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Published February 23 2013

VIDEO: More and more fans turn out for Fargo Comic-Con expo

FARGO – It was a motley crew of characters inside the Doublewood Inn here on Saturday, to say the least.

At the front of the hotel’s ballroom, a Stormtrooper stood next to Marvel Comics baddie Loki, who stood next to “Watchmen” antihero Rorschach. Captain America, the Joker, a human-sized puppy and several others filled out the lineup.

The characters were entrants in the costume contest of the third annual Fargo-Moorhead Comic-Con, which celebrates comic books and pop culture.

The winner of the contest was Josephine Wiersma, of Fergus Falls, Minn., who dressed as Frost the White Wolf, an anime character. Wiersma’s costume looked almost professional, utilizing a customized ski mask and hardened clay for the wolf’s claws.

Comic-Con organizer Tony Tilton was impressed by the costumes, some of which were intricate and detailed like Wiersma’s, while others were simply purchased at thrift stores.

“It shows you can put together an easy costume if you want to,” he said during the contest.

The wide range of costumes was a good representation of Comic-Con as a whole, Tilton added.

“It’s anime, it’s comic books, it’s all sorts of interests,” he said. “That’s what it’s all about.”

Overall, Tilton was happy with the turnout at Saturday’s event, which also featured gaming rooms, vendors selling memorabilia and more. He estimated that attendance had increased close to 30 percent from last year.

He estimated that more than 500 people attended this year’s event, up from about 300 people last year.

“This event grows every year,” he said.

In another room down the hall at the hotel, convention attendants could use Nerf guns to shoot at members of the 501st Legion, the local branch of a worldwide organization that promotes an interest in “Star Wars.”

Four-year-old Harper Middendorf, of Fargo, attending the convention with her dad, Tony, took aim and unleashed a rapid-fire barrage at Darth Vader.

Harper used to be into Barbie dolls, Tony Middendorf said, but after watching “Wonder Woman” she became hooked on the world of superheroes and comic books.

Because he’s also been a fan of comics ever since he was young, the opportunity to share the convention with his daughter was particularly meaningful, Middendorf said.

“I love it,” he said. “Now I can go through my old comics with her.”

Readers can reach Forum reporter Sam Benshoof at (701) 241-5535

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