Comic/pop culture is making a run as the latest college craze on campuses across the nation and Fresno State will be hit with the fever this weekend when its first comic convention, FresCon, unfolds March 21-22.
The free public event will feature panel discussions, a cosplay costume contest, movie screening, a kids craft area and a Super Smash Bros Tournament in Fresno State’s North Gym 118 from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday.
It is presented by a new student club formed a year ago, Pick Your Potion, described as geek culture club that draws about 30 regulars to meetings but boasts a roster of more than 200, said Tyler Miller, assistant director of Housing at Fresno State who is the club’s adviser.
“With the popularity of San Diego Comic-Con significantly increasing over the past 10 years, geek culture has become the norm for many,” Miller said.
He added that the rise of superhero movies, television shows like “Big Bang Theory” and the success of 80s/90s nostalgia have spawned opportunities for people with such passions to interact with one another.
“On college campuses across the country, ‘geek week’ programming has found success with college students wanting to engage those passions,” he said.
geekEd., a consortium of college and university educators from across the country, has been inspiring college students, faculty and staff for the past five years to bring their geek culture into their college lives, said President Spencer Smith, a business marketing major from Sacramento who is co-coordinator with Liz Krudler, a senior psychology major from Chico.
“At Fresno State, some studies show that as much as 30 percent of students identify with geek/pop culture across a variety of socio-economic and ethnic backgrounds,” Smith said.
“The attempt to develop a Comic/Pop Culture Convention on a college campus is a new concept that has begun to spring up on different campuses across the nation,” he added. “In terms of the Pick Your Potion Club, Geeky clubs are popping up on campuses across the country; some are limited, showcasing just one fan base, while others like ours are more general and cater towards all fandoms.”
Fresno State’s inaugural FresCon event this weekend — organized with the help of major co-sponsors University Courtyard and Associated Students Inc. — also features vendors as well as a kids craft area sponsored by University Courtyard, Fresno State’s on-campus housing, where youngsters can make all sorts of geek related/super hero-themed crafts free.
The Super Smash Bros Tournament for the Wii U will be from noon to about 5 p.m. Saturday. Participants can register from 10 a.m.-noon that day with an entry fee of $3 or a canned food item. All proceeds will benefit the Fresno State Food Recovery Network.
First place prize is a White Japanese Gamecube controller and second place receives a Nintendo E-Shop gift card.
The Masquerade Cosplay Contest will be 7-9 p.m. Saturday in the Resident’s Dinning Hall. Contestants can register for free online at FresCon’s website or in person from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday. The winner will receive the title of “Best of Show” along with a $100 Amazon Gift Card.
FresCon concludes with the USU Productions showing of “Big Hero 6” in the Satellite Student Union at 4 p.m. Sunday.
The 106-minute 3D computer-animated action comedy produced by Walt Disney Animation Studios was inspired by the Marvel Comics superhero team of the same name in 2014.