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Mark Jordan examines a homemade Boba Fett costume. Last year's Ratha Con was held at the Athens Community Center. (Julia Moss | Staff Photographer)

300 comic-book fans flock to Athens' first Ratha Con

Science fiction and comic book lovers were able to don their Star Trek, Freddy Krueger and superhero costumes this weekend when Athens played host to its first-ever comic book convention.

An estimated 300 people suited up and headed to Ratha Con — a play on the title of sci-fi sequel Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan — at the Athens Community Center Saturday. The Wizard’s Guild and ARTS/West collaborated to organize the event.

While it was not the biggest convention in America, it still shared characteristics with similar events throughout the country.

“Ratha Con is a new experience for Athens and a miracle to anyone who loves comic conventions, but doesn't like to or cannot travel to experience them,” said Emily Prince, president and director of ARTS/West.

The day started with a panel discussion by comic book artists Sandy Plunkett, Steve Richter and Chris Monday. The discussion focused on topics affecting the comic book industry, such as how comics change over different eras, how comics compare to other similar media like graphic novels, how comics and culture affect one another, and how comics can get published.

The convention got fully underway after the panel, with attendees arriving in costume as their favorite characters from different comic books and movies.

The convention boasted dozens of booths, organized discussions and activities such as a Dungeons and Dragons game, a steampunk ballet and a discussion about V for Vendetta called “The Use of Literary Elements in Alan Moore and David Lloyd's V for Vendetta" by teachers Jeffery Judd, Johnny Merry and Daryl Curry.

"We discuss the issue of why citizens are willing to sacrifice civil liberties for safety during times of perceived or real threat,” Judd said. “We also look at Moore's use of the literary element of allusion throughout the novel to emphasize thematic elements in the graphic novel."

Following Ratha Con’s main events, there were also raffle prizes awarded and a trivia contest. Convention attendees played an Athens favorite, Humans versus Zombies, after the convention.

“I think that this was cool because many of us haven't been given the opportunity to attend a convention before, and it was a great way to get the experience without struggling across the country,” said Ashley Labaki, a convention attendee dressed as one of Freddy Krueger’s victims. “I hope that it was successful enough to warrant a second, larger incarnation next year.”

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