Presenting sponsor, Celebration! Cinema, along with Marc Specter and Brian Lenze are getting together to bring us a new convetion but is it worth going to?
At GenCon I was granted the chance to do a video interview with Marc and Brian along side of Blix from the ConMen. The video isn’t quite ready so I asked Mark and Brian to answer some questions about their new convention since time is running short. Lets talk with Mark and Brian and see what they have to say.
What can you tell me about yourselves?
We are two men with a passion for gaming, comics and community. Along with our passion we have seen the tabletop gaming industry have tremendous growth over the past 15yrs. We have seen Hollywood breath life back into the comic book industry with their ultra-cool reality movies based on our favorite comic book heroes that we knew and loved as kids. So, along with our deep appreciation for these social interests we felt it was the right time to bring our passion for gaming, comics and community to a reality with an annual social hobbyist convention located right here in Grand Rapids, MI.
If I was to join you at Grandcon, what can I expect to experience?
It will be the very embodiment of what any tabletop gaming and comic book convention would have at a social gathering of this type. You will have games set to play at certain times that people are willing to teach you to play, seminars with some of the industry greats to learn more about our passions as hobbyists. Tournaments to play that involve some of your favorite games to play with fabulous prizes to be earned if you should win. And, a chance to hang with others that share our same interests and swap stories of cool things of our past or yet to come. And, we are giving back to the community where we can with part of earnings going back to our charitable partner, Helen DeVos Childrens Hospital Foundation located right here in Grand Rapids, MI. Buy your badge, get your event tickets and come have a blast with us!
Why Grand Rapids, Michigan?
We didn’t choose Grand Rapids, MI. Grand Rapids, MI chose us. And, we just happen to live here. Grand Rapids is one of the most wonderful cities in America to live in and around. So, it just made sense!
With so many other conventions out there, what makes GrandCon stand out from the rest?
GrandCon is a rare hybrid convention with tabletop gaming, comic books, and their artists. GrandCon will be intertwining both industries and their greats to have a social experience shared by our community and the industry fans.
Do you have any really cool guests in attendance?
We have Tracy & Laura Hickman, Ed Greenwood, William Stout, Mark A. Nelson, and Boyan Radakovich to name a few special guests. The list is long and humbling to us for our inaugural year as a convention. You can find the entire special guest list at http://www.grand-con.com/special-guests.
Many conventions are for gamers and end up leaving gaming widows and gaming orphans behind. Is GrandCon just for the gamers or the whole family?
GrandCon is a social atmosphere that will allow families to grow closer while they converse over creativity and competitive spirit with tabletop games, comic books and their artists.
O know you are excited to be hosting this awesome event, what is exciting you the most?
Community fellowship, laughter, smiles, and the opportunity for all of us to hang with some of the industry greats on a more intimate level than many of the enormous conventions held throughout the country at other times of the year. And, giving back to the community!
I am sure there are things that we missed, what else would you like to tell us?
The convention is September 20th – 22nd. Preregistration closes the 13th of September and after that you will have to buy your badges and event tickets at the door. We are having several charity events to give back to the community: Charity Dinner on September 18th @ Brann’s on 28th ST SE 6-10pm, Play a board game with the stars, ‘Killer Breakfast’ with Tracy & Laura Hickman, part of our badge earnings and so much more. Come help us give back! And, if you can’t attend click on this link, http://www.extra-life.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=donorDrive.participant&participantID=47809 (Please make SURE to click on the ‘Support me!” button and give what you will!) We are also offering $3 discount tokens to folks that are educators, college students, military/law enforcement, and KDL ID holders!
Where can people go to find out more about your doing?
Here is a brief summary of the events:
GRANDCON GAMING & COMICS CONVENTION
Vendor room with comic & game retailers, comic artists & game publishers (over 40 unique vendors)
Artist alley with both local and nationally recognized talent
Magic: The Gathering Mox tournament
Settlers of Catan World Championship pre-qualifier
LARPs by Mind’s Eye Society
Seminars including “How to Draw for Comics” by Scott Rosema and “Create a Creature Workshop” by Mark Nelson
Game Library with 1000+ games for playing
Scheduled events including card games, board games, RPGs, and miniatures
Tracy Hickman—Game creator and NYT best-selling fantasy novelist (Dragonlance)
Ed Greenwood—Forgotten Realms best-selling author
Boyan Radakovich, Geek & Sundry producer for Tabletop
Scott Rosema—Space Ghost, Scooby Doo, Marvel & DC veteran
Andrew Pepoy—Fables, The Simpsons Comics
Michael Peters—Fantasy artist
Mark Nelson—RPG and comic artist (Alien, DC)
Tim Kenyon—Endtime Graphic Novel, filmmaker
Mick McArt—Tales of Wordishure
Steven Schend—Writer (Forgotten Realms), game designer (Wizards of the Coast)
Seth Damoose—Image comics
Much more national & local talent (Killustration Studios, Jim Towe, Double Trouble Art)
Based on what I can see from the series of events, to the awesome guests and the genuine passion Mark and Brian are bringing to this project, the answer to my opening question is a resounding YES. If you are in the Grand Rapids area you must go to this convention. If you missed GenCon then this is your chance to see people like Tracy Hickman, Ed Greenwood, and other gaming royalty. I only wish I could go but life comes before gaming or at least that is what my wife tells me. I foresee GrandCon as becoming one of the better gaming conventions in America.