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BuckeyeCon takes format back to its roots

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On a campus void of any comic book conventions, best friends Rob Gross and Marc Goldner had a vision. They put their heads together and came up with an answer.

The Buckeye Comic Book Club will hold the first BuckeyeCon on campus May 2 in the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum. Appropriately enough, the Billy Ireland Library houses the largest collection of comic strip tear sheets and clippings in the world, according to its website.

This free event will include open forums between attendees and panels of students and professors with extensive knowledge in art and English, along with opportunities to speak with and purchase art from local comic book artists.

May 2 is also Free Comic Book Day, when comic book retailers offer one issue of select comic books to customers free of charge. In recognition of the day, BuckeyeCon will provide free issues of titles including “Fight Club,” “The Simpsons” and “Pokémon.”

“People will be in the comic mode,” said Gross, a fourth-year in film studies and vice president of the Buckeye Comic Book Club or, as the members like to be called, Buckeyes Assemble.

Marc Goldner, a fourth-year with a specialized major in entertainment business and president of Buckeyes Assemble, sits next to his “bestie,” Gross, at a round table in Hang Over Easy. The friends admit that they aren’t fans of the stereotypes that go along with comic book fans.

“I hate ‘The Big Bang Theory,’” Gross said, of the show that features men who love comic books . Both he and Goldner agree that it inaccurately represents comic book readers in general.

To the naked eye, neither man would appear to be a stereotypical comic book reader: Goldner wore a dark jacket over a T-shirt and brushed back his longer hair between bites of egg sandwich. Gross wore an OSU sweatshirt and jeans. Both appeared to be average young adults ­­— unless you observe long enough to see Gross pull out his Spider-Man wallet to pay for his omelet.

Gross and Goldner said a common misconception of comic book conventions is that they only cater to die-hard comic fans who are decked-out in costumes and argue with people about whether Batman or Superman would win in a fight.

But what Goldner and Gross want to achieve with BuckeyeCon is a place for creative people to network and discuss pop culture.

“I don’t even read comic books all that much,” Gross said.

“For me, every day on the toilet,” Goldner interjected.

The two have had some help along the way. Jenica Kramer is a fourth-year in psychology and president of a capella group the Sound of Science. While she is not a member of Buckeyes Assemble, her a capella group celebrates what she refers to as “nerd culture.”

Kramer is a self-proclaimed excitable and eager person, which drove her to assist in the logistics of BuckeyeCon.

“I’ll be overseeing smaller tasks as the event takes place, most likely,” Kramer said. “My involvement is pretty minimal right now — this is Marc’s baby. I’ll take on whatever conflicts and messes pop up as the plans turn into reality.”

Both Goldner and Gross are graduating this spring and are excited to leave OSU knowing they translated their love of comic books into an event.

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