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Medford to get 'conned' for fifth straight year

Medford Comic Con, a celebration of all things superhero, sword, sorcery and sci-fi, returns at the end of the month to the Medford library.

And if the past four years are any indication, a sea of cosplayers decked to the nines in garb normally seen in places like Middle Earth, Gotham City and other fictional worlds will be in attendance.

Since 2015 — its origin-story year — the event has seen sizable leaps in attendance each year. About 2,000 people showed up in 2015, followed by around 5,000 in 2016, more than 12,000 in 2017 and nearly 20,000 in 2018.

“I think that the Rogue Valley never had anything like this, and so what we saw in the first couple years, as it started to grow, is that there’s a definite need for it, and that’s how it kept going forward,” said Medford library Manager Terra McLeod.

Much of the attendance growth — and the quality of event offerings — has been due to word of mouth, McLeod said.

The two-day event started as a single day held during library hours on a Saturday. It then expanded into the RCC/SOU Higher Education Center and the surrounding streets, and more panels and workshops became available every year.

This year, the festival will be held from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, April 27-28, with workshops, vendors, guest speakers and panel discussions at the library, 205 S. Central Ave., on the surrounding streets, in the parking lot across the street from the library, and in the RCC/SOU Higher Education Center a block over. Admission is free.

Workshops will cover film, culture, writing, cosplay, gaming, fan art, comic books and crafting.

“Anyone Can Draw Cartoons,” taught by professional cartoonist Curt Evans, is for anyone interested in making comic-book art. The “Create-a-Character Paint and Sip” workshop will be for attendees who want to make canvas art.

The Rogue Community College Theater Club will teach “Cosplay for Beginners” and “Intro to Improv,” which will teach cosplay and costuming fundamentals.

Workshops on video-game history, robotics and monster movies will also be featured, as will panels on mythology and pop culture.

The spotlight will also be on some special convention guests, including Adrienne King, who played Alice in the original “Friday the 13th” horror movie and its sequel, and science-fiction writer Peter Tieryas, author of books “Bald New World” and “United States of Japan.” Tieryas will read from his latest novel, “Mecha Samurai Empire,” and will also lead workshops about writing alternate history science fiction.

Young attendees can look forward to the Kingdom of Stories, which will be available in the library’s Children’s Department. The exhibit will showcase children’s literature, including “The Wizard of Oz,” “Harry Potter,” “The Chronicles of Narnia” and “Alice in Wonderland.” Attendees can also write their own fairy tale.

Costume contests will be held both days.

More than 60 vendors will set up shop, and a dozen food trucks will be open for business along South Bartlett Street. Ninth Street will be closed between Central Avenue and Riverside Drive, and Bartlett will be closed between Eighth and Ninth streets.

A full list of programs and events is available on the Medford Comic Con Facebook page, www.facebook.com/pg/Medfordcomiccon/events. The schedule will soon be on the event website, jcls.org/mcc.

Reach reporter Ryan Pfeil at rpfeil@rosebudmedia.com or 541-776-4468.

Jamie Lusch / Mail TribuneMyke Wilson, "Totoro", a character in the 1988 Japanese animated film My Neighbor Totoro, center, and Sam Yaskovic, "Star-lord" have a dance off during the Medford Comic Con at the Jackson County Library on Saturday.