From mingling with Star Wars' Mandalorian Mercs and Star Trek's Klingons, to schmoozing with comic book artists and publishers, to trading for a beloved Superman comic book that your mother threw away when you were eleven years old, it was all happening at Lehigh Valley Comic Con.
The Lehigh Valley Comic Con, which is held quarterly, packed hundreds of comic book fans into the Schnecksville Fire House, where thousands of new and vintage graphic novels from action heroes to kid's comedies to Classics Illustrated were sold, traded and discussed among the local fan base.
Twelve years ago, Karen and Bob Rello started the Lehigh Valley Comic Con. "We have an old-school comic book show, Karen explained. Some of the bigger shows feature electronic games. This is more of a place where fans can meet one-on-one with the featured guests. Two of the featured guests were Scott Hanna and Dan DiDio.
Scott Hanna from Riegelsville is an inking artist that draws for both Marvel and DC comics. He is currently working on Iron Man, Wolverine Infinite, and the Adventures of Superman.
"My specialty is inking, which is the middle part of the art process," Hanna explained. "After a writer creates the script, a penciler does the initial drawing, followed by the inker who does the black and white stage of the drawing, a colorist who does the color stage, and then a letterer who does the captions. We all work together to come out with the end product."
"We could be working in different countries. I work with people as far away as Australia, Turkey, Brazil, Philippines and, he joked, New Jersey. I work either from hard copies or by email." Nowadays, he scans his finished inked drawing and emails it to the colorist. They work as a team, although they have never met in person.
Dan DiDio co-publishes DC Comics with Jim Lee. He's been with DC Comics for 12 years, and served as executive editor before becoming co-publisher.
"I love Comic Con," DiDio said. "This is the type of show that I cut my teeth on and became a fan in. This is where the grassroots are. I get to see more fun stuff here than in most of the bigger shows."
"What do people ask me?" He responded to a question. "The two biggest questions are what's coming next with their favorite character, and how to break into the business."
Making the rounds of Comic Con are dozens of costumed comic book characters from GI Joe, Star Trek, and Star Wars - the Mandalorian Mercs dress in battle armor, including helmets with T-shaped visors that cover their faces in the style of Boba Fett, the Mandalorian/mercenary bounty hunter hired by Darth Vader in Star Wars Episodes II, V and VI.
"While there's a lot of interest in superheroes, some comics are family friendly," Karen continued. "Right now my husband can't wait for the latest Archie comic to be delivered. It's about what if he married Betty, and what if he married Veronica. It shows how his life would have been different."
Comic Con attracts all ages, from seniors to children.
"Fans love us. They have a great time and keep coming back," Karen noted. "What makes me really happy is when someone comes in and sees the featured guest, gets to talk and meet them, gets a sketch by them, and then they are ear-to-ear smiles. They say that they love the sketch and will put it on their wall. That makes me feel so good."