January 27, 2022

Store set for fourth annual comic con

Cortland Corset Building to host Heroes and Villains event this weekend

Shenandoah Briere/contributing photographer

Stephen Vincent Jr., a co-owner of Heroes and Villains comic book store, puts 10 random comics into a bag. The bag wil be given to anyone who donates $5 or more during the store’s comic convention Saturday.

A Klingon emperor, a Superman novelist and writer and the debut of a new comic series will fill the Cortland Corset Building on East Court Street in Cortland Saturday at the fourth Heroes and Villains comic con.

“Our first year, it was super small,” said Vanessa Mielke, one of the owners of Heroes and Villains comic book store.

The first event only took up the first floor of the building; the fourth convention, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, is taking over all three floors. The first year, Mielke and co-owner Stephen Vincent Jr. saw about 500 people attend to shop with 12 vendors and 17 artists, actors and writers.

“We knew for the next year we needed to expand,” she said. “No one had any idea that it was going to be as big as it is.”

But every year it’s grown at least another 100 people. “This year, I’m hoping to break 1,000 people,” Vincent said, to see 14 vendors and 40 talents.

More kids’ activities are offered, including a character scavenger hunt for children ages 5 to 10 and a light saber show, Mielke said.

“To see them having a love for it as well is amazing,” Vincent said. “It’s things like that they’ll never forget.”

Noel Passeri has been attending comic con every year, selling his artwork and drawing caricatures.

“It’s an awesome blur,” he said. “Time flies by.”

Passeri prepares over several months to make sure he has enough drawings. He said the best part about being at the event is seeing all of his friends and meeting new artists or actors.

“I love being here,” he said.

“I think there’d be a riot if you weren’t here,” Mielke replied.

This year, the convention will feature Roger Stern of Tompkins County, who wrote “The Death and Life of Superman” and for Spider-Man comics. Also expect J.G. Hertzler, who played the Klingon emperor in “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine,” as well as roles in “Star Trek: Voyager” and “Star Trek: Enterprise.”

Vincent said they met Hertzler during another convention.

“Him and his wife were sitting at a table and we sparked a conversation and it was a maybe at the time,” Vincent said.

The confirmation came Saturday.

Also new this year, the comic book store will help with the release of a new comic book called Monster Carnival, 10 stories featuring 27 artists.

The event is free.

“We want the community to come even if they don’t really have money to spend,” Mielke said.

“We’d rather have someone spend their money on one of the vendors,” Vincent said.