Hey, Vermont geeks: Ever wanted to meet a zombie from "The Walking Dead"? What about Mr. McFeely, the mailman from "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood"? Or maybe you've been looking for an excuse to rub elbows with James Kochalka, the state's first cartoonist laureate.
You're in luck. The first annual Vermont Comic Con happens this weekend, October 25 to 26, at the Sheraton Burlington Hotel & Conference Center in South Burlington. Those characters, and a host of others, will be in town for the family-friendly event, organized by New Hampshire-based Moulton Comic Expo in conjunction with Comic Art House.
In addition to the "celebrity draw," says event organizer Elaine Manley, convention-goers can check out booths from sponsors such as Tilt Classic Arcade and Ale House, the Gamers Grotto and the Vermont Department of Libraries. Gamers can participate in tournaments of Dungeons & Dragons, Magic: The Gathering, and King of Tokyo, among others. Kids can hang with a performance-art group called Hero Army devoted to cosplay — that's "costume play," for the uninitiated — or check out a range of pop culture artifacts and comic books. On Sunday, the American Red Cross will be on-site for a vampire-themed blood drive.
"If you have any interest in pop culture or anything that's quote-unquote 'geek,' you'll immediately feel comfortable," says Manley, who's employed by Moulton Comic Expo. "There's something for everyone."
She adds that the organizers intend to make Vermont Comic Con an annual event. "The thing that's made us very excited about Vermont is the spirit," Manley says. "There's a very welcoming feeling; everyone loves art ... It feels very family-oriented, like a good place for a fun, nontraditional comic con."
Vermont Comic Con, Saturday, October 25, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.; and Sunday, October 26, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., at the Sheraton Burlington Hotel & Conference Center in South Burlington. $20 one-day pass, $35 two-day pass, $100 VIP pass. vtcomiccon.com