Angel Wierenga

Artist Angel Wierenga stands in front of feline fantasy/super hero art on Friday at the annual Fanboy Expo Comic Con in Knoxville.

KNOXVILLE — The annual Fanboy Expo Comic Con kicked off Friday at Knoxville Convention Center and World’s Fair Exhibition Hall. For the first time, the show is being held at two venues in order to hold all of the artists, pro wrestlers, super heroes, diabolical villains, Gremlins, Deadites and thousands of pop-culture loving fans.

“We just want people to be comfortable and have a good time,” Fanboy representative Adam Phelps said. “Attendees should be able to get around this year without (constantly) being elbow to elbow. The extra space also allows us to add more artists, celebrity guests and vendors.”

A major aspect of the event is artwork. Comic book artwork, and comic books themselves, is typically the heart of most conventions. Artists take up a good chunk of show floor, and that is the case at Fanboy. Featured artists at Fanboy Expo include Frank Cho (“Wonder Woman”/“Mighty Avengers”), Graham Nolan (the creator of Batman villain Bane), Keith Champagne (the comic book “Stranger Things”) and Tom Nguyen (“Green Lantern”/“The Switch”).

Artist Angel Egle Wierenga is making her fourth appearance at Fanboy. She uses her artistic prowess to merge cats with pop-culture themes.

“I have been an artist my whole life,” she said. “I have three cats in the family, and enjoy painting and drawing them. Cats have a personality, and I match that up with various comic/fantasy/horror characters.”

Wierenga’s cats are not only on prints, but also coffee mugs, key chains, jewelry and numerous other items. “We don’t have purses,” she said. “We sell purrrses. Our inventory is always growing. The cats are becoming very popular with fans and people in general.”

For more information about Wierenga’s work, go to EWArtwork.com.

Pro wrestling can be found at every installment of Fanboy. “Wrestling was a part of many people’s childhoods,” Phelps said. “They grew up watching guys like Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage, and Sting. The wrestling fans are loyal and always flock to see the ring warriors of the present and past at Fanboy.”

Rebel is a female wrestler that has grappled in the squared circle for five years. “I love touring the world,” she said. “I am very fortunate to have the opportunity to entertain fans and show my wrestling abilities.”

The image of women wrestlers has dramatically changed over the last few years. For decades in pro wrestling, women were used mainly for eye candy and were not taken seriously. “We are now judged on more than our appearance,” Reblel. “Women’s matches are no longer seen as merely (all frills). Now we show that we can kick all kinds of ass inside the wrestling ring.”

For more about Rebel, visit her at REBEL/Tanea@RebelTanea on Twitter.

Fanboy Expo will continue today with doors opening at 10 a.m. and closing at 6 p.m. General admission for Saturday is $40. Children are admitted free with a paid adult.

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