The Powers family of St. Johnsbury, Vermont, enter Norway Savings Bank Arena for the Great Falls Comic Expo in Auburn on Saturday. From left are Carrie Powers as Hela, Hannah Powers as Hell Girl, Mike Powers as Gladiator Hulk and Emma Powers as Captain Marvel.  (Daryn Slover/Sun Journal)

Keith Dinsmore and his fiancee, Mollie Dalphonse, of Portland put their Batman and Batgirl costumes on in the parking lot of the Norway Savings Bank Arena in Auburn on Saturday. The couple was heading to the Great Falls Comic Expo. Dinsmore, known as the Old Port Batman, said he, Dalphonse and his son, Caleb, dress up on a regular basis for strolls through Portland’s Old Port on Friday and Saturday evenings. (Daryn Slover/Sun Journal)

AUBURN — Rin, an assassin whose other form is a phoenix, and Ace, a “colorful goth” whose other form is a dragon walked up and down the vendor tables and fantastical displays at the Great Falls Comic Expo on Saturday.

Rin, aka Brianna Hannan, 16, of Lewiston, and Ace, aka John Gove, 18, of Auburn were dressed as OCs, short for original characters — their own creations.

“This is where I get to be myself,” said Hannan, vice president of the Anime Club at Lewiston High School. “I can’t dress up every day!”

This was Hannan’s first time dressing up as a character at a comic convention. Her costume, which included a long, black gown and silken hood, showed the effort put forth and her dedication to her character.

“Just this took me two hours,” she said, pointing to her mangled, “bleeding” right cheek.

Gove said he loves the idea of comic conventions and enjoys meeting people with “similar tastes in fantasy.”

“It’s a really fun way to express yourself,” he said.

Hundreds of gaming and cosplay enthusiasts attended the convention at the Norway Saving Bank Arena. Vending tables selling playing cards such as Magic the Gathering and Pokemon, action figures, and even on-screen props from Doctor Who were visited by attendees.

Thomas Lemieux of Oakland, dressed in a black jumpsuit, called the conventions his “healthy addiction,” and his face glowed as he showed expo attendees his “baby”— a 1985 Cadillac hearse he found on Craigslist for $900.

He’s spent the past two years transforming it into the Ecto-1, the vehicle from the classic movie “Ghostbusters.”

Lemieux said he’s loved the ghost hunting gang “ever since I was a little squirt.” He’s a member of the Maine Ghostbusters group, which began in 2010. Lemieux joined in 2013 after he attended a comic convention and put on a “Ghostbusters” deluxe-size proton pack.

“Just like that, I was hooked all over again,” he said.

A love of the fantastical world can also help you find your true love, as demonstrated by Amanda and Michael Conkright, co-founders of Comic Geeks Unite, which helps organize “cosplay” (costume play) events, visits children’s hospitals dressed as characters and is involved in I Cosplay, an anti-bullying campaign.

“Everyone should have a safe space to express what makes you happy,” said Amanda Conkright, whose Robin costume (of Batman and Robin) attracted the attention of her husband-to-be on May 4, 2013, outside a game store for Free Comic Book Day.

The two had a “cosplay wedding,” in which their officiant dressed up as a mermaid and recited the “mawwiage” speech from “The Princess Bride.” The groom was dressed as Malcolm Reynolds from “Firefly” and the bride wore a deep blue Doctor Who-themed “TARDIS” dress.

“We got married at the Portland Children’s Museum, where I work, and had a private screening of ‘Infinity War.’ The guests dressed up,” Conkright said, “Ghostbusters and Mad Hatters — we had quite the variety.”

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Lexie Nadeau, 6, and her mother, Sarah, of Wales decorate the Chalkboard Corolla during the Great Falls Comic Expo in Auburn on Saturday. Kim Saltmarsh of Portland painted her car with chalkboard paint and left it parked with pails of chalk for passers-by to decorate. Saltmarsh said either rain or the car wash leaves her car with a clean palette, ready for people to leave their marks once again. (Daryn Slover/Sun Journal)

Michael Genereux of Lewiston and his daughter, Azalea, read in the “Library Lounge” during the Great Falls Comic Expo in Auburn on Saturday. Lewiston Public Library Director Marcela Peres said staff brought over a couple of hundred books for people to read while resting from walking around the comic expo. (Daryn Slover/Sun Journal)

Yuric Tripp, 11, of Norway visits the Great Falls Comic Expo in Auburn on Saturday. Tripp was dressed as The Emperor from “Star Wars.”  (Daryn Slover/Sun Journal)

Emma Powers, far left, and her father, Mike Powers, leave the Great Falls Comic Expo as Kim Saltmarsh and Asher Nall enter the expo in Auburn on Saturday. (Daryn Slover/Sun Journal)

Alyvia Crosby, 5, of Portland decorates the Chalkboard Corolla during the Great Falls Comic Expo in Auburn on Saturday. Kim Saltmarsh of Portland painted her car with chalkboard paint and left it parked with pails of chalk for passers-by to decorate.  (Daryn Slover/Sun Journal)

Yuric Tripp, 11, of Norway visits the Great Falls Comic Expo in Auburn on Saturday. Tripp was dressed as The Emperor from Star Wars.  (Daryn Slover/Sun Journal)


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