by Photo courtesy of Feeding San Diego

Feeding San Diego and Comic-Con Museum recently announced the winners of its Action Hero Art Contest among hundreds of students who submitted an entry. 

In the middle school and high school category, 14-year-old Aiden Prior of Encinitas won first place with his action hero creation Hunger Halter. Chula Vista residents Serenna Ascencio, 17, followed in second place with her creation of Demeter, and 14-year-old Isabella won third place with Eartha. 

Each of the top three winners won a trip to Comic-Con Museum’s Makers Lab for their class or homeroom, in addition to other prizes. 

Contest organizers initially planned to select one winner, but cosplayer and costume designer Allan Lavigne offered to bring Hunger Halter and Demeter to life. Lavigne is the studio head of The Bronze Armory Studios, who has worked on comic book films from the “Iron Man” and “Captain America” franchises.

Prior and Ascencio will also attend the convention. They will also be included on the Comic-Con Museum panel. 

The costumes will be put on display during San Diego Comic-Con, starting at the “Night at the Comic-Con Museum,” honoring Marvel’s Spider-Man on July 20. Tickets are available via the event website

“We set out to inspire the next generation of hunger relief and food rescue champions while also rallying the community around those who need help with food assistance,” said Dana Williams, Director of Marketing & Communications at Feeding San Diego. “Reviewing the hundreds of submissions confirmed that we did just that. It was incredible to see the creativity of these students. At Feeding San Diego, we believe that asking for help is not a weakness. It’s a strength. Everyone needs help sometimes, even superheroes!

The contest, which was underwritten by the David C. Copley Foundation, is a collaboration between Feeding San Diego and the Comic-Con Museum

As part of the submission process, each entrant had to include the origin story of their hero. Here are the summarized origin stories of the winners:  

  • Hunger Halter experienced hunger as a young boy and is on a mission to heal others through hydration and harvesting food. He was born with his powers, but an empty stomach would debilitate his strength and abilities. After finding a steady stream of food resources, he regained strength and developed two new powers. With super speed and senses, Hunger Halter helps those in need by gathering and distributing all types of food, drinks, and unwanted food before it goes to waste. 
  • Demeter is Julie Ander, whose day job is as a news reporter. After seeing increasing starvation and famine rates, Demeter wants to use her abilities to rejuvenate and accelerate crops. Her character is based on the Greek mythology goddess of harvest and agriculture. A counsel of heroes related to the wellbeing of humankind called the 7 Provisions appointed Demeter and provided her with a motorcycle that travels at the speed of light, allowing her to travel around the globe to help those facing hunger.
  • Eartha grew up with her grandmother in a food desert. Her family didn’t have money to buy healthy food from a grocery store, so she learned how to grow her own in a garden. Earthea traveled to a flower shop one day and found a booth with seeds. She grabbed a handful from the fruits and vegetable baskets, braiding them into her hand for safekeeping. Overnight the seeds transformed her body into a Hunger hero, giving her the ability to create edible life from just within her fingertips. Earthea found purpose in her abilities, helping others living in food deserts and suffering food insecurity. 

Thousands of votes came in during a community voting period. Hunter Halter received 755 votes on his design and backstory, Demeter received 618 votes, and Earthea followed closely with 606 votes. 

Following Comic-Con, the costumes will be on display at the Museum from August through December 2022. The heroes will also be used by Feeding San Diego to educate youth on the importance of hunger relief and food rescue in San Diego County.

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