The Hippo


Jul 5, 2020








Cosplayers at last year’s Granite State Comic Con. Courtesy photo.

 Granite State Comic Con 

When: Saturday, Sept. 8, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday, Sept. 9, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. 
Where: Manchester Downtown Hotel, 700 Elm St., Manchester 
Cost: Saturday admission is $25, Sunday admission is $20, a weekend pass is $40, and a VIP pass (includes early entry at 9:30 a.m., on both days, admission to all after-hours events, an exclusive print and comic book and a goodie bag) is $65. Kids age 10 and under are admitted free with a paying adult. 
Event highlights 
Pre-party/karaoke and game night - 7 to 9 p.m. (21+, admission is $5) 
Kids Con New England - 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. 
Namaslay Warrior Yoga (adult) - 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. 
Ultimate Sketch-off - 4 to 5 p.m. 
Costume Contest - 5 to 7 p.m. 
After Party - 9 p.m. to 1 a.m., at Jewel Nightclub (61 Canal St., Manchester) (21+, $15 in advance online, $20 at the door)
Kids Con New England - 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. 
Namaslay Warrior Yoga (kids) - 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. 
Kids Sketch-off - 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. 
Coolwaters Game Show - 12:30 to 2 p.m. 
Kids Costume Contest - 2 to 3 p.m. 
Cosplayer and Photographer Shoot-out - 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. 
Cosplay & Social Media - 11 a.m. to noon 
Caroll Spinney Q&A - 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. 
Creator Spotlight: Q&A with Sean Murphy - 1 to 2 p.m. 
Doug Jones Q&A - 2 to 3 p.m. 
How My Fandom Saved Me - 2 to 3 p.m. 
Approaching Artists - 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. 
Steampunk 101 - 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. 
The Rainbow Connection: Steve Whitmire Q&A - 11 a.m. to noon 
Turtle Talk - 11:30 a.m. to noon 
Powers Family Cozplay - 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. 
Geek Ears, Pointy & Otherwise with Nerd Audio - 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. 
Gaming with your Kids - 2 to 3 p.m.

Fandom fun
Granite State Comic Con celebrates pop culture


 By Angie Sykeny 
Immerse yourself in all things pop culture at the 16th annual Granite State Comic Con, which will feature artists, celebrities, games, panels and workshops, contests, vendors and more and will take place on Saturday, Sept. 8, and Sunday, Sept. 9.
“Everyone’s a fan of something, whether it’s superheroes or Disney characters or anime, so we wanted to create a really fun event where everyone can celebrate their fandom,” said Chris Proulx, owner of Double Midnight Comics in Manchester, which produces the event. “We still like to focus on the comic aspect and keep the ‘comic’ in ‘comic con,’ but we also include all other kinds of pop culture, so anyone who comes will see or experience something that they love.” 
The weekend kicks off with a pre-party on Friday, Sept. 7, featuring karaoke emceed by Rock 101’s Furious, games and door prizes. 
On Saturday and Sunday, the comic con will be divided into two sections. On one end, there will be the Kids Con, vendors, artists, costume groups, panels and workshops and costume contests. At the other end, there will be an artist alley, more vendors, celebrity meet-and-greets and autographs, more panels and workshops, gaming and more. 
The Kids Con is an extension of Kids Con New England, the first and largest kid-focused comic convention in New England held every June, created and run by Emily Drouin, local comic book artist and creator of the kids’ sci-fi action-adventure comic EPLIS. The Kids Con area will have coloring and activity tables, a coloring contest, face painting and a balloon artist; a create-a-comic workshop; crafts including pirate, princess and superhero puppets and mask making; and drawing workshops, where kids can learn to draw monsters and aliens, expressions, superhero poses, video game characters, Pixar Disney characters and Star Wars Rebels. 
“We’re a family-friendly event, and we’re really happy to be able to work with Emily and put that on for the kids,” Proulx said. “It’s a unique thing, like a convention within the convention.” 
This year’s celebrity guests will include four actors from Star Trek: Discovery; Caroll Edwin Spinney, who performed as Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch on Sesame Street for almost 50 years; Steve Whitmire, who has worked on The Muppets and Sesame Street, performing as Kermit the Frog and Ernie after Jim Henson’s death in 1990 for more than two decades; and Butch Patrick, who played Eddie Munster on The Munsters. 
There will be 16 special guest comic creators, including creators who worked on comics like Batman: White Knight, Marvel’s Silk, Batmite and more. 
“A lot of these artists work all day alone in their own home or studio, so it’s great for them to be able to get out and meet their fans and promote their work,” Proulx said.  
One of the participating comic creators is Ben Bishop of Portland, Maine, best known for his work on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comic and his original, self-published and Kickstarter-funded comic The Aggregate, which is the world’s first published split-decision, or choose-your-own-adventure, graphic novel. The post-apocalyptic sci-fi adventure story has 28 different outcomes, depending on the reader’s choices. 
“I had all these ideas for how I wanted the story to go, and then I thought, instead of picking just one avenue, why don’t I include all of them?” Bishop said. “I knew it had never been done before, and I knew that it would be appealing to a lot of people who remember those old choose-your-own-adventure books.” 
At the comic con, Bishop and the other comic creators and artists will be selling and signing their comics and doing commission sketches for people on site. 
“A lot of people at these events like to go around with their own sketchbooks and collect custom art from as many artists as they can,” Bishop said. “Other people just like to have something from an artist that they are a fan of, to be able to say they met them.” 
Attendees can participate in a variety of panels and workshops on topics such as cosplay and social media, steampunk, gaming with your kids, how to approach artists at conventions and more. 
New this year, there will be adults’ and kids’ Namaslay Warrior Yoga classes with Wonder Woman cosplayer and yoga instructor Molly Virello, where attendees are invited to take a break from all the excitement and work on their superhero landings, warrior poses and war faces. 
One of the biggest attractions of the comic con, Proulx said, is the adults’ and kids’ costume contests, where participants compete for cash prizes with costumes modeled after video game, television, film and comic book characters. The judges are established and award-winning cosplayers. 
“[The judges] look for craftsmanship and how the costume is made,” Proulx said. “They look at the unique way the person put the costume together and all the detail they put into it.” 
Proulx said Granite State Comic Con is a great alternative to the larger comic conventions, particularly for families. 
“The comic cons in major cities can be more crowded and more expensive and quite overwhelming,” he said. “We feel that we’ve hit a nice mark; you can bring the kids, it’s not going to break the bank and the size is very manageable.” 
Bishop’s advice to attendees is to explore new things outside of their regular fandom and take advantage of all the comic con has to offer. 
“That’s the great thing about Granite State Comic Con: it’s a nice mix of all different things and isn’t all focused on just cosplay or just celebrities or just comics,” Bishop said, “so I would say, if you usually go to comic cons for a certain thing, try checking out some of the other stuff, too, so that you have plenty to do for the whole two days.” 

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