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When entertainment unites Three-day Comic Con in the RGV

Lord of the Ring actor Sean Astin poses with a crowd at the 2015 South Texas Comic Con. Courtesy Photo

South Texas Comic Con founder Ramsey Ramirez has been a lover of comics since the moment he could read. From the art and writing to the stories and characters, Ramirez’s passion for comics led him to host an event that about 10,000 people attend every year.

The third annual STXCC will be held at the McAllen Convention Center Friday to Sunday. The event will feature over 30 celebrity guests from movies, sports, animations, comics and cosplay–or those dressing up as their favorite character.

Ramirez first began hosting pop culture conventions in McAllen about eight years ago. He attended his first convention in Chicago during the early 1990s. At that time, there weren’t too many people attending because it didn’t attract the public. However, with the release of movies based on comics, it’s becoming a growing trend.

“From there, I was hooked. It was crazy seeing all these lovers of comics and pop culture coming together,” the 1999 University of Texas Pan American graduate said. “[There weren’t] huge crowds or anything, it [was] just a lot of people who really liked the stuff. We’ve been going to conventions, me and my buddies, for probably two decades.

It’s expensive to drive to Dallas or to drive to Chicago [and] we thought it’d be really cool if we [had a convention] here and it ended up being us.”

Ramirez previously owned Magazine X, which featured local musicians and entertainment. The publication ran from 2005 to 2012, and he has been in contact with a number of agents ever since. These agents would ask Ramirez to interview their bands if they were to perform in the Rio Grande Valley. Essentially, these agents owed Ramirez favors. He was able to bring Danny Trejo down for the 2012 South Texas Horror Con–another event hosted by Ramirez. Since then, it’s been a matter of popularity and word to attract other celebrities.

“It’s been a lot of work–the hardest part is getting people down,” said Ramirez, who earned a bachelor’s in fine arts with a concentration in graphic design. “You kind of have to earn the trust of the agents, you know, the celebrities going back and saying, ‘Hey, man, these guys were great. You should really go.’ [It’s] a lot of word of mouth from celebrities.”

People who attend the event will have the opportunity to participate in Q&A sessions with guest celebrities, including NBA legend Dennis Rodman; Kristin Bauer, who plays Maleficent in “Once Upon a Time;” and Naomi Grossman, from “American Horror Story: Asylum and Freak Show.”

Celebrities and locals will present writing and artist workshops. The event will also feature costume contests, professional wrestling and an After Con-cert featuring Carne Asada, Jonwayne Eaden, VLMR and others.

“I think most people expect a lot of comic book geeks walking around with their pen protectors in their pocket or pocket protectors and pens in there,” Ramirez said. “But it’s really becoming a mainstream thing, especially with the comic book movies, and again there [are] pop culture celebrities, not just comics. There are sports figures and movie actors that come to attract the general audience.

“Basically, you’re gonna walk through the doors and probably see a third of the people there in costume repping their favorite hero, heroine or villain. And the other people are just fans of TV and movies and comics and animation. Then you’re going to see a ton of vendors with really cool stuff–everything from collectibles to jewelry [and] everything you can probably think of in between,” he said.

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