Written by Noah Logan
Photo courtesy of Jeremy Long
In 2019, the Huntsville Comic and Pop Culture expo drew over 7500 attendees. The family -friendly event attracted children and adults alike who jumped at the opportunity to meet guest celebrities such as Lou “The Incredible Hulk’ Ferrigno, attend panels with famous comic book artists and otherwise immerse themselves in what some might have once called “nerd culture.” Like many entertainment events, though, the 2020 expo found itself severely limited due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. Luckily though, in another sign that things are returning to normal, the Pop Culture Expo will be returning this April 9-11 for the sixth installment of the event which will be located in the Von Braun Center.
And while much of the focus will be on the star-studded celebrity appearances, it is more important than ever to highlight the man who persevered through last year’s adversity to make this insanely fun event return in 2021.
Jeremy Long did not always imagine himself creating his own convention. But what started out as a simple love for comic books as a kid, has now blossomed into Huntsville’s very own Comic and Pop Culture Expo. “I had always been into comic books ever since I was a kid around ten years old,” he said. “And as I got older, I started buying and selling comic books on the side, but I always had to go out of town to find events where there was a market for this.”
It was after one particularly bad convention seven years ago that the idea for Huntsville’s own convention was planted. “The whole drive home, I was lamenting to my wife about how horrible of an event it was,” he explained. “I was laying out every negative detail. ‘They should have done this better… And they should have done that better.’” And while he might not have realized it at the time, it was during this drive home that the foundation of his future creation was beginning to take shape.
“Eventually,” he recalled, “my wife turned to me and said that I should start my own convention here in Huntsville. And so, I did.” Talk about taking a bad situation and flipping it on its head. The first expo in 2016, held in an 11,000 square foot venue, featured no celebrity appearances and was only attended by 1,000 patrons. In only a few short years, the event has increased in size tenfold, expanding to 120,000 square feet and has more than tripled the amount of attendees. Through perseverance and learning on the job, Long has created an event unique to Huntsville that everyone can enjoy. It’s hard to argue otherwise as kids 12 and younger are free to enter.
This year’s expo features cast members from Disney’s massive television show The Mandalorian, many cast members from the 15-season phenomenon Supernatural, alongside two of the hottest professional wrestlers in the world right now: Darby Allin and Sammy Guevara. Have you ever wanted to have a conversation with Winnie the Pooh, Tigger and Smokey the Bear all at the same time? Well then, Jim Cummings, who voices all three and many more will be available to make that dream come true. Besides celebrity appearances, the expo will also feature rooms dedicated to tabletop gaming, an enormous selection of traveling vendors and much more.
The event includes a charity auction, the proceeds of which will be donated to local Huntsville charity, Kids To Love, which is committed to finding forever families for foster children. Long is also very excited about 2021 being the first expo with a blood drive. Partnering with Live South, Jeremy is aiming to get a minimum of 100 units of blood donated over the three-day event.
For the full list of celebrity appearances, scheduling of panels and other events and ticket prices, visit www.hsvexpo.com