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NW comic show lands at Kitsap Mall | Kitsap Week

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Kitsap's Alpha Comics organizes a comic, toy and gaming show with vendors and guests artists in the Kitsap Mall in Silverdale.
— image credit: John Rodriguez graphic / Mark Gillespie illustration

When Michael Potter left the Emerald City Comicon, he was inspired. But perhaps not in the same way as his fellow enthusiasts of comic books, games and other fandom.

“I looked at it, and it was like 60 bucks just to spend even more money,” Potter said, further noting the travel expense, time, parking and other aspects of taking on the journey.

While he enjoyed the event and got great deals on comics, he wanted to do something that was more accessible for the average Joe or Jane. That was the beginning of the Pacific Northwest Comic, Toy and Gaming Show.

“It’s not just kids coming out for comics, it’s adults that are playing the games, and it’s a little bit of everything,” said Potter, who organizes the event through his online business, Alpha Comics.

“It’s nice to have something here so you don’t have to travel all the way to Tacoma or Seattle,” he said.

The show will fill the halls of the Kitsap Mall in Silverdale from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Feb. 1. All vendors, artists and other features from the event are sourced from the Northwest, making the event a truly local show.

While vendors are open for business, the event is free to attend.

“People told me that I need to have it in a hotel and charge,” Potter said. “But I want to do something for people that is free, so if nothing else they can check it out and see some cool stuff.”

It is the third year Potter has put on the comic show. The event has garnered more interest each year.

“It started out with seven original vendors and 14 tables, and a majority of the guys were selling comics,” Potter said. “The second year it grew to about 12 vendors and 15 tables.”

The second year also had enough interest to warrant two events — one in June and another in October.

This February’s show is dubbed “Edition 3.1,” as Potter plans to hold three such events in 2014; February, June and October.

The first couple years for the event showed moderate success, but then — Bam! Boom! Zap! — Potter sold out all available tables for this year’s show.

“We have a packed lineup of (four) artists and 13 vendors on 33 tables,” Potter said. “We are officially sold out of tables.”

Potter said he aims to have a variety of vendors, not just comics. There are toy enthusiasts, and gaming fans, and more.Northwest artist Jeffrey Veregge combines traditional Native American stylings with modern comic flare, such as this piece “The Bat.” He will be among four artists featured at the show.

“We got the comics, we got local artists, there are a couple of dealers that deal in vintage toys,” he said. “Some people have older stuff like model kits. There’s a gentleman who not only has older GI Joes but he also builds custom settings for the larger GI Joes.”

“We have the gaming part,” he added. “ ‘Magic,’ ‘Warhammer,’ any of the collectible card games. And two vendors deal in vintage board games like ‘Axis’ and ‘Allies.’ ”

The tables are generally kept family-friendly, Potter said, but vendors may keep some of the more mature content behind the counter. It’s always best to ask, he noted.

Vendors handle their own transactions, therefore, some accept payments through Paypal, or cards. Potter said ATMs are nearby if needed.

For Potter, a Texas native, the event is an extension of a lifelong passion that was briefly put on hold while he was stationed out of the country while serving in the Navy.

“When I was a kid, 7 or 8, we used to grab a big trash bag of comics and throw them in the car and read them on a trip,” he said.

Potter also worked jobs in college around the collector scene.

“I joined the Navy and immediately went overseas,” he said. “Navy life, being on a ship, there wasn’t much time other than to live your Navy life.”

So when he was stationed in Kitsap, with a more stable life, he decided to get back into the collector scene. Potter started Alpha Comics, an online store that sells through eBay and www.comcicollectorlive.com.

“(Alpha) comes from my grandmother, her name was Alpha,” Potter said. “When I was a kid I would spend a month or two visiting my grandparents. She would take me to flea markets where I found comics. That always stuck with me, so when I got to name a business, Alpha seemed right.”

He also began seeking out events like comic cons. But there wasn’t anything local to Kitsap.

Now there is. Fans have three opportunities to gather this year. Potter hopes to continue the event in years to come.

Above: Northwest artist Jeffrey Veregge combines traditional Native American stylings with modern comic flare, such as this piece “The Bat.” He will be among four artists featured at the show at the Kitsap Mall.

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