Hours before heading to Chicago and days ahead of the second PeoriaCon, Jason Johnston leads onlookers through a display of comic and other artwork on display at Studios on Sheridan.
The 41-year-old Peorian, who formerly worked trade shows with Events Ltd., expects the March 7 convention at Expo Gardens in Peoria to top last year’s attendance of about 1,000 people.
“We already have 72 vendors, and overall we’ve grown by about a third from our first show,” he says.
Featured will be vendors selling collectible comics and toys, tabletop games, and creators including writer, director and actor Wyatt Weed (“Star Trek: The Next Generation,” “Guardian of the Realm”), plus cartoonist and screenwriter Zac Atkinson, voice actor Larry Kenney (“ThunderCats”), Image comics artist Frank Fosco (“Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles”), and artist Jeremiah Lambert, who’s doing a special Wonder Woman print that will be given to PeoriaCon’s first 100 customers.
Johnston even arranged for a mobile unit for a blood drive.
Of course, as Hamlet famous said, “the play’s the thing,” and many attendees are expected to be in full fantasy regalia, celebrating “cosplay,” a sort of subculture not unlike Civil War or World War II re-enactors.
“We improved the cosplay contest this year, too,” Johnston says. “So first-prize will be $200, second $50, and third $20.”
PeoriaCon will be from 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; for details, go to https://www.peoriacon.com/.