Comic books have helped spark the imaginations of everyone from young kids to senior citizens since the first modern comic book was released in 1933. Generations have grown up reading about the exploits of heroes such as Captain America, Spiderman, Batman, Superman and a host of others who have fought against dastardly foes in the pursuit of justice.

That culture will be celebrated this weekend at the fifth annual Jekyll Island Comic Con at the island’s convention center. The two-day event is packed with plenty of activities to keep even the biggest fan busy.

Expect to see plenty of vendors selling everything from comic books to custom artwork. There are cosplay contests for those who plan to embody their favorite characters this weekend. There will be areas set up for playing tabletop and video games. Panels that include writers, actors and artists will help shed light on the creative process.

Some may scratch their heads that an event like a con, something most people just assume happens only in larger cities like New York or the most famous one in San Diego, would be at Jekyll. But when you think about it, Jekyll really is the perfect place to hold a con in Southeast Georgia.

The island has a long history as a tourist destination, so it’s not hard to convince people to visit the island. And let’s not forget that Jekyll has played a role in the comic book movie genre that is sweeping the nation. Parts of “X-Men: First Class” were filmed on the island.

One of the great things about the comic con this week is who else is benefitting from the event. Two local charities, No Kill Glynn County and Bolin’s Heroes, are the benefactors. No Glynn Glynn County is an animal rescue organization. Bolin’s Heroes is a suicide prevention program with special ties to the event.

The charity was founded in memory of Jacob Bolin, an avid comic book fan who attended the con in the past. Sadly, Bolin took his own life at only 18 years old. Bolin’s Heroes has set up a website, www.bolinsheroes.org, where teens and youth dealing with suicidal thoughts can find links to hotlines to get help.

Comics have a way of attracting people that feel left out at times by society. Their inclusive nature can draw in kids who feel bullied or looked down upon by others. Jekyll Island Comic Con organizer Doug Brantley said “There’s no judgment” at the event. That’s a lesson that hopefully one day will apply to the rest of the world.

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