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Casper will host its fourth annual comic con this weekend

Casper Comic Con

The fourth annualCasper Comic Con will be held this weekend at the Ford Wyoming Center. Brad Murphy, General Manager of the Ford Wyoming Center said comic con’s have established a dedicated fan base across the country, but are newer to Wyoming than in other locations, though they're not necessarily unpopular here.

“We were around 1,200 [people] last year,” said Murphy. “Our best year was our first year, which was 2019 when we did almost 2,000 [people] and so far, our ticket sales are tracking online with 2019. So, I think we will be in line to do 2,000 people again.”

While the attendance at the state’s previous comic cons pales in comparison to what some of the larger events attract, such as theSan Diego Comic Con, they’ve proven to be popular events. The 2020 event only garnered a few hundred attendees due to the COVID-19 pandemic, he said.

“We definitely get people from as far away as South Dakota, Nebraska and northern Colorado,” he said. “The very first year we had it, the winners of the cosplay were from Rapid City [South Dakota].”

New incentives, such as increased prize money for the cosplay competition, have been added for this year’s event in the hopes of attracting more attendees.

“The winner [will receive] $1,000 for the adult division,” Murphy said. “And then [it's] $250 for the winner of the kid’s division. That gives it a little more ‘oomph’ as well for people to come and be a part of it. There’s going to be a lot more things to do and I think that’s going to grow this event for us.”

In addition to cosplay, other traditional comic con events are also planned for the festivities, which will include special guests, talks, and giveaways.

“There’s panel [discissions] regarding cosplay without breaking the bank, cosplay safety, [the] business of cosplay, cosplay for beginners, because the cosplay, that's the costume contest,” Murphy explained. “There’s [also tips] on collecting toys [and] comics.”

Special guests are set to include those from the world of comic books and science fiction. These include actors and illustrators of popular comic books.

“We haveSam de la Rosa and his first comic book credit appeared inDC Comics Action Comics number 534,” Murphy said. “He’s doneGreen Lantern,World’s Finest and then layouts forSilver Age. He also works forMarvel as well. We [also] haveAndrew Nelson. He's played Darth Vader in the special edition release of the original Star Wars trilogy, as well as in [Star Wars]: Rebel Assault andthe[Star Wars] Dark Forces games from LucasArts. He played Darth Vader in the re-release. And then we haveAlan Fernandez, the only live Tusken Raider from the original 1977 Star Wars.”

Other attractions will includeOld Town Family Fun, laser tag,axe throwing, as well as aDungeons and Dragonscampaign.

There will also be giveaways, which are part of comic con conventions.Reliant Federal Credit Union, which is a major sponsor of the event, is offering up some memorabilia for attendees.

“We have two major giveaways; one is an Elijah Wood autographed framed photo of Frodo and another is a Pickle Rick still [an episode] fromRick and Morty signed by [co-creator]Dan Harmon,” he said.

This year’s events get underway at 10 a.m. on Jun. 25 and 26. Tickets can be purchased on the Ford Wyoming Center’swebsite.

Hugh Cook is Wyoming Public Radio's Northeast Reporter, based in Gillette. A fourth-generation Northeast Wyoming native, Hugh joined Wyoming Public Media in October 2021 after studying and working abroad and in Washington, D.C. for the late Senator Mike Enzi.
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