By Jacqueline Rzesa – Collegiate Staff
The Grand Rapids Comic Con kicks off its third year Oct. 16.
Some notable guests for the event are Neal Adams, Johnathan Rand and Trisha Nishimura. Last minute additions Buzz, Joel Adams and Andrew Pepoy are also scheduled to attend.
Unlike other fan conventions, which primarily appeal to the most experienced participants, Comic Con is using modest ticket prices and family-friendly events including a kids’ costume contest to encourage people of all ages to attend.
“We hear over and over again how families love the show because it is something they can do as a group, that there is something for all of them to do and see,” said Mark Hodges, Comic Con co-owner and event director. “You would be surprised how many families do some kind of group costume, such as The Incredibles or The Avengers … We see lots of high school and college friend groups do the same thing, and we think that the creating memories just happens to be the best part of the event.”
Hodges originally envisioned an attending crowd of 30,000 people, developed over the course of 10 years. During the convention’s first year, 3,500 people attended, and around 2,000 people were turned away from Wyoming’s Home School Building due to fire code concerns. Last year, about 22,000 showed up to the Deltaplex, and over 4,000 had to be turned away due to capacity issues. Hopes are high that the Devos Place will adequately handle the population, which is expected to rise well above last year’s total. Derived from its official website, Youmacon, a Detroit-based anime convention in its 11th year, pulled in around 16,300 people in 2014.
To reflect the growth, the surrounding community is doing what they can to support the event.
“It has been humbling to see all these large downtown organizations get together and work with us to create this event,” Hodges said. “The Grand Rapids Symphony will be performing the 2009 soundtrack for Star Trek on Saturday night, and the B.O.B. will be launching a new brew at a pre-party for the show on Thursday evening. We are starting to see the vision that I had back in 2006 come true, but we aren’t done yet.”
The Grand Rapids Comic Con runs Oct. 16-18 at Devos Place. For adults, a three-day pass is $40. For children 5-12, the price is $12. Children under 5 enter free of charge.