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Penn College’s ‘Wildcat Comic Con’ Gains Stature in Short Time

Expanded funding from the Lycoming County Visitors Bureau and representation from an industry superstar reflect the increasing credibility of Pennsylvania College of Technology’s Wildcat Comic Con over three brief years.

The bureau awarded a $10,000 grant to Penn College for the Sept. 27 event, twice as much as was allocated when the Comic Con debuted in 2012.

“The Wildcat Comic Con is a great opportunity for those in the region and from out-of-state to come and experience all that a ‘Con’ is about, with the comics, gamers and artists on campus showcasing the comics and gaming industries,” said Jason C. Fink, executive director of the visitors bureau (who attended with his children in both prior years).

“The unique thing about this ‘Con’ is that there is more focus on the ‘how to’ of things, such as drawing distinctive characters, getting published and trademarking. However, it wouldn’t be a ‘Con’ without the cosplay, and that always brings out the best and most creative in attendees.”

"Wildcat Comic Con" returns Saturday!
“Wildcat Comic Con” returns Saturday!

Saturday’s Wildcat Comic Con, to be held from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., offers a full day of activities centered around comics, video games, animation and more. It will feature game-design workshops, voice-over actors, comic artists and authors, video-game professionals, a cosplay runway contest, and a Hall of Merchants.

It will also honor the influence of legendary cartoonist Will Eisner, who coined the term “graphic novel,” and for whom North America’s premier comics-industry honors are named. Eisner’s nephew and niece, Carl and Nancy Gropper – representing Will Eisner Studios and The Will & Ann Eisner Family Foundation – will join Brodart at its vendor booth in the Hall of Merchants.

An event co-sponsor, Brodart will feature works from the Will Eisner library and Eisner Award-winning books. An official Eisner Award will be on display, and limited-edition Will Eisner posters will be distributed while supplies last.

“The Eisner Awards for the comics are like the Oscars for the film industry. To receive such an award is quite prestigious, and we are pleased that this is part of the event this year,” said Joann L. Eichenlaub, assistant director of library services at Penn College’s Madigan Library and a member of the Wildcat Comic Con steering committee. “We definitely encourage everyone to check out Brodart’s booth in the Hall of Merchandise!”

Other sponsors include Bimbo Bakeries USA, Clear Channel Communications, the Community Arts Center, Dark Horse Comics, GameStop, Janway, the college’s Madigan Library, Nittany Office Equipment Inc., Pennsylvania National Guard, PepsiCo, TownePlace Suites, Van Campen Motors, Variety 97.7, Wegmans and WKSB 102.7.

“Our sponsors are instrumental in contributing to the success of the Wildcat Comic Con experience for everyone, and we appreciate their continuing support of this growing event,” Eichenlaub said. “They help bring excitement to the day’s activities with lots of swag and prizes for drawings, as well as demos at their booths and more giveaways. Or they support the event by offering shuttle service, or reduced rates for rooms, or a special video-gaming trailer to check out!”

Barbara Slate, one of the first women to write and draw for Marvel and DC Comics, will kick off the day’s events with a presentation in the college’s Klump Academic Center Auditorium titled “My Life in Comics.”

Eric Stuart, who has voiced characters for such hit shows as “Pokémon” and “Yu-Gi-Oh!” is on the schedule, too – both as a speaker and as musical entertainment during an after-hours block that will also feature comics-themed Quizzo and open gaming.

Other presenters include Penn College faculty members, accenting the event’s tie-in to education, and a mix of new faces and past Wildcat Comic Con favorites.

Admission is an all-inclusive $25 per person, payable on-site at the registration table. (Children under 12 are admitted free.)

Visit the Wildcat Comic Con website for more about programming and presenters, authors’ book-signings, cosplay, character appearances, sponsor events, and the vendor area, among other attractions.

For more about Penn College, which is celebrating its Centennial throughout 2014, email the Admissions Office or call toll-free 800-367-9222.

For more information about grant-funding opportunities, faculty and staff may contact the Grants and Contracts Office at ext. 7580 or through its Web portal.