Butterbean talks Comic Con, collectibles

Butterbean spent a few days in New York signing autographs and taking photos with fans. Lynn Hoppes/ESPN.com

NEW YORK -- More than 100,000 characters filled the Jacob Javits Center for the past four days for the seventh annual New York Comic Con.

There were Avengers. Japanese anime stars. Spider-Men. And a Butterbean.

Eric "Butterbean" Esch plopped his 400-plus pound body behind a table, signing autographs and taking photos. He wasn't the only "athlete" to appear at the show. Former wrestlers Tito Santana, Greg "The Hammer" Valentine and Brutus "the Barber" Beefcake were there for the convention.

"I fit in good right here. I come as close to a comic book character as they come," said the 46-year-old Butterbean, who still boxes and competes in mixed martial arts. "I'm a 400-pound boxer and a 400-pound MMA guy. I'm made for comic books!"

New York Comic Con has grown every year, almost rivaling the original -- Comic-Con International: San Diego -- which draws about 125,000 fans each summer. That show is more about debuting clips for new Hollywood blockbusters.

The sold-out New York show, which originally focused more on publishing, is catching up, though.

This convention announced a new "Spider-Man" comic book for 2013 and showed footage of the remake of "Carrie" for the March release. The cast of AMC's "The Walking Dead" debuted some scenes for its season premiere.

That's why Butterbean loves coming to these kinds of conventions. More than 100 vendors sell comic books, action figures and T-shirts.

Butterbean owns a collectibles store, Scavenger Hunt, in his hometown of Jasper, Ala., and sells items he says he's "picked" from various conventions as well as some of his championship belts.

He does have one item on his wish list. And it's a little strange.

"I'm looking for a stuffed tiger. I mean a real stuffed tiger. That just sounds cool," Butterbean said. "I'm thinking of going on my own safari and getting my own tiger."