Granite State Comicon will be coming to the Radisson Hotel on Elm Street September 16 and 17 this weekend. Beginning at 10 a.m., “Granitecon” will feature an impressive assortment of celebrity guests, ranging from comic book artists to voice actors and pop-icons, as well as a series of fun events, contests, panels, and endless famous pop-culture props for photo-ops.
Created in 2003, Granite State Comicon is organized by Double Midnight Productions’ (owners of Manchester’s Double Midnight Comics) and has ballooned in size over the years. Cofounder Chris Proulx says that they expect up to 8,000 attendees this year – a massive jump from their first event, which boasted only a few hundred participants.
“We’ve definitely hit a nerve that needed to be touched upon in the area,” says Proulx. “If you know comics, great, you’re welcome – if you’re just getting into them, you’re welcome too.”
According to Proulx, Granite State Comicon tries to remain focused on comics in order to celebrate the community’s origins. He says cons have become “blended into one big pop-culture celebration” due to mainstream influences – which isn’t a bad thing. But Proulx has been an avid comic book fan for 28 years, and keeps that in mind when he’s creating the guest roster.
Guest artists include comic industry legends, such as Michael Cho, famous for his work for DC and Marvel Comics, and Carlo Barberi, of “Green Lantern” fame. There will also be plenty of local talent in attendance, some of which may owe their success to Double Midnight Comics.
Sara Richard is one such example, a former Hasbro employee who Double Midnight contracted to do a series of exclusive covers for IDW Publishing’s “My Little Pony” comics.
“From there they picked her up as a regular, so she’s been working on ‘My Little Pony’ for years,” says Proulx. “Now she’s doing covers for things like ‘Rick and Morty’ and all these other comics. She’s a local New Hampshire-ite and now she’s traveling to cons all over the world.”
Another local artist launched by Double Midnight is Ben Bishop, of Maine. Proulx says they originally hired Bishop to draw an exclusive “Ninja Mutant Turtles” cover for Double Midnight Comics. Now he’s connected with “Ninja Turtles” co-creator Kevin Eastman – also from Maine – and they’re collaborating on a book funded through Kickstarter.
Besides comic artists, Granitecon boasts a host of voice actors, including Charlet Chung and Lucie Pohl of the video game “Overwatch,” and Troy Baker of the video games “The Last of Us” and the “Uncharted” series, among many others.
Also attending are multiple stars of Disney origin: Eva Bella and Livvy Stubenrauch, voice actors of young Elsa and Anna from “Frozen;” Linda Larkin (voice of Princess Jasmine) and Rick Farmiloe (animator) from “Alladin;” and Dante Basco, who played Rufio in “Hook” and has grown into a well-known pop-culture icon.
As for events, there are more than enough to keep any attendee’s attention occupied: video game tournaments, Dungeons & Dragons, table-top and board gaming; workshops and a plethora of panels; acts like “The Nerd Magician;” an area labeled “The Fan-zone” dedicated to photo-ops with props like Rey’s speeder and the trash compactor from the “Star Wars” series, and the infamous Christmas-light decorated living room from Netflix’s “Stranger Things” (complete with a false wall that leads to “the upside-down”); the “New England Brethren of Pirates” (“you can fight pirates,” says Proulx); a costume contest on Saturday for all dedicated cosplayers; and for the kids, a dedicated “Kid’s Con” with face painting, drawing, and story time.
As for Proulx, he says he’s very excited to meet one particular guest, a personal hero of his own: the late-1980s wrestler and Hall-of-Famer “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan. “He was one of my favorites growing up, because he’s just a fun character,” says Proulx.
Proulx encourages anyone interested to come check out Granite State Comicon. “Everyone’s got something that they nerd out about,” he says. He adds that conventions gives fans a chance to cross-pollinate their interests with other fans.
“It’s a chance to discover something new,” says Proulx.
Tickets are $25 on Saturday, $20 on Sunday, $35 for a weekend pass, or $80 for a VIP pass – which includes early entry on both days, admission to after-hours events, an exclusive print, t-shirt and gift bag. The event is kid friendly as well: children under age 10 get in free, with the purchase of adult admission.
To learn more about Granite State Comicon or buy tickets, visit their official website.