March 1, 2024

Wittenberg is hosting the Champion City Comic Convention in the Shouvlin Center from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sept. 26. This will be the seventh annual convention, a joint project between the university and the larger Springfield community. Matthew Smith, Ph. D., teaches a course on graphic storytelling and has worked with Scott Riley, owner of Main Street Comics and Games — as well as Wittenberg students, faculty and staff — to put the convention together. The convention was first started seven years ago after Riley opened his store, and the idea of hosting a convention was floated to Smith.
The convention is a smaller, more intimate event than larger conventions like Columbus Wizard World or San Diego Comic Con, the Valhalla of conventions. The average attendance in years past has been between 300 and 400 people.
“We would like to see it grow,” Smith said, “and that is one of the things we are working on this year. It has the potential to be much bigger than it has been. We have ambitions larger than results, often. We’ve been doing some more unorthodox methods of getting the word out. We’ve added a person to the planning team who specializes in media marketing — who is a Wittenberg alum — so his heart is true. [But] the thing I like about it, because it is small, it is very intimate. You get to see everyone; everyone gets to play, and whatnot.”
In a fortuitous coincidence, Sept. 26 is also Batman Day.Comicon
“DC Comics did a special Batman Day last year to commemorate 75 years of Batman,” Smith said. “Someone in their marketing department decided that since it was so successful to do that every year. So they announced Sept. 26 as Batman Day, which was great for us because we already had it on the calendar.”
To honor 76 years of the Caped Crusader, the convention will have a screening of “Legends of the Knight” — a documentary about the impact of Batman as an inspirational figure. The convention will also feature the Batmobile from the classic 1966 television show, which will be available for photo opportunities, and a special “bategory” for the costume contest.
The convention will also host local creators, writers and artists such as Patrick Baumgardner, Heidi Black, Dustin Carson, Andy Dailey, Matt Kish, Chad Lambert, Brian Latimer, Hubert M. Matumaini, Joe Pruitt; novelist J. Walt Layne and the Twilight Star Studio team.
Other attractions at the convention will include comic book vendors, pop culture merchandise and memorabilia, trivia games, an auction and an art contest.
Admission is $2 for students with their Wittenberg identification or those attending in costume, $5 for adults and free for children age 12 and under.

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