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Bakersfield Comic welcomes back fans after a hiatus in 2020

Posted at 11:22 PM, Nov 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-22 02:22:19-05

It wasn't a bird, it wasn't a plane: it was a super-exciting homecoming for local comic book fans! The Bakersfield Comic Con made its long-awaited comeback this weekend, following a pandemic-induced absence in 2020.

For some, Like Brandon Nebitt and Shannon Willette who brought their son and daughter, the event was a family affair.

“We come every year,” Willette said.

“Yeah, I went to, I think it was the first one in 2005 at the Double Tree Hotel,” Brandon Nebitt chimed in. “It was a really small thing, it was in one room, an old guy sitting by the door, I gave him five bucks and that was about it!"

They were among the three to four thousand locals in attendance at the Kern County Fairgrounds to shop, support local artists and businesses, and “at Bakersfield comic con, you can dress up and be yourself! If you’re a nerd on the inside, you can nerd out all you want,” Bakersfield resident, Richard Gonzales said.

Founder of Bakersfield Comic Con, Steve Wyatt said they had 6000 at their last show pre-pandemic.

“Some people are still a little cautious about going out, but by next year, it will be so much bigger, but I’m not complaining! It is what it is and we’re all going to have fun no matter what,” Wyatt said.

From the cosplay to the comic books, it may have looked like your average comic con: wyatt said that because it takes place in Bakersfield, it’s way more intimate.

“[When] Chase Masterson from ‘Deep Space Nine’ is sitting there, you can walk up and say, ‘Hey Chase!' She’ll stand up, shake your hand, talk to you, [and] get a photo with you. You can’t do that at San Diego [Comic Con],” Wyatt said. “I’ve met some big guests at the comic cons, but they only give you their two seconds.”

That personal touch is not the only hometown charm of Bakersfield Comic Con (which Wyatt points out was featured on the Big Bang Theory): There's the chance to win big prizes Wyatt and vendors at the comic donate, in exchange for spending money on raffle tickets for a good cause. This year, the comic con raised $2000 to benefit the Mission at Kern County, just in time for the holidays.

“We’ve been this close to being homeless, me and my wife. We stood in line for government cheese. So what we do here every year is this charity raffle,” Wyatt said.
“We take this money, and we go to Vons. You know how Vons does that brown bag thing where you spend five dollars and they double it in food for the rescue mission? So, that’s what we do with the money. So, it stays right here, helping people right here, because we all gotta do our part.”