Feb 17, 2020
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Comic book fans unite in Fresno

Zappcon attendees take a look at some of the superhero impersonators like Iron Man and Wolverine at the Valdez Hall on Sunday.

Zappcon attendees take a look at some of the superhero impersonators like Iron Man and Wolverine at the Valdez Hall on Sunday.

Comic book fans, board game enthusiasts and live-action role players congregated this weekend at the Valdez Hall in Downtown Fresno for the inaugural Zappcon.

Featuring local vendors, discussion panels, board game tournaments and celebrity guest speakers, Zappcon is a celebration of all things nerd and gaming related.

“Zappcon is what happens when you get a few nerds with a pipedream of a convention together and strong local connections,” said David Holland, one of the founders and organizers of the event.

Attendance for the event Holland says was high, he and aims to make Zappcon an annual event in Fresno.

“All of our vendors, artists, guests and attendees love it,” Holland said. “Everyone’s been super happy. Our out-of-town vendors and guests want to come back, and that is huge for us.”

One of the more physical events was the live-action role-playing games. Known as “LARPing,” participants dressed up in medieval warfare equipment; chainmail and all, and battled each other with plastic and foam weapons.

“Basically you dress up in a medieval costume, and you beat up your friends with foam swords,” said Kristen Decker member of the local LARP group Terras Wars. “Me and my boyfriend started the group, and ever since then I haven’t been able to put it down,” she added.

Local organizations such as the Swede and Rogue Festivals were present along with gaming clubs and chapters. One new organization in attendance was Fresno Ideaworks.

“Our end goal is to make Fresno realize it is much cooler than it think it is.” said Scott Kramer, one of the founders of Fresno Ideaworks. “There is a lot of smart and creative people in Fresno and they tend stay in their own little bubbles. We’re popping those bubbles,” he added.

Various guest speakers such as Blake Foster, the Blue Ranger in “Power Rangers Turbo,” and even Kerrigan Mahan, who played the villain GOLDAR in the “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers” TV show. Comic book panelists and Illustrators of various mediums were present as well.

Although in its first year, Holland says there are two goals for Zappcon.

“Promote nerds and geeks in the Central Valley, and to promote the Central Valley itself,” said Holland. “We’re hoping for year two, and we’re hoping to get bigger.”

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