Grand Rapids Comic Con welcomes fans back

Grand Rapids

WALKER, Mich. (WOOD) — The Grand Rapids Comic Con got underway Friday at the DeltaPlex, after it was cancelled in 2020 because of COVID-19.

Organizers are expecting more than 15,000 visitors at the three day event. Daily attendance is limited to 5,500 visitors.

Sanitizing stations are placed throughout the building and at vendor booths. Mask usage isn’t required but is recommended. 

“We’re following the (Kent County) health department and whatever they direct us to do during the crazy changing times we have,” said the event’s coordinator, Rosemary McCollom. “Even for this event we’re following up with them every day.”

Before the pandemic, the Grand Rapids Comic Con was held once a year. Now, there will be two annual events. The next one is set to take place at the DeVos Place in November. 

“We feel that there’s a market for it and want to provide for fans in the community,” McCollom says.

While some guests showed up dressed in cosplay, other people in attendance showed off their work. Students from GRCC’s Machine Tool/CNC program displayed a variety of toys they created. 

“Functioning with lights and sounds,” said GRCC student Kellen Vandersluis of a lightsaber made by fellow students. “This body was all made by students. We added the electronics in it. Yeah, these are all student projects.”

Andy Beach, an instructor in the program, says a lot of work goes into creating the toys — such as Thor’s hammer Mjölnir — they are giving away at the event. 

“There’s probably about $150 in materials and a good 25 hours of machine time,” Beach said. 

Jim Winburn poses with fan Gabriel Zimmer at the Grand Rapids Comic Con on Aug. 13, 2021.

Over at the meet and greet section, Jim Winburn, a stuntman who portrayed Michael Myers in the 1978 movie “Halloween,” was in attendance. 

Winburn struck up a conversation with Gabriel Zimmer, a fan of the movie franchise, and signed Zimmer’s Michael Myers action figure. 

“It was a once in a lifetime opportunity,” Zimmer said. “Obviously, the movie is from 1978 so we’re only going to get a certain amount of time to meet these actors.”

Doors will open at 10 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday. More information can be found at grcomiccon.com.

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