Returning Co-Sponsors Raise Bar in Support of Wildcat Comic Con
The Lycoming County Visitors Bureau awarded a $9,000 grant to Penn College, nearly double the $5,000 in agency funding for the 2012 Comic Con, and the Pennsylvania Army National Guard has kicked in $2,250 to pay for the participation of the Heroes 4 Higher youth-empowerment team.
Jason C. Fink, executive director of the visitors bureau, said the $9,000 in funding from the Lycoming County Travel and Tourism Initiative reflects the academic spin that the college put on the concept – turning it from conventional convention to a worthy regional attraction.
Last year's event featured a variety of presentations on comics and video games, children’s activities, insight and instruction from reputable practitioners, a costumed-play contest, book signings and more. Combining art with a variety of subject matter, many presenters offered tips on engaging students through the novel use of comic books, graphic novels and the like.
“The first-ever Wildcat Comic Con was a success because of the diverse opportunities provided to people of all ages interested in comic books, gaming, arts, shows and movies,” he said. “Penn College was able to differentiate itself from the traditional comic con in that, beyond the cosplay and chances to meet people popular in the industry, it added what it does best: provide an educational component.”
“Programs were available to learn ‘How to draw, write, etc.’ within the various segments of the con,” recalled Fink, who participated in the 2012 event and was among the speakers at its closing ceremony. “Looking at this year’s schedule, it appears that attendees will have an even greater chance to learn the fundamentals on how to create within the industry.”
“Because of the uniqueness Penn College brings to this, along with the first-year response to the event, increased funding to promote this to those outside Lycoming County was provided,” he said. “We look forward to seeing the corresponding growth of this event based upon the increased programming provided at this year’s Wildcat Comic Con.”
The Pennsylvania National Guard, too, upped the ante in its support this year.
As it did in April 2012, the organization will bring its climbing wall, video-game trailer and assorted giveaways. But it is boosting its commitment to sponsor an appearance by Heroes 4 Higher, which uses recognizable superheroes to spread an anti-drug, anti-bullying message to a young audience.
“We see this as a great opportunity to support Penn College for many reasons,” Staff Sgt. Joshua Berwanger said. “The college is a great supporter of the military and is a great asset to have in our community as educators for the future. Many of its students, both past and present, have been upstanding members of the Pennsylvania Army National Guard. We couldn't ask for a better way for the National Guard to showcase our support of Penn College and H4H and associate those outstanding soldiers of the National Guard with them.”
The college recently was designated as a Military Friendly College for the fifth straight year, cementing its reputation for facilitating educational opportunities for veteran and active-duty servicemen and women.
“Soldiers in the National Guard are the epitome of citizens with a sense of duty and service to community, and we are sure that Penn College is proud to have them as students,” said Berwanger, adding that the Pennsylvania Army National Guard offers federal and state tuition assistance. “H4H is also a great program that works hand-in-hand with soldiers, and Pennsylvania Army National Guard is proud to support such a cause.”
Other key sponsors for the event are Penn College and its Madigan Library, America's Most Wanted Collectibles, Brodart, the Community Arts Center, Janway, Pepsi Beverages Co. and Van Campen.
Michael Bitz, executive director of the Center for Educational Pathways, is the keynoter for the event. Tim Russ, a member of the “Star Trek Voyager” cast (as well as a musician, director, screenwriter and voice-over artist) will highlight the closing ceremonies.
Admission to the Wildcat Comic Con is an all-inclusive $20 per person (children under 12 are free). Tickets are on sale at the Community Arts Center’s box office site.
Visit the Comic Con website for more about programming and presenters, authors’ book-signings, Game Design Expo, cosplay, character appearances, sponsor events, and the Artist Alley vendor area, among other attractions.
For more information about Penn College, email the Admissions Office or call toll-free 800-367-9222.
For more information about grant-funding opportunities, faculty and staff may contact the Grants and Contracts Office at ext. 7580 or through its Web portal.