Hope Harrington Oakes

hopeharringtonoakes@gmail.com

This Saturday, August 19th, downtown Columbus will be filled with dragon fighters, warlocks, witches, Game of Throners, Doctor Whovians, Minecrafters, Warcrafters, heroes, heroines, villains and more.  No, it’s not an early Halloween, but the 2nd Annual Golden Triangle Comic-Con, the event of the year for cosplayers, gamers, collectors and competitors all rolled into one awesome event.  Held at the Trotter Convention Center from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. it will be co-sponsored by RE/MAX Partners and EMCC. Local businesses, Game-Stop and Down to Game, will sponsor games and tournaments, as well.  The event will feature console and LAN gaming and contests, comics, costume contests and more. There will be dozens of contests including a Game-stop sponsored “Smash:Clash” featuring $2,000 in prizes.

Put together by organizer Chris Tarantino as a way to give a little back to one of his favorite communities, GT Comic-Con promises to be bigger and better this year. “When I was stationed at Columbus Air Force Base, there’s no comic book shop in the area, and I just saw a need for something entertaining and fun for everybody to get involved with.  We have a big community: the AFB, the colleges, and I just wanted something for everyone to get together and have fun.”

The first event had over 800 people attend, and the organizers are hoping there will be double that. Special guests will include actors Jeremy London and Don Teems, local filmmaker Michael Williams, gaming actor Stephen L. Russell, comic artists Dietrich Smith and Corbin Delaney, makeup artist A.G. Howard, and Cosplay notables Connie Wong and Candy Girl Cosplay. Also in attendance will be Cosplay groups the Veshok Clan, the 501st Legion and the Ministry of Silly Suits. Vehicles on display will include The Mystery Machine, the van featured in the “Scooby Doo”, a “Jurassic Park” jeep and an ECTO-69 from “Ghost Busters.”

Tarantino stated, “We hope to have something for everyone. We’ll have video game tournaments, short movies and trailers to watch with Question and Answer sessions afterwards.  There will be several vendors, with plenty of comic books, anime items, board games, just all kinds of stuff.” Other activities include: Video Game Tournament, Pokemon Tournament, Magic Card Game Tournament and the Tabletop Tournament. Tampico Bay will be on hand to sell food

GT Comic-Con vendor, Chelsea Best of Luff-N-Stuff, is excited about attending an event in her community. “I’ve been doing this for several years. I go to a lot of conventions and I’m happy there is finally one really close because I don’t have to spend extra money on gas, hotels and such.  I’ve met a lot of friends in the artist’s alley sections.  It’s nice to meet people who share the same interests and who are excited to see our work.  I think the most exciting thing for most people is that if they enjoy cosplay, they are with their own kind and they just have fun with it.”

In addition to the huge support GT Comic Con receives from RE/MAX, EMCC’s contribution this year as a sponsor is a plus on many levels.  Tarantino stated, “I’m a super-nerd! I love technology and I want this event to grow with comic con stuff, but also with technology. EMCC has an awesome program which includes robotics and computer science.  I wanted to partner with them and reached out and asked them to be involved.  They will be our partners from now on, bringing technology to the area and building Mississippi.” The organizers of GT Comic Con also plan to make a donation to Palmer Home for Children, as they did last year, in a gesture of gratitude for the support of the community.

Price of admission will be $20 for people 16 and older; $15 for first responders or members of the military (ID required); and $10 for children age 9 to 15. Children age 8 and younger get in free. Tarantino said, “We just really want it to grow, so that the more people who show up, then the more we can put in for next year.  This is really a community-driven event and we want to grow it and expand it for next year.  So, the more people come, the bigger it gets each year.”

For more information or to purchase tickets in advance, visit the website at https://gtcomiccon.com or their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/gtcomiccon