Nov 14, 2018

Fresno State hosts first comic convention March 21-22

Fresno State’s Pick Your Potion Club is celebrating geek culture by hosting its first annual FresCon.

“This is the first comic book convention of its kind here,” said Justin Tonooka, a health science community health junior and the club’s treasurer.

“It’s going to cover everything from comics, movies, TV, video games, tabletop gaming — everything that we are calling geek culture.”

But what is geek culture?

“Everyone likes something a bit geeky,” explained Sky Walker, a junior english major and the club’s committee head. “If you go home and you play video games or watch TV and get passionate about it with your friends, you are a geek — you are part of the geek culture.”

FresCon is expected to attract people of all ages.

“More than just incorporate the club, we wanted to involve the whole school, and then it grew to involve the whole city, and now it’s pretty big,” said Liz Krulder, the club’s vice president.

The idea of having a two-day festival that incorporated many aspects of pop-culture started as an initiative to unite the Fresno State campus in a new way.

“We see the attitude on campus of ‘Oh there’s nothing to do,’ ‘There’s nothing happening. Why would I want to come hang out?’”said Spencer Smith, a business marketing senior and the club’s president. “So we wanted to have a big event that makes people want to come to campus and hang out.”

The free, family-friendly event begins 10 a.m. Saturday and Sunday in Fresno State’s North Gym 118 and will feature panel discussions, vendor booths, a cosplay competition, video game tournaments and more.

To emphasize the local scene, FresCon has opened up the event to vendors, merchants and artists of all types to sell and display their creations.

“We’ve got a bunch of comic shops from around the area, independent video game stores that are privately owned, artists that are going to show their work and people who make crafts that are also going to be demonstrating some activities,” Tonooka said.

Fresno Ideaworks is one of the businesses that will be showcasing its inventive spirit as it will be creating new objects, sculptures and other ideas from materials lying around.

Throughout the two-day convention, 10 panels and workshops will be organized, including a variety of talks by Fresno State professors, trivia, a live podcast recording, a crochet workshop and a talk on how to make movies on a low budget.

“Dr. Andrew Jones from the sociology department is giving a talk called, ‘Have Zombies Jump the Shark,’ and will be looking at the relevance in pop-culture,” Smith said. “I’m really excited for that one.”

An area will also be designated for children to play, make crafts and color pages in an attempt to give parents a break.

A game room for people to relax and play video games is another key part of the convention’s experience.

“We are going to have a room with complete open space with a bunch of monitors and game systems set up,” Tonooka said. “So if they want to take a break from walking around the exhibit hall, they can go play some video games with each other.”

FresCon is also excited to host a “Super Smash Bros for Wii U” tournament on Saturday starting at noon. Sign-ups will begin opening day from 10 a.m. to noon and will require an entrance fee of any non-perishable food item or $3 which will be donated to the Fresno State Food Recovery Network.

The first-place winner will be awarded a white special-edition controller. Second will receive a gift card, and third place gets the soundtrack to the game, Smith said.

For those who are excited to dress up, a cosplay contest will be held at 7 p.m. Saturday in the Resident’s Dining Hall. The winner will received a $100 Amazon gift card prize.

FresCon has also teamed up with USU Productions and will be showing “Big Hero Six” at 4 p.m. Sunday at the Satellite Student Union.

Pick Your Potion hopes to create one of Fresno State’s newest traditions.

“I think it brings something unique — another way for students to get to feel more comfortable on campus and find cool things to do, stuff that they are interested in and more diverse hobbies.” Tonooka said.

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