Lafayette Readies For Comic Con
The University of Louisiana at Lafayette is abuzz as Oct. 17-18 rapidly approaches and Acadiana prepares itself for Louisiana Comic Con to open its doors at the Cajundome Convention Center.
“Our goal is to put on a fun, family friendly show that’s affordable. I’m a dad and want to have an event my daughter can have fun at,” explained Greg Hanks, one of the owners of AVC Conventions, the company responsible for putting on Louisiana Comic Con. “We want families to come together and have a good time.”
With television, movie, cosplay and comic book professionals lined up as guests and a vendor hall ready to sell a myriad of nerdy and eclectic wares, there is something for almost everyone at Lafayette’s first comic book convention since the 1980s.
Some of these guests include Sean Gunn from “Guardians of the Galaxy” and “Gilmore Girls;” Lew Temple from “The Walking Dead;” Todd Haberkorn from “Fairy Tail” and “Hetalia.” Rob Guillory, artist for the Eisner Award-winning comic “Chew” and “30 Days of Night” artist and “Punks” and “Sweets” creator Kody Chamberlain, who are both UL Lafayette alumni, are also comic book guests of honor at the convention.
“We had roughly 5,000 people for our one-day showing in Bossier City, and we had to turn away a couple thousand more because of fire-code restrictions,” Hanks recalled. “We’re hoping for at least 10,000 this time. With social media activity in the multiple thousands, the early outlook is good.”
Current UL Lafayette students are also excited for the convention. Justin Lavergne, a Junior computer engineering major and the UL Lafayette Anime Club vice president, has two reasons to be anxious for Oct. 17-18.
“I’m most excited to see all the different cosplay. That’s one of my favorite things about going to conventions — going to see all the people in costume,” Lavergne explained. “I’m also really excited to get to meet a voice actor I really like who’s a guest there, Todd Haberkorn.”
Although guests are a major draw for conventions, cosplay is usually not far behind it. People from all walks of life love to converge at conventions and dress up as their favorite fictional characters for a weekend and show off the hard work they put into creating their costumes.
Louisiana Comic Con has invited international cosplayers Nicole Marie Jean and Haiden Hazard along with cosplay groups Orion’s Envy and The Just Us League to meet with fellow enthusiasts and discuss tricks of the trade.
“The thing about cosplay is that the best costumes aren’t just superheroes; they’re the unique and original takes on characters we all love,” said Neysha Perry, a member of both Orion’s Envy and The Just Us League, a dedicated cosplayer since 2008 and UL Lafayette alumna. “Cosplay’s not just about sci-fi or superheroes. It’s a venue to be whoever you want to be or whoever inspires you.”
Also on display at conventions is a hall dedicated to vendors selling their wares such as comics, action figures, costume pieces and other collectibles. Among these vendors is William Myers of the Breaux Bridge 3D printing company, Conquer3D. He plans of selling and displaying geek-related merchandise made through 3D printing. Most prominent among these printed items is an impressive Iron Man helmet that lights up. Also, Myers promises that if they have electricity at their booth, Conquer3D will also have their 3D printer ready to show con goers.
“For a lot of families, especially the children, it’s their first time seeing a 3D printer in action,” Myers said. “It’s a real crowd pleaser.”
As the convention draws near, Hanks is thankful for all the support they’ve received from the people of Lafayette and everyone who is helping make the event a reality.
“I just want to thank thank Rob (Guillory) and Kody (Chamberlain) for approaching us with the idea to hold a con here,” Hanks said gratefully. “And also a big thank you to everyone who has shown interest so far. The city is great, and we can’t wait to get set up.”