GV students to participate in Grand Rapids Comic Con

Duane Emery

This weekend, Grand Rapids will host the Grand Rapids Comic Con, a three day event where attendees can meet Power Rangers, listen to Lt. Uhura talk about the impact of Star Trek on the civil rights movement, get their picture taken with the Batmobile and play with Legos.

“I’m really excited, it’s almost like a big opening for a movie with friends,” said student Anna Petlick, who is going with a group of friends. “We just decided to go together because we’re just a bunch of nerds.”

Grand Valley State University has a history of supporting nerdy hobbies, as it has hosted the JAFAX anime expo for the last 15 years. This year, GVSU will be represented for the first time at the GR Comic Con with the comic book club having their own vendor table.

“We will sell crafts we make. We are making buttons and perler magnets to raise money for the convention’s charity,” said Ashley Hays of the comic book club. “The charity, Kitchen Sage, helps feeds hungry kids.”

Paloma Deerfield, another comic book club member, said she hopes this year will be the first of many that forges an ongoing relationship with the convention.

“We contacted the organizer, and he was really eager to have us come and help out,” she said. 

On top of buttons and magnets, they will also be selling two quilts that were made by members of the club.

GVSU student Kris Zasadil said he is excited for the vendor’s hall, as there will be a wide variety of comics to buy. Many comic book writers and artists will be in attendance too.

“I love talking to the writers and artists of my favorite comic books,” Hays said. “Sometimes you can get them to sign stuff and it’s much cheaper than buying it online.” 

More than 200 comic book artists, including Frank Miller and Jim Lee, will be represented in the convention’s art show.

The convention is also a hotspot for fans of Star Trek, as one of the guest speakers will be Lt. Uhura herself, Nichelle Nichols.

“I’m going because she’s going to be there,” Zasadil said. “I’m a huge fan of Star Trek. I know there will be people selling Trek stuff in the vendor’s hall too, which is exciting.”

Fans of science fiction can also see what it’s like to explore space in the Starship Horizons Bridge Simulator game. As a team, friends take on the roles of captain, tactical, science and other bridge officers to explore the galaxy.

Another popular event at the convention is the costume contest, where participants dress up as their favorite characters from comic books, movies, anime or anything else they can think of.

“I’m excited to see people dress up because they come in really awesome costumes,” Zasadil said.

The convention may have a lot of fun activities, but for GVSU students it’s an experience that isn’t the same without friends.

“If they’re interested in comics, it’s a place where you can talk about that stuff and show off your knowledge,” Zasadil said.

Petlick said she loves going for the experience of sharing it with people she cares about, but also to meet new people.

“It’s a great community to meet more people that you may not run into on a daily basis,” she said. “It’s a good platform for building connections.”

The GR Comic-Con runs from Nov. 21 to Nov. 23. For the full list of events and guests, go to

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