all. More films, more guests, more kids’ stuff, more everything.”

BangPop will show two movies, including the second-ever U.S. screening of the documentary “Nightmares in Red, White and Blue: The Evolution of the American Horror Film,” and the humorous documentary “Nerdcore Rising,” about the burgeoning subgenre of “nerdcore” rap.

“Nerdcore hip-hop is what you’d expect — white guys, rapping about nerdy things, like video games and Magic: The Gathering,” said Graham. “But it’s also really fun and really entertaining, and it really fits in with the whole spirit of BangPop.”

As for writers and artists, the comic creator couple Dave Roman and Raina Telgemeier will be on hand to talk about their work in both youth comics and in adapting an X-Men series to a Manga-style comic book. Artist Ron Fortier, who has worked on comics about man characters, including The Green Hornet and the Hulk, will be on hand, as will Jay Piscopo, author and illustrator of “The Undersea Adventures of Capt’n Eli,” an all-ages graphic novel series.

Rounding out the guests will be fantasy authors Catherynne Valente, Kristen Britain and Elizabeth Hand, as well as Alex Irvine, Walter H. Hunt and Christopher Mills. Mark Ricketts, creator of the locally featured Moose Mountain comic strip and designer of this year’s BangPop mascot, Lumber Jill, will also be on hand. Comic book vendors from all over New England will be selling their stuff all weekend.

New to the schedule is more programming for kids — in fact, Sunday is geared specifically toward the younger crowd, including kids’ drawing workshops, kids’ authors and illustrators, and a performance by the Flannery Brothers. As before, teachers are invited to BangPop free of charge, and there are several panels meant for educators. There’s also a CosPlay — that’s costume play — Masquerade scheduled on Saturday afternoon.

“We had a great steampunk couple last year, as well as some video game characters and anime characters,” said Graham. “I’ve heard from folks all year that they’ve been working on their costumes. It keeps it really interesting.”

BangPop will take place from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday at the Bangor Civic Center. Admission is $15 for the entire weekend or $10 for one day; for a complete schedule, visit www.bangpopmaine.com.

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