Geeking Out at Fresno’s ZappCon 2016

GeekingOutatFresnoE28099sZappCon2016

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For those of you who don’t know, Fresno has a comic con!  A pretty awesome one at that!  I was totally geeking out at Fresno’s ZappCon 2016, which is a geek culture convention that’s held right in the center of California, in the heart of the San Joaquin Valley, and they just had their third annual event this past weekend! Living in a rural area, options for events like these are limited, so I was excited when I first heard about this back in 2014. It’s one of only a few such events in the central valley and it’s great to finally have a comic con like this in Fresno! Now, perhaps, I can cut back on driving to Los Angeles or the Bay Area to satisfy my geek cravings.

Geeking Out at Fresno’s ZappCon 2016

Geeking Out at Fresno’s ZappCon 2016

I was lucky enough to attend this with a friend! We talked to lots of interesting vendors, played games, watched LARPers learn to sword fight, and observed amazing cosplay and artwork, among other things. What I like about this con is that they have a lot of variety, plenty of gaming, and a ton of panels! I’m not kidding about the panels either; there are multiple pages of panels listed in the schedule, and the upstairs section has an ample amount of rooms to house them. They even had a concert by nerd rock band Kirby Krackle, as well as some after hour’s events offsite.

I’d like to highlight a few of my favorite things from this event. To start off with, let’s talk games! They had a whole section partitioned off for gaming.  Right when you walk in, they have a board game check-out booth, as well as a tabletop game schedule with play times, lessons, tournaments, etc.  A little further down they had the video game section, to which I’m partial to. Hosted by local game shop Blue Shell Gaming, they had multiple consoles hooked up to screens, which were all open for free play. Mostly retro consoles, as well as some modern systems. Great stuff for sale too! My friend and I hung out there for a while and played some SNES games.  Good times!

Geeking Out at Fresno’s ZappCon 2016
Geeking Out at Fresno’s ZappCon 2016
Geeking Out at Fresno’s ZappCon 2016
Geeking Out at Fresno’s ZappCon 2016

Cosplay!

Now on to cosplay! Despite my excitement at so many panels, we only ended up going to the Cosplay Meet Ups. There were cosplayers of all ages, and the turnout was great!  Cosplay from television, movies, comics, etc.  Even some people dressed as original characters. They had a couple of gatherings during the day to meet with photographers. It was nice seeing both adults and kids having fun, and it was amazing to see such fandom and creativity all in one place!

Geeking Out at Fresno’s ZappCon 2016

 

Geeking Out at Fresno’s ZappCon 2016

 

Geeking Out at Fresno’s ZappCon 2016

The Con Floor

Perhaps the best part of a comic con is the convention floor. My favorite thing to do is check out art, so I met some really amazing artists/creators, as well as some cool vendors selling great stuff. Most were local, but I also met people from L.A., Sacramento, and San Francisco, which is definite advantage for a convention in the center of the state. Below are some of the highlights for me.
Michael Calero, a comic artist from Sacramento. Really cool drawings with creative takes on things. He was also doing some commissions on the spot, and they were awesome!

Geeking Out at Fresno’s ZappCon 2016

Eben Burgoon, creator of B-Squad (http://www.bsquadcomic.com), was a fun guy to chat with. He writes comics about this group of misfit heroes and their dangerous but humorous adventures.  His books have some good looking illustrations by artist Sean Sutter. Eben introduced us to the art of Tapigami, created by Danny Scheible, who was also there with an entire miniature city made out of masking tape!  It was epic.  The work that must have gone into that is astounding!

Geeking Out at Fresno’s ZappCon 2016
Geeking Out at Fresno’s ZappCon 2016
Geeking Out at Fresno’s ZappCon 2016

Pete Salazar, of Diehardz & Son, had some amazing vintage toy collectibles. He showed me this rare C-3P0 shaped case, among other things. He also noticed my beard and told me of his line of beard oils and balms. He’s been busy developing multiple scents and products for the last few years. He has matching scents, a cool logo, and has been perfecting his formula. I was impressed, and took home some samples to try out.

Geeking Out at Fresno’s ZappCon 2016

Overall, I had a great time getting my geek on! I bought some cool gear, played some fun games, met some great people, and observed lots of nerdy goodness. This con continues to grow every year and be successful. I’m looking forward to next year’s event!

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Brian Ormonde
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Geek. Foodie. Comic Con Addict. Member of the Nerd Squad.
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