The organizers of Bangor Comic & Toy Con are hoping to frighten — or at least entertain — both locals and visitors this weekend, with the first-ever Weekend of the Wicked, a three-day convention celebrating all things scary in pop culture.
It’ll be a return to the Cross Insurance Center for Will Hesketh and Jay Cochran, organizers of the convention, who in more recent years have held their events at the Bangor Mall. And it’ll be a chance to highlight what people all over the world already know about Bangor: that it’s the home of Stephen King.
“All of this came together really quickly, but honestly, it’s kind of amazing nothing like this has ever happened before,” Hesketh said. “Bangor is literally where Pennywise is from. It’s a pretty big opportunity that was kind of staring us right in the face.”
Bangor was the inspiration for all or part of many of King’s most beloved books, from “It” to “11/22/63.” The city’s most famous resident is nearly synonymous with Bangor, in fact, and if there’s one thing most people know about the city it’s that King lived here for decades.
And yet, only a few businesses and organizations in Bangor have ever tried to capitalize on that connection. Salem, Massachusetts, has built an entire identity around its witch trials, and Edgar Allen Poe references are all over Baltimore, but you could drive through Bangor and other than his house on West Broadway and the headquarters for Zone Radio, you’d hardly pick up on King’s longtime presence here.
The main event for Weekend of the Wicked is a reunion of five of the seven actors who played the younger versions of the Loser’s Club in the original “It” miniseries: Ben Heller, Adam Faraizel, Brandon Crane, Emily Perkins and Marlon Taylor. There will also be a live taping of the popular, Stephen King-themed The Loser’s Club podcast.
Other guests include David Naughton, who played the title character in “An American Werewolf in London,” John Campopiano, who directed documentaries about “It” and “Pet Sematary,” and Bart Mixon, who did the makeup for the “It” miniseries. A cosplay ball, vendors, parties and gaming tournaments round out the schedule.
Convention goers will also be able to take shortened versions of an SK Tour, the Stephen King tour operation that has long taken guests around Bangor to see real-life spots that inspired King’s fictional universe. SK Tours will offer 40-minute tours on the hour during the convention, available to reserve or as room allows.
Hesketh said the organizers’ “white whale” was getting Tim Curry, the original Pennywise, to be part of the convention. Curry was unavailable, but he will do a special run of autographs for convention ticket holders.
Hesketh said the response so far has been far bigger than they initially anticipated.
“We sold out the hotel we work with, and another hotel besides that,” he said. “This is definitely something we hope to repeat for years to come. There’s a big appetite for everything Stephen King here, so hopefully we can help put Bangor even more on the map.”
Tickets for Weekend of the Wicked start at $15 for single-day passes. To purchase, visit bangorcomicandtoycon.com.