There was a time when dressing like Marvel's Deadpool would have made your family and friends worry about you. Now, however, it's easier than ever to get your geek on, especially when the Central PA Comic Con is in town. Happening March 4, 5 and 6 at the York Expo Center, the Central PA Comic Con will have plenty for fans to get excited about.
When Alicia Lurye, Central PA Comic Con's organizer, talks about the line-up of guests and events, she said, "I've been really lucky." She looks for popular trends in entertainment to keep Central PA's fans coming back to the convention. "The biggest job I have is keeping current," Lurye said.
Here are 7 things geeks will love at the Central PA Comic Con.
1. Hollywood stars
The number one reason fans go to conventions is to see actors and actresses from their favorite shows. Seeing an actor or actress in real-life can be thrilling. Hearing them tell stories about behind-the-scenes shenanigans is even better.
Central PA Comic Con has no shortage of big stars for fans to see. Nichelle Nichols, who played Lieutenant Uhura on "Star Trek," is a returning guest. Lurye is looking forward to seeing Nichols again, saying, "She was such a huge hit!"
Billy West, the actor behind such cartoon characters as Fry on "Futurama" and Stimpy on "The Ren & Stimpy Show," is another entertaining celebrity. For fans who attend his panel, Lurye says, "He will leave your mouth hanging open."
Fans can also see Steve Cardenas, who played Rocky on "Mighty Morphin Power Rangers," and Ming Chen and Michael Zapcic of Kevin Smith's "Comic Book Men."
All of the stars will be at Central PA Comic Con for all three days. You can purchase autographs and photos with the stars for an additional fee, which leads us to...
2. Green screens
Using the same special effects technique movies do, when you get your photo taken with a star, a themed background will be inserted into the picture. You can get your picture taken not only with one of the conventions featured stars, but also with the Red-Headed Mermaid, the Ice Queen and the Snow Princess. The best part is you don't have to wait long to see the results; the photos are handed to you instantly.
Count on seeing hundreds of cosplayers at the Central PA Comic Con. Lurye expects to see cosplayers dressed as characters from current shows, as well as throwbacks, like "Star Trek" and "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." The 501st Legion, a group of "Star Wars" cosplayers who are famous for dressing as Stormtroopers and other Imperial characters, will be on the march. The Capital City Jedi will also be on hand, collecting nonperishable food items for the local food bank.
Julie Millilo, Ruby Rinekso and Jennifer Rose, expert cosplayers and special guest stars, will be judging cosplay contests at the Central PA Comic Con. Lurye explains that the cosplay contests will be split into two levels, amateur and professional. To enter the cosplay contests, sign up at the box office when you arrive.
You'll find a lot of gaming action, whether you're into Magic the Gathering, board games or video games. Video gamers can enjoy free play, or compete in tournaments for prizes. Look for classic games, like "Ms. Pac-Man" and "Space Invaders," or current popular games, like "Mortal Combat X" or "Super Smash Bros."
5. Family-Friendly Activities
Lurye describes the Central PA Comic Con as being fun for the whole family. While strollers are banned on Saturday, due to the sheer number of people in attendance, there are plenty of activities for young fans on all three days. Kids can learn how to draw superheroes, make crafts, and even decorate their own cake. "We did that last year and it was a big hit. And it's part of the ticket price," Lurye said. She also said there will be programming for both adults and children.
6. Gear and Merch
Over 100 vendors will be selling T-shirts, art prints, toys, collectibles and other fan gear. Emily Bowman, owner of Tomboy Togs, is excited to have a booth at the Central PA Comic Con for the first time. She's looking forward to "making connections with some awesome, like-minded people, seeing some amazing costumes" and "hopefully meeting Nichelle Nichols." Tomboy Togs makes custom pieces inspired by pop culture, like masks and finger puppets of "Harry Potter" and "Doctor Who." Bowman says, "My superhero-inspired finger puppets are a bestseller for me, typically, but I think the geeky hair bows that I am debuting at Central PA Comic Con are going to make a pretty good showing."
7. Artist Alley
Fan conventions owe comic books for their inspiration, so it only makes sense that one of the main attractions at the Central PA Comic Con will be Artist Alley. Patrons can see comic book artists at work on familiar characters, like Batman, Captain America and Wonder Woman, as well as discover indie comic book series, like Rusty Gilligan's "Mac and Trouble."
I will be speaking at Central PA Comic Con, in addition to a roster of other panelists. I'm looking forward to seeing the cosplayers. Because of the incredible success of "Star Wars: The Force Awakens," I'm sure there will be plenty of Kylo Rens and Reys spotted on the floor.
If you go
Where: York Expo Center, in the Old Main building and the Veranda Room. Parking is free.
When: 5 to 10 p.m. March 4; 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. March 5; 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. March 6. Box office opens one hour before admission times.