The first Heroes for Kids Comic-Con back in 2019 was considered a success. If that is the case, the second edition of the event should be a glorious triumph. The Comic-Con, which was held Saturday at the Perry Park Center, brought in $8,400, nearly twice the amount as the inaugural event and Heroes for Kids member Jessica Johnson could not be happier with the results. The number smashed the goal of $5,000 that the organizers had set before the event.
“It’s fantastic, considering what our goal was before the event I would say that the money and success of this year’s event are awesome.” Johnson said. “We had a lot of new faces this year.”
The money will be split evenly between the Missouri National Veteran Memorial and St. Judes Research Hospital. Each organization will receive about $4,200.
Johnson noted that the two causes are near and dear to the organization’s hearts.
“All of us have family members or those close to us that have been in the military,” Johnson said. “Dennis [Manning], our third director is an Army Veteran and my husband [Lonnie Johnson] and myself have had family members go into the military. Supporting the military is a really big thing for us.”
The event featured four special guests, which included Philo Barnhart, a second generation Disney Animator, Johnson Anderson, who portrayed Shran in Guardian of the Galaxy 2, actor Matthew Atchley of The Gifted, and Dragonlance author Richard Knaak, and Charles D. Moisant of Silver Phoenix Entertainment. They each interacted with the people that visted their booth and Atchley enjoyed every minute.
“If you didn’t come out to The Heroes for Kids Comic Con in Perryville then you missed out.” Atchley said. “It was so great to see all the smiles and see all the fun everyone was having. What a great experience from beginning to end. Thank you sooooo much to all of you that came out from all over the nearby states to see me and pick up some of my art. I loved seeing all my favorite Con-Family members and meeting all my new friends there.”
The first version of the event brought in about 500 people, and Johnson estimated that between 1,000-1,2000 attended the event in 2021. She believed that the rise in attendance was due to a couple of factors.
“We had a wider reach and people knew about the event from a few years ago,” Johnson said. “I think people were also just ready to get out and do something. Along with the special guests, the event featured photos, a silent auction, other artists, writers, merchandise, and comic book dealers.
Despite the fact that the event is over, the costume contest is still ongoing. Patrons were able to have their picture taken at the event and the photos were posted on the “Heroes For Kids Comic-Con” Facebook page to be voted on. The voting will end on Saturday at midnight.
“We have an 11-year old boy who attended his first comic convention ever while visiting his grandparents in Sikeston,” Johnson said. “He saw a billboard and they decided to come up and right now he is leading the voting.”
As of Tuesday afternoon, the boy, who dressed at Michael Myers is still in the lead.
Johnson and the rest of the Heroes for Kids organization is already making plans for next year’s event which is slated for July 16, 2022.
“We hope for an even bigger and better event next year,” Johnson said.