By Josh Diendorf
A brand new event is looking to establish itself as the next big hit for Grand Rapids.
Comic conventions, which have become some of the biggest events for cities like San Diego, Chicago, and New York, have grown so much in popularity, that many cities have begun to host their own.
Grand Rapids Comic-Con is having its inaugural event next weekend, and it already has Grand Rapids locals buzzing.
“There hasn’t been a real show in Grand Rapids since 1991,” said Grand Rapids Comic-Con co-event coordinator Mark Hodges. “With GrandCon earlier this year, we now have two.”
Hodges, 47, has a master’s degree in non-profit administration from Grand Valley State University.
The event will feature six national comic artists, costume contests, a film festival, and even a booth from Nintendo displaying new video games – even some titles that won’t be out until next year.
Hodges said that the event’s seminar rooms are “one thing that’s making our show a little different.”
“We aren’t going to have a bunch of guys come in and say: ‘uh, I drew Spider-Man, any questions?’” he said. “We actually picked guests very specifically, because of the seminars they’ve given at other shows over the years.”
Hodges stressed these seminars could help a wannabe comic artist and said: “Any aspiring artist would be crazy not to attend.”
Grand Rapids Comic-Con’s location, which is at the Home School Building in Wyoming, can hold around 1,500 people, but Hodges estimates from all the buzz he’s seen and heard, he wouldn’t be surprised if the show has over 3,000 people show up.
While Hodges is currently tasked with this year’s Comic-Con, he is still optimistic about the future, and the potential that the Grand Rapids Comic-Con could have.
“We think that a show in Grand Rapids, if done right, can compete with the numbers that ArtPrize has on average. I really do.”
The Grand Rapids Comic-Con is scheduled for 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 12th at 5625 Burlingame Ave. SW in Wyoming.
Tickets are on sale at the door for $5, and an “early bird” admission starts at 9 a.m. for $10, with $5 going to the Kitchen Sage charity. The admission fee covers all events inside of the Comic-Con, additional expenses are only required for food and beverage, as well as vendor booths. Children under five can attend the Comic-Con for free.
For more information on the Grand Rapids Comic-Con, including event times, the special guest list, and more, visit: grcomiccon.com.