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Kokomo-Con to welcome celebrity guests

10th annual convention stars Power Rangers in Space actor, UFO expert, DC comic book artist

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Kokomo-Con

GEEKDOM — GI Joe fans man a booth at last year's Kokomo-Con.

Kokomo-Con is celebrating a decade of bringing together the “geek” community with an all-star lineup for the 10th annual convention on Oct. 12.

Among the celebrities to be featured are Justin Nimmo, who played the silver Power Ranger in "Power Rangers in Space" (1998), a UFO expert, and a DC comic book artist. Event organizer Shawn Hilton said he’s looking forward to this year’s celebrity guests.

“Celebrities, they’re starting to come more and more to the major events. We’re a smaller event, but we like to give people that bigger convention feel. We don’t want to break the bank for anyone, so we’ve kept the (admission) price at $10 for adults for at least the last six years,” said Hilton.

Nimmo is this year’s guest of honor. In addition to starring in "Power Rangers in Space," Nimmo also has starred in "Saved by the Bell: The New Class" (1996), "Pleasantville" (1998), "Dude, Where’s My Car?" (2000), and "The Cabin" (2001).

Joining him will be Glen Means, a UFO expert and speaker, from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Means works as a UFO investigator and has had several UFO spottings, dating back to when he was a child up to his time in the U.S. Air Force Special Operations. Means has worked with the National UFO Reporting Center and the Mutual UFO Network, the world’s oldest and largest UFO investigation and research organization.

The topic of UFOs has become increasingly popular in pop culture, Hilton said.

“Kokomo-Con has always been all-encompassing for teaching stuff, whereas some are just comics and pop culture,” he said. “But as it turns out, UFOs right now and things that relate to the study of extraterrestrial life in the geek community is becoming super strong. There are several TV shows about it, numerous podcasts, so to be able to bring in someone who is well-known within those social circles is kind of a coup for us and very exciting.”

Means will host a question-and-answer session.

Also in attendance will be Stuart Sagar, a popular comic book artist who was last year’s Kokomo-Con guest of honor.

Sayger, the creator of the comic book “Shiver in the Dark,” was chosen as the cover artist for the “Kiss” comic book. Hilton said it was a big deal, as Gene Simmons himself had to approve the cover. Sayger also produced cover art for variants of “G.I. Joe,” “The Walking Dead,” “Xena Warrior Princess,” “Dejah Thoris,” and more.

The artist will bring with him some exclusive covers for "Joker" for DC Comics that he’s currently working on.

“He’s kind of blowing up. We had him when he was just kind of getting started a little bit, and now he’s becoming a mainstream name, a go-to comic artist. It’s fun to have someone like that who’s grown with us,” Hilton said.

In addition, there will be a cosplay panel presented by Lisa Anderson on the topics of “Any Age Can Cosplay,” “Cosplay on a Budget,” and “Wigs 101.” Countless vendors also will be on hand, including number amateur vendors selling their personal collections. Hilton encouraged attendees to arrive early to get the best selection.

“If you’re not there early, other professional dealers will swoop in and grab up this kind of stuff. I see it all the time,” he said.

And, as always, Kokomo-Con’s popular costume contest will be held for the chance to win various prizes.

New this year, the event’s charity auction will be held the night before, on Oct. 11, at Wings Etc. Run by Mark Enstrom, the auction will feature a slew of autographed comic and pop culture memorabilia. Silent bidding beings at 7 p.m. with the auction starting at 8 p.m. The money raised goes to the Excelsior Scholarship.

Austin Meissnest, another event organizer, said he’s looking forward to the 10th annual event.

“It’s a labor of love,” he said. “We try to find new things to add every year, and we like to make sure there’s something for everyone in attendance. Even if you’re the mom taking your kids and you’re not into anything comic or geek-related, there’s going to be something you might like.”

Kokomo-Con X takes place Saturday, Oct. 12, at the Kokomo Event & Conference Center, 1500 N. Reed Road. Admission is $10 for adults; ages 6 and under are admitted free. For more information, visit www.kokomocon.com.