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FoCo Comic Con donates $20,000 to mental health resources

Many+replicas+were+on+display+at+the+Fort+Collins+Comic+Con%2C+which+took+place+at+the+Northside+Aztland+Community+Center+Aug.+26.+Ghostbusters+memorabilia+was+spread+throughout+the+con+for+fans+to+see.
Collegian | River Kinnaird
Many replicas were on display at the Fort Collins Comic Con, which took place at the Northside Aztland Community Center Aug. 26. Ghostbusters memorabilia was spread throughout the con for fans to see.

Finding like-minded social groups can be quite a challenge for some, but Fort Collins Comic Con has become a safe haven for those seeking comfort and community. This past weekend marked the eighth annual Fort Collins Comic Con.

FoCo Comic Con was founded by Nick Armstrong and Nathan Scott in tandem with the Poudre River Public Library District.

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Armstrong said the event resulted from the Poudre Library losing the ability to hold a book sale, which gave Armstrong and Scott the opportunity to open the FoCo Comic Con in order to raise money for the library while creating an inclusive community for fellow geeks.

This year the team took on the new goal of supporting mental health resources. The beneficiary of the 2023 event was the Alliance for Suicide Prevention of Larimer County. FoCo Comic Con donated $20,000 through their badge sales in response to the Poudre School District’s recent call for more attention to children’s mental well-being.

“Being seen, being recognized, being in a community — all of these things are ways to bolster your mental health,” Armstrong said. “In addition, Comic Con is very much a ‘third place’ for not just our teens but our community in general.”

FoCo Comic Con also creates opportunities for smaller artists. Ron Fortier, a science fiction and comic writer for over 50 years, shared his experience.

“(FoCo Comic Con) is the best place in the world for young creators to network,” Fortier said. “I am a 50-year pro in this business, and I love nothing better than to meet new writers and artists who want to get into the business, … maybe give them some answers, some questions, some shortcuts on things they’re doing and how they can get published faster. … It is a wonderful mix of professionals and newbies.”

Having writers like Fortier at Comic Con is what makes an event like this so rich. Accomplished comic authors understand the field and are willing to share their practice and experience with anyone willing to learn.

Fortier believes in comics having the ability to invigorate readers’ imaginations as well as spark children’s interest in reading.

“Literally, I learned to read from comic books as a child,” Fortier said. “So you can’t put a price tag on that. … If you live in Fort Collins, your children are in school, and you want them to get inspired, to learn, to enjoy education — bring them to Comic Con.”

Fortier went on to discuss how comics stimulate two different sides of the brain. Because you have to simultaneously read and look at the visuals in a comic book, it engages the reader’s imagination. Fortier said comics are “a mini movie that only you can see in your mind.”

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With the average attendee spending almost $100, there is plenty of profit to go around for the vendors. The artists benefit not only from the profit but also by getting more eyes on their artwork and bolstering their reputation.

Reach Jack Fillweber at entertainment@collegian.com or on Twitter @CSUCollegian.
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    Nick ArmstrongAug 31, 2023 at 12:45 pm

    Thanks so much for being there with us this year, Collegian team! We always appreciate having CSU students at the Con! Join us next year at the Senior Center August 16-18, 2024.

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