ComicCon Meets All Things English-y at SigmaCon

SigmaCon

Executive Director Bil Johnson trying out the photo booth.

If you missed the Sigma Tau Delta 2017 International Convention in Louisville, KY, on March 29-April 1, then you also missed out on our newest event. Gone are the days of Friday night pool parties. This year, instead of swimsuits, attendees donned their favorite cosplay and attended the inaugural SigmaCon. The new Friday night event featured cosplay and trivia contests, student-run vendor booths selling comic- and pop culture-themed goods, a local comic book store with a wide variety of comics and merchandise, and even a photo booth sponsored by Sigma Kappa Delta, our sister Society for two-year colleges. Additionally, SigmaCon proudly presented featured guest Roland Paris. Paris, a comic book inker for Marvel Entertainment and DC Comics, signed autographs, created individualized sketches, and posed for photos. Attendees also had the opportunity to talk one-on-one with Featured Speaker Jeff VanderMeer and receive autographs.

SigmaCon

SigmaCon

2017 Convention Chair Shannin Schroeder.

This ComicCon meets all things English-y event was the brainchild of 2017 Convention Chair Shannin Schroeder. She envisioned an event where attendees could express their love of literature through a wide range of pop culture venues amidst a crowd of uniquely like-minded people. And SigmaCon accomplished just that. In fact, Schroeder was blown away by the response: “The first annual SigmaCon wildly exceeded our expectations. We knew students would have to sacrifice luggage room if they planned on cosplaying, and we thought it would be terrific if 15 or 20 people were willing to give up that much space. Instead, we had wonderful turnout. I couldn’t be happier about the event.” And the cosplay definitely was a favorite aspect of SigmaCon! “My favorite part was seeing the variety of costumes in the cosplay contest, and one little girl, 4 or 5, just lit up at the chance to take a picture with Wonder Woman. It doesn’t get much better than seeing kids meet their heroes,” said Southern Region Student Representative Elizabeth Upshur. Attendees cosplayed a wide range of characters from classic literary authors to comic book heroes and beyond. The wizarding world of Harry Potter was well represented with over a dozen attendees sporting everything from house T-shirts to full sets of wizard robes. We even had a Sybill Trelawney! Most importantly, SigmaCon offered attendees the opportunity to share their particular interests with other like-minded souls. Sydne Scivally described SigmaCon as “a re-entry back into anime conventions. It had all the fun of cosplaying at conventions with the assurance that more people would probably understand that obscure book reference.”

SigmaCon

Left: A contingent of Harry Potter cosplayers. Right: Far Western Region Student Representative Amber Rose (aka Harry Potter) casting a spell on Roland Paris.

SigmaCon

Noah Golaboff (Percy Shelley) and Shelly Romero (Mary Shelley).

While the idea for SigmaCon initially was Schroeder’s, the Sigma Tau Delta Student Leaders (SLs) planned and executed the event. Once the idea was on the table the SLs ran wild with it. Shelly Romero, the Midwestern Region Associate Student Representative, said, “SigmaCon was an incredibly fun event and very successful for being an inaugural event at Sigma Tau Delta’s Convention. As a Student Leader, I had a bunch of fun helping set-up and get attendees excited about the night’s festivities. I especially loved being one of the two costume contest hosts alongside my dearly departed, blaggard husband Percy Shelley [aka Southwestern Region Student Representative Noah Golaboff]. Who knows, perhaps Mary and Percy Shelley will make another appearance at the 2018 convention in Ohio.” The SLs’ greatest contribution, spearheaded by Student Advisor Tim Leonard, was bringing in Paris for the event. For Leonard, “comics and genres relating to comics are yet another form of literacy. SigmaCon provided the foundation for another form of literacy to be highlighted, as well as allowing everyone to have fun.” Paris echoed Leonard’s sentiments: “I had an amazing time! It makes me really happy to see comics embraced in literacy. I look forward to coming again.”

SigmaCon

Roland Paris sharing his art with attendees.

Whether they came for the cosplay, to pick up some new pop culture swag, or to meet Paris, attendees reveled in the cultivated environment of a literary ComicCon. Alumna Etenia Mullins asserted that SigmaCon “was [her] favorite part of the convention.” With sentiments like Mullins’ you can be certain to see more of SigmaCon in the future!

Plan Ahead

The 2018 International Convention will be held March 21 – 24, 2018, at the Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza in Cincinnati, OH.

  • August 1: Submission guidelines posted at englishconvention.org
  • September 28: Submissions open
  • October 30: Submissions due
  • January 4: Early registration begins

Katie Mudd
Sigma Tau Delta, Central Office
Graduate Student for Social Media


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