The Little Apple Comic Expo brought 55 vendors from all over the state and country Saturday inside the K-State Student Union. The vendors represented the diversity of the comic book convention’s attendees mirroring interests in superheros, sci-fi, fantasy, music and writing.
Saturday was the third year for the convention, also simply known as LACE.
The afternoon included multiple demonstrations, an adult and children’s costume contest, gaming tournaments and many attendees dressed as their favorite characters — some in handmade costumes. Throughout LACE there were mini-events like; “What would the Hulk read?,” “Creating Comics”, “So you want to build a cosplay?,” and “Fan activism: Turning fans into heroes.”
The Broken Arm Academy of Swordsmanship — an organization focused on the study and teaching of Armizare as taught by medieval masters of combat — demonstrated its practice. Roberto Trigueros, senior instructor and founder of the organization, was there with other members presenting the demonstrations. He has been studying the art for 12 years and has taught the skill for the past four years.
“We have been doing demos here since the first one,” Trigueros said. “They have been very gracious in inviting and allowing us to have this space and doing our demonstrations, since the inception of LACE.”
(Photos by Hailey McClellan)
One of the main events of LACE was held in the Union Ballroom where cosplayers, families and visitors explored vendors selling vintage comic books, new reads, toys and crafts.
But another draw of conventions like LACE is the opportunity for fans to meet artists and writers in the industry.
Illustrator Candice Dailey was one of the many artists at the event. Dailey said this was her second LACE.
Manhattan-based music store Sisters of Sound was also at LACE and brought records featuring music from various superhero and comic book-inspired films.
“It’s fun seeing all the kids with their parents,” Sisters of Sound’s Michael Darling said. “It’s really family friendly.”
It was the music store’s first year being a part of LACE and co-owner Sarah Cunnick said they were excited to have an alternative to being open in AggieVille on Fake Patty’s Day.
“This is so much better, I’ve seen a ton of our customers in here,” Cunnick said. “Some of them followed us here, and some were already coming.”
There were also many authors at the event. Nicholas Forristal came to LACE from Kansas City. She wrote the Chronicles of M series and many others.
“I like the size of this event, the spacing,” Forristal said. “There is a good crowd here — really friendly.”
LACE co-founders Ali and Josh smith said Saturday’s attendance was strong — and perhaps their best since the first one.
“Someone on the radio asked if this Saturday was your last day alive, what would you do?” Ali said. “A little kid texted in, ‘I want to go to the comic con with my dad.’
“And I was like, yes! That’s why I do this.”
The Smiths say LACE will be held at the Manhattan Conference Center next year for two days.