Popular culture, fantasy authors, artists gather in OKC for Soonercon 

s a comic-book resurgence, thanks to the mainstream successes of superhero movies like "X-Men Origins: Wolverine" and "The Dark Knight." He's also noticed a growth in the demand for unconventional crossovers, such as TV shows adapted into comic books, like "Chuck."

"What the public thought was the comic-book market was a really narrow demographic, but there are a lot more people that will read comic books if they just find the right way to appeal to them," he said. "We've seen the return of Western comic books, which haven't been around for a while, horror comic books, mystery and fantasy comic books. So, it's not just superheroes anymore."

Soonercon is not just comics and elaborate costumes. The event will host several writers, including "The Morganville Vampires" series author Rachel Caine, who Wall said is poised to become a star in the dark romance subgenre. Caine will debut "Carpe Corpus," the sixth book of the series, at SoonerCon.

"The biggest growth segment on the literary side has been dark romance like 'True Blood,' which is targeted to young females," Wall said. "Rachel Caine is an up-and-coming author whose series has been said to be the next 'Twilight.'"

Organizer Aislinn Burrows said the event will also be visited by New York Times best-selling author Dave Wolverton, who will attract sci-fi/fantasy fans in droves.

"He's a fascinating man," Burrows said. "He has published fiction for adults and young adults, and has a best-selling fantasy series, 'The Runelords' series, and he wrote one of the most popular books in the 'Star Wars' franchise, 'The Courtship of Princess Leia.'"

This year's guest of honor is illustrator Brad W. Foster, a Texas artist who founded the boutique Jabberwocky Graphix press in 1976. Foster's press began as an outlet for his own work, but he soon found himself publishing works by more than 300 artists.

Although plenty of attention will be paid to the big names in sci-fi/fantasy, Wall said the convention is specifically focused on independent and lesser-known artists and authors, and was set up to help emerging talents find a niche in today's market.

"We've added more guests, more artists, more writers, more workshops targeted on aspiring writers and artists and workshops focused on self-promotion," he said. "Local artists like Dirk Hooper are doing workshops on self-promotion and how to build your business, so we are adding more resources for the people that are just trying to get going."

"?Charles Martin

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