Grab your masks and capes! Pellissippi State Community College’s celebration of comic books, cosplay and pop culture returns March 24-25 with more vendors, more events and more fun for the whole family.
The Mag Comic Expo will be held 2-7 p.m. Friday, March 24, and 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday, March 25, on the college’s Magnolia Avenue Campus, 1610 E. Magnolia Ave. The event is free for both community members and vendors.
“Our goal for year two is to make this a true annual event for the area,” said Associate Professor Grant Mincy, one of the expo’s organizers.
The college’s first Mag Comic Expo on its Magnolia Avenue Campus was only a one-day event and drew more than 250 comic book fans and 32 vendors in 2022. Sponsored by a Pellissippi State Libraries grant, the Mag Comic Expo was created by Magnolia Avenue Campus faculty and staff who wanted to try a different approach to promoting literacy in the community.
“A large part of why we do what we do is because, for a large population of students from underserved schools, comics were a way in for them to fall in love with reading,” Mincy explained. “Comic books bridge boundaries such as race, religion and social economics; promote social belonging and creativity; build literacy skills; support reading comprehension; and enhance the learning process of non-native English speakers.”
Back this year are art workshops, costume contests and panel discussions, but the event has grown, with a Kids’ Corner run by Fulton High School’s Comic and Manga Club, live music, a Mad Lab full of strange animals and fungi, two video game rooms and even “an old-school wrasslin’ match, a throwback to the WWF,” Mincy noted.
Food trucks will be on site as well as vendors selling their wares and special guests such as horror writer Blake Best, who will bring Freddy’s glove from one of the “Nightmare on Elm Street” films for a super scary photo op!
Pellissippi State staff will be on hand as well with information about the college’s academic programs and career opportunities, including those in the arts and pop culture.
“We have several Pellissippi State alumni who will be there, from Grant Mitchell, co-owner of Nirvana Comics, to Tony Covington with Hacks’s Horror Show, to artist Zoe Eades,” Mincy said, noting all vendor spaces have been filled.
Community members do not need to register for the Mag Comic Expo, as the cosplay contest registration will be on site during the event. For more information about the Mag Comic Expo, check out the event’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/MagComicExpo or email Mincy at firstname.lastname@example.org.