The inaugural ICT Comic Con and Science Fiction Expo this weekend features creators with both out-of-this-world credits and Kansas roots.
“We’re really trying to focus on the local celebrities that we have starting off our first year,” festival director Richard Cathey said of the event, Saturday at the Sedgwick County Extension Education Center.
“We just want to get everybody together and start this journey with a bang,” he added.
Cathey, along with Randall Aviks, is co-founder of Black Raven Comics, a decade-old, Wichita-based comic book publisher that features the “Stormhammer Saga” and “Space Pirate Takeo” series.
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“We’re comic book enthusiasts and creators, so we wanted to showcase the talent that’s here in Wichita,” said Cathey, who also produces the Great Plains Renaissance Festival. “There’s actually quite a bit of talent here in town that people might not be aware of on an everyday basis.”
The festival’s special guests include:
▪ Marguerite Reed, a Wichita author whose book “Archangel” was a 2016 nominee for the Phillip K. Dick Memorial Award and recipient of a special citation of excellence from the award committee, named for the “Blade Runner” author.
▪ Susanne Lambdin, a Wichita native and the author of the “Dead Hearts” series of zombie novels and “Taliesin: The Realm of Magic Trilogy,” as well as a former staffer for “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” who received a writing credit for the fourth-season episode “Family”
▪ Gary Miller, who was both the star and the makeup creator for the 1993 cult classic video “Darkness,” as well as other film makeup credits, who was raised in Wichita.
“He’s still very active in the local film scene,” Cathey said of Miller. “We’ve gotten a lot of really positive response. We’ve had people say they’re coming from out of town to hear him talk.”
Aviks, also a veteran of “Darkness,” will give a presentation.
The roster, Cathey said, includes “talent that other conventions outside of town would recruit to bring into their city.”
The eight-hour event also includes a cosplay contest for superhero costumes, and a concession stand that promises “superhero pancakes,” he added.
Merchandise tables will feature comics and vintage toys and collectibles, including one booth whose proprietor is selling thousands of 1960s and ‘70s movie stills.
Cathey said he wants to put a “Wichita brand” on the festival and has dubbed its mascot, “Captain ICT.”
“We enjoy seeing the various artists and people we meet in town progress and work on their projects,” he said. “A lot of times they get overlooked.”
Cathey said the two-fold purpose of the event is to meet other fans of comic books and sci-fi, as well as give some credit to local creators.
“For all of us who are helping to put on this event, those are things that have shaped our lives,” he said. “This is a celebration of that.”
Before the 2016 ICT Comic Con has even began, Cathey is at work on the 2017 edition.
“Next year, I don’t want to give it away because we haven’t finished the contracts, but we have some big talent coming in,” he said.
ICT COMIC CON AND SCIENCE FICTION EXPO
What: Inaugural event for fans and creators of comics and sci-fi
When: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday
Where: Sedgwick County Extension Education Center, 7001 W. 21st St. N, Wichita