Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name — failing that, there’s always the possibility of settling for a place where everybody has a common interest.
Nittany Con, a comic book convention that will take place Sept. 25 at the Ramada State College Hotel & Conference Center, will gather talent from near and abroad while still leaving plenty of room for the medium’s ardent fan base.
Many of the faces gracing the floor — some of them quite possibly modeling masks among other assorted pieces of comics convention chic — will probably have more than a passing familiarity with Centre County.
Nittany Con promoter and artist Jason Lenox said that approximately 80 percent of their audience will be coming from within 30 miles of the venue, with the remaining 20 percent coming from all over the country.
For the past three years, the convention has been held in Milesburg, but with attendance continuing to grow, the change of location may have arrived just in time.
“The new venue at the Ramada is going to be awesome for the show, and much bigger than in Milesburg,” Lenox said.
Compared to its comic convention cousins in places like San Diego or New York, Nittany Con’s relatively small stature affords it a unique piece of real estate in a landscape that is increasingly suffused by comic book culture.
As comic book giants like Marvel and DC are slowly taking over cinemas, conventions have become as much about movie trailers as the books themselves. The likes of somebody like Robert Downey Jr. showing up at the Ramada are slim, to put it generously — but this may be more opportunity than problem.
“Lots of comic cons are not really comics centered, despite the name. Lots of them are more into celebrities and non-comics; we want to get back to the basics of comics,” Lenox said.
Comics were something that Nittany Con’s creator, Ken Feduniewicz, knew a thing or two about.
Feduniewicz was a colorist and letterer who worked on popular titles like “Captain America” and “West Coast Avengers.” A resident of Huntingdon, he founded Nittany Con as a locally-based celebration of an art form he had been infatuated with since childhood.
In September 2015, Feduniewicz died from a heart attack, but Nittany Con continues to carry on his memory.
“He loved classic comics, sci-fi and horror ... He was a fan of the genre,” Lenox said.
Feduniewicz wasn’t alone. Attendance for this year’s convention is anticipated to fall somewhere around 400 people, with local talent like artists Dani Kaulakis, Brian Allen and Bob Hack on hand to talk about their craft.
The Sept. 25 festivities will also feature a look at comics from the 1940s through the present, collectibles and, for the theatrically inclined, a cosplay contest.
Lenox is hoping that the convention continues to grow in size, even without its founder.
“I’d like to see it become a two day show, with bigger name comic book artists and writers,” Lenox said.
IF YOU GO
- What: Nittany Con
- When: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sept. 25
- Where: Ramada Hotel & Conference Center, 1450 S. Atherton St., State College
- Info: www.nittanycon.com